Some professors at the University of Ibadan (UI) have backed the decision of the newly constituted Governning Council of the university to restart the process of electing the 13th Vice-Chancellor (VC) of the institution.
In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the professors commended the Council for taking the decision.
The process of electing the 13th VC for the premier university had been marred in controversy, with various allegations on the processes set by the former VC, Prof. Idowu Olayinka.The UI VC race started in May 2020.
The decision to restart the VC selection process was reached at a meeting of the Governing Council held on Friday and presided over by its chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun.
The council also resolved that apart from the cancellation, the VC position should be re-advertised.
The meeting also set a new timetable for the commencement of the new process to be released in the second week of July 2021.
Reacting to the development, a Professor of Guidance and Counselling at the university, Oyesoji Aremu, said the decision was a welcome development.
“Oh! it is a simple thing and of course, straightforward. It means the new Council wants to start on a clean slate.
“This is commendable and should be gratifying to all parties both within and outside, given the various shenanigans that greeted the last exercise,” he said.
Also, Francis Egbokhare, a Professor of Linguistics, Faculty of Arts, said it was the right thing to do because the context was already too quasi and contentious.
Egbokhare said if the council continued with the old process, the institution would be having a divided university along religion, cartel and canals over the next four to five years.
“It would have led also to a very toxic academic climate, where professors would be more into politics and not their academic callings.
“So, it is best that the council should reset the starting point.
“And I hope that those who led us into this quagmire would have learnt their lessons. The information on ground is that people have been entrenched into various positions capable of undermining the process.
“I hope that council will be able to manage the situation so that there would be a sense of fairness and community in the way people approach it, and not just from the point of view of council alone but UI community itself,” Egbokhare said.
The don further urged the new council to earn the trust of the UI community and see to it that people are not contesting based on political power but their academic contributions as well as the capacity to make a difference in the system.
Egbokhare said the council must address the various challenges that had stalled the process in the past, not just to produce a VC but to return the institution to a climate where ideas rule without biases for ethnicity or religion.
A Consultant Neurosurgeon, Adefolarin Malomo, said UI being a transitional institution was very reflective and slow but supersede others, having learnt from its mistakes.
“Decisions like this for most people in UI is a matured way forward but then all hands must be back on deck to ensure that the most suitable hands for our next mission in approaching our vision will be the man that emerged as the VC,” he said.
Malomo noted that the old process for electing the new VC was a bit unusual of UI.
He added that now the heat has died down, the fume has subsided and light is beginning to show forth and that is the way UI really is.
“And we believe this will give us back our normal UI mentality,” Malomo said.
Recall that an acting VC, Adebola Ekanola, was appointed on December 1, 2020, for the period of six months, after the Olayinka administration could not follow through with the process of electing a new VC.
However, the crisis lingered till the end of the old Council under the chairmanship of Nde Joshua Waklek, with various allegations of misconduct, manipulation and biases from members of the UI community on the election process.
This led to the extension of the tenure of the acting VC, who also has been unable to complete the process of electing a VC before the embargo placed on the process by the Ministry of Education through the National Universities Commission.