By Jeleel Olawale
The Ife Action Council, has alleged the chairman of the Governing Council of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Owelle Oscar Udoji of corrupt manipulation of the vital process of scoring and assessing aspirants to the vice-chancellor position with the apparent connivance of other members of the Selection Committee.
The organisation in a press conference held at Ife City Hall noted that the Council also betrayed the confidence reposed in them by not crying out even though they were not given the opportunity to have a say in the process.
In a prompt reaction, the management of the university through its Public Relations Officer, Mr Abiodun Olanrewaju maintained that all due process was observed during the selection process.
Speaking through its President, Dr Famoriyo Gbolade, the Ife indigenes appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Education Mallam Adamu Adamu and well-meaning Nigerians to come to their rescue and look into the solution process in order for justice to prevail and the peaceful co-existence between the university and Ife community to be restored.
They argued that “secrecy surrounding the exercise is highly suspicious. There was an oath administered on the members of the Selection Committee, before the interviews were conducted and after, and during the process of coupling the results.
“The report of the selection committee to the Council was slated for 2 pm while the announcement of the reports to the public was slated for 3 pm of the same Thursday 17th March 2022. Was the report expected to be automatically approved by the Council?
“Besides, the tradition in the academia is to frontload reports before consideration. Why were the Council members not given the reports at least 24 hours before the meeting in accordance with academic and administrative practice? On entering the meeting and after necessary protocols, members were given palmtops containing the purported selection reports.
“They were allowed to hold the palmtops for about ten minutes, after which the so-called reports were approved. Why will the university withdraw the palmtops from members? Is it that the Chairman does not trust members? What is it that must be so guided in a public document? Where is it in our academic practice is an oath of secrecy agreement from committee members?
“If the process was very transparent why can’t the results be made known to all after the end of the interview? A manipulated table of result is currently going round – what is the source and how were the scores generated?
“OAU is for cherished university cultural values and excellence but as mediocrity and ineptitude are being injected in its selection processes and about to be institutionalized, we all have a moral obligation to reject it and speak out.
“Now, given precedence set in other federal schools (UI, UNIBEN, Ilorin etc) where deliberate efforts were made to appoint indigenes to VC posts, the argument is what is different about Ife?
“When a spouse is from an indigene, the spouse won’t be considered because it amounts to academic degradations. However, the university is filled with the same spouses of non-indigenes.
“Many positions are filled on ‘man knows man’, nepotistic basis and examples of this abound.”
But the institution Public Relations Officer Mr, Biodun Olanrewaju insisted that due process was followed without bias in the selection of appointment of the new vice-chancellor of the university.