Members of staff including the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA), are concerned that the institution is yet to produce any indigenous person to become the Vice-Chancellor in its 21 years of existence.
They are now asking the AAUA Governing Council and Rotimi Akeredolu, Ondo State Governor, to consider one of their members as the new VC.
Olumekun Victor, a Professor of Plant Science and Biotechnology Department and a member of the founding academic staff, explained that the university’s past successes were earned as a result of the staff’s hard work and should therefore be considered by the management in choosing the next Vice Chancellor.
“As one of the founding staff members of this university, I believe we are old enough to have an internal Vice-Chancellor to manage the institution,” he told FIJ.
“We have successfully made a mark and created a brand for the school among other tertiary institutions in Nigeria, so the agitation is that our professors are competent enough to manage the institution. Obviously, the successes could not have been single-handedly achieved by the person at the top but by the academic staff.”
According to the 2020 Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, AAUA ranked as the best state university in Nigeria and 10th among all private, state and federal universities in the country.
Tayo Ogungbeni, the Secretary of SSANU in AAUA, and Alaba Gbadamosi, another professor, explained why an internal candidate must emerge as the new VC.
“An internal person knows our problem and will understand how to address them,” Ogungbeni said.
“If an external person is selected, they will still have to be briefed about the internal mechanism. Unfortunately, we don’t have a say in the appointment. That’s why we are urging the Governing Council and the University’s visitor (Governor Akeredolu) to consider our wish.”
Gbadamosi, meanwhile, said: “The relative peace we have enjoyed in the last two years of the administration of the current Acting VC cannot be compared with the past.
“It is because he is one of us and knows the terrain. That is why we need someone like him who will be able to galvanize the people and let peace reign but if a university of 21 years cannot produce a VC, I think that is outrageous.”
FIJ understands that three professors have been shortlisted for the position: Professor Olugbenga Ige, the Acting VC; Professor Oluyemisi Adebowale, the former Deputy VC (Academics); and Professor Temi Emmanuel Ologunorisa from the Federal University of Technology FUTA.
Since January 2000, five professors have been VC of AAUA, but none of them is a product of the institution. The closest they had was Professor Oluwafemi Mimiko who left AAUA in 2006 and returned to become the VC in 2010 but then as an external from his original institution, Obafemi Awolowo University. Meanwhile, AAUA has at least 40 professors.
One of the university’s senior staff, who prefers to be anonymous, shared his worry that “apart from the tenure in office, an external candidate would have no stake and take arbitrary decisions”.
“We cannot rule out the fact that everyone would have an interest, including the Governor and Council, but they need to put aside sentiments and appoint one of the competent people within,” he said.
“An external candidate can do anything and leave when the tenure is over. But any internal person knows he/she would return to the department after the expiration of tenure and can therefore be summoned at any time to give an account for mismanagement in office. That alone will put such person in appropriate check.”
Dupe Adetuwo, a member of the Governing Council, however, assured the academic staff that the best decision would be taken.
“We want the best for the university and we have submitted three names to the state governor who has the prerogative to select,” she said. “However, a lot of encomium was poured on the Acting VC. The staff like his leadership style so far and we wish him the very best.”
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