By Ibukun Emiola
Ibadan, March 1, 2021 Prof. Idowu Olayinka, the immediate past Vice Chancellor (VC) of the University of Ibadan (UI) said the UI VC selection process had always been marred with conflicts of interest that had made the process tough and competitive from time immemorial.
Olayinka stated this in an interview with newsmen in Ibadan on Monday on the various speculations that have delayed the selection process of the 13th VC of the institution.
He said there were so many speculations on the selection process not only in the recent time but it had been an age-long phenomenon that has led to the use of various antics by interested parties.
“The situation is very unfortunate and we are optimistic that the matter will be resolved amicably eventually.
“The current situation is not entirely new to those of us who are familiar with this University although the bad blood in the present circumstances has been taken to perhaps unprecedented levels.
“In 2010, a new VC designate emerged on second September 2010.
“There were all manners of petitions which the Chairman of Council, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) handled astutely.
“Nearly three months later, specifically Nov. 30, 2010, which happened to be the last day in office of the then outgoing VC there was a full page advertorial in the Nigerian Tribune by an unknown body, ‘Concerned Professors’, calling for the annulment of the entire process and the appointment of an Acting VC.
“If that was not a sign of bad blood in the system one begins to wonder what else could be. Thankfully the VC designate assumed office on Dec.1, 2010.
“Fast forward to 2015, there were also all manner of petitions against the person who emerged VC.
“Some of the aggrieved parties actually went to court to stop me from assuming office but God intervened and I assumed office on Dec.1, 2015,’’ Olayinka said.
Speaking on the true state of selection process of the next VC, Olayinka said there were issues with the process of appointing a substantive VC for the UI during the last quarter of 2020.
He said these issues were being escalated by a faceless group promoting its agenda using the online media mainly.
Olayinka said it all started with protests by two of the candidates who contested along with seven other colleagues to represent the University Senate on the Joint Council/Senate Selection Board for the appointment of a VC.
“My understanding is that this protest is yet to be resolved by both the Senate and the Council and a final pronouncement made.
“It is a truism that in any election there will always be winners and losers. Conversely, those who lose out reserve the right to ventilate their grievances.’’
On the way forward, the immediate past VC said it was becoming evident during the last week of November 2020 that a substantive VC could no longer emerge before the end of my tenure on Nov. 30.
“The Honourable Minister of Education directed that an acting VC be appointed.
“Following an election in the Senate on my last day in office, in which there were five distinguished professors as candidates; Prof. Adebola Ekanola, who up till then was the Deputy VC (Academic), scored the highest votes, to emerge the acting VC.
“The Council of the University appointed him acting VC that same day as such that there was no vacuum.
“Council then adjourned till Feb. 8. However, I learnt that the adjourned meeting of Council has been postponed indefinitely.
“There is no crisis in the University whatsoever. The Senate met just recently to approve final year results.
“I am very sure the graduating students and their parents and guardians are now celebrating the formal completion of their degree programmes.
“The results for the non final year students will be taken on this week,’’ he said.
Olayinka however said they were optimistic that the Council would reconvene at the earliest convenience to decide on the way forward.
“At least for now the business of the University is going on smoothly as far as one can observe.’’