Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
Offa-born academics under the auspices of Offa Professors Forum (OPF) comprising more than 100 professors from Offa, Kwara State, have described the ongoing selection process of a substantive vice-chancellor for Kwara State University as jaundiced and inequitable.
The group in a statement said the ongoing process is fraught with irregularities from the beginning and urged the incoming government to put a halt to it immediately.
The statement, which was signed by the Chairman of OPF, Prof. Hussein Oloyede, urged the incoming government to appoint the most senior deputy vice-chancellor as acting VC and then constitute a new equitable council.
The university, in accordance with its act has set in motion processes that will usher in a successor to the incumbent VC, Professor Abdulrasheed Na’allah, whose tenure expires in July, 2019.
At the close of applications last week, the university council had set up, beside the statutory Senate-Council Selection Board and the search team, an internal screening committee to specially scrutinise applicants from within the institution.
But OPF faulted the selection process, describing it as “skewed and constructed in line with the recent Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union’s (IEDPU) clannish public declaration that it holds the forever-right to KWASU headship because it is sited on the emirate’s soil.”
OPF said: “With such mind-set that is totally antithetical to the universality of a university and the expected academic excellence, the ideals of fair play and equity have been jettisoned for parochial sentiment.”
The group observed that given the kind of the university principal officers, where the chancellor, pro-chancellor, vice-chancellor and the acting registrar are all from Ilorin, it is certain that candidates from the emirate are not only favoured, outsiders will automatically be side-lined.
“The vice-chancellor is replaying an old script of 2009 when the selection committee was dominated by three Ilorin indigenes (Prof. Abdulraheem Oba, late Prof. Shehu Jimoh, Alhaji Bolaji Abdullahi) out of four. The current selection committee with Prof. Saka Nuhu (Chairman, Ilorin), Prof. Hassan Saliu (member Council, Ilorin), Prof. Abdulrasheed Na Allah (VC, Ilorin), Alhaji Oba Aluko (member, Ilorin), Prof. Kabir Solihu (senate rep., Ilorin) is the height of insensitivity to diversity of Kwara State.
“The inclusion of Prof. Temidayo Oladiji as senate representative while on sabbatical leave is unknown to global best practice, while having competent professors in-house, but who are perceived unnameable to parochial and primitive agenda of the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Na Allah and IEDPU.”
OPF regretted that a university that is supposed to be global in outlook has become clannish in disposition to the extent that it has taken such blight to the public.
“Beyond the fact that KWASU is founded and being funded by all the local government areas in the state, academic excellence is hinged on competence and merit.
“The current subversion of an otherwise universally known process started with the expiration of the tenure of the Pro-Chancellor, Senator Shaaba, who was then replaced by Alhaji Saidu both from Kwara North, while Mr. Kola Abioye acted briefly with the demise of Saidu.
“Instead of the confirmation of Abioye as the substantive Pro-Chancellor, Prof. Saka Nuhu, an Ilorin indigene was appointed to complete a selection committee completely dominated by Ilorin Emirate”, the group noted.
It insisted that the appointment of a vice-chancellor ought to go beyond ethnic or religious colouration such that has been deployed.
“We are not unmindful of all the efforts to subvert the process in favour of an Ilorin indigene after being in the saddle for 10 good years, but we were hoping that being an Islamic community, fair play, equity and even Islamic injunction would guide their conduct. Qu’aran says you are not a good Muslim until you want for your neighbour what you desire for yourself.
“We reject in totality a jaundiced process where Ilorin is already favoured. We want the best for the university, but either from the north or south. We are not saying that there is anything wrong in having an emirate candidate appointed as VC if the selection is purely on academic and managerial merit and not because a section believes that it is her perpetual right to hold on to the headship.”
“Let Ilorin establish their own university and no one will begrudge them on what they do with it, if mediocrity is their watchword”, the group said.