The Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Nigerian Federal Universities, has taken swipe at the protest that greeted appointment of Prof. Adebayo Bamire, as a new Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, in Osun State, by some persons.
The Pro-chancellors,while reacting to the protest,said the action was uncalled for as Vice Chancellors of universities can be appointed from any part of the country, warning those protesting against Prof. Bamire on the basis of not being an indigene of Ile-Ife,to desist forthwith.
The body,in a statement, Wednesday,in Abuja, tasked security agencies to probe the protest with a view to unraveling the actors and subsequently make them face the wrath of the law.
In the statement signed by the Chairman of the Committee of Pro-Chancellors, Emeritus Professor Nimi Briggs, they insisted that a vice-chancellor could be appointed from any part of the country or beyond to handle affairs of a university in Nigeria
The statement read in part, “The Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Nigerian Federal Universities viewed with sadness, the recent unfortunate protest that greeted the appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor for Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ife.
“Besides blocking the entrance to the University and preventing the free flow of traffic, the protest assumed a most bizarre dimension when masquerades and traditionalists began to parade the campus, placing fetish objects in various locations.
“The insistence that an indigene of Ife be appointed to the position of Vice-Chancellor that formed the basis of the protest is very unfortunate at two levels.
“First, OAU is a Federal Institution and has staff from all over Nigeria. Second, and more importantly, it is a university that recruits staff and students from all over the world. In the same vein, the Vice-Chancellor can come from any part of Nigeria and the wider world.”
The statement further read:“This is followed by an oral presentation of the candidate’s vision for the University if appointed and his or her track record and pedigree in realising aspects of that vision.
“The answers provided constitute what makes the difference between applicants. The Pro-Chancellor chairs the Selection Committee and the final decision is approved by the Governing Council. The Owelle Oscar Udoji led Council meticulously went through this process to appoint Professor Adebayo Bamire as Vice-Chancellor.
“We salute the fortitude and candour of members in insisting that only the best is best for OAU, which remains one of the best in the continent of Africa.”
The Pro-chancellors noted that in “this 21st century, where higher education is now a key driver of development and prosperity, we cannot run our universities with 19th-century mindsets.”
“As Ivory Towers, universities are ranked against each other globally. That is why the appointment of a Vice-Chancellor is as rigorous as it is meticulous.
“In our efforts to rebuild our Universities against their numerous challenges, we cannot afford to introduce primordial sentiments in selecting who should be the chief academic and administrative officer. We urge all stakeholders to forge a common front to tackle the many challenges that currently bedevil our Universities,” the statement further read.