A group of academics, Ilorin Emirate Professors Association (IEPA) has dismissed the claims by their counterpart in the state, Offa Professors Forum (OPF) which accused the former of bias and nepotism in the appointment of the Vice Chancellor of Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete, Prof Muhammed Mustapha Akanbi (SAN) stating that the claims are unfounded and spiteful.
This was contained in a statement signed by Prof. A.S. Kuranga, Chairman, Ilorin Emirate Professors Association (IEPA) on Tuesday in Ilorin adding that due process was followed without any undue influence in the appointment of Professor Akanbi (SAN) as the Vice Chancellor of the university.
Prof Kuranga who commended the state governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq for the appointment emphasized that the appointment should not be politicized as the Vice chancellor’s profile and wealth of experiences speak volume of his proficiency and capability to move the university to a greater height which is paramount in the overall interest of the state, and therefore enjoined everyone to support the new Vice Chancellor in the interest of peace and progress. The statement reads;
“The attention of Ilorin Emirate Professors Association has been drawn to media statement by Offa Professors Forum on the appointment of the Vice Chancellor of Kwara State University (KWASU). As a body of intellectuals, we would not have wanted to join issues, unnecessarily, with our colleagues, but, it is pertinent to do so in order to set the record straight for the sake of posterity.
“The position of the Vice Chancellor of KWASU, Malete was advertised in National Newspapers on the 27th March, 2019 and interested candidates applied thereafter. The advertisement was made in accordance with the 2008 law that set up the university.
“The advertisement did not specify that the candidate must be from a particular Senatorial Zone of the state. Therefore, applications were made voluntarily and upon the will of the applicants and not by community or ethnic representation. The law that set up the university did not emphasize that the leadership of the university would be rotational among the Senatorial Zones of the State.
“One of the conditions of the application was that the prospective applicants must be in full time employment in universities. Only Akanbi fulfilled this condition among the three shortlisted candidates.
“The advertisement stated that the applicants should be experts in disciplines offered by the university and must not be less than five (5) years as a professor. The three candidates seem to have fulfilled this criterion. However, the position was stated to be for a single term of five (5) years. In other words, applicants who were above 65 years at the time of application should not have applied because if such candidate is successful, he would not be able to complete his tenure. It is expected that anybody of professorial status in public universities in Nigeria should know this.
“On 1st April, one of the candidates was announced by the Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, having been previously approved by the Executive Governor and Visitor to the university on the recommendation of the Governing Council of the university.
“It is therefore absurd when an intellectual forum, Offa Professors Forum (OPF) that failed to put forward any candidate, declared the choice of Prof M.M. Akanbi (SAN), the most suitable for the VC, as unfair. The release which was credited to Prof. O.B. Oloyede was unfortunate and least expected.
“The statement credited to the OPF that it “did not encourage its members to apply for the position of VC of KWASU because it felt that the then Deputy VC, Professor Mahmood Sakah, who is from Kwara North is eminently qualified and that it was high time the North be encouraged to occupy the position, in the spirit of fairness and inclusiveness” was also not expected of a two term VC who, by this action, has denied KWASU of quality prospective applicants from Offa because of ethnic chauvinism.
“This ethnic chauvinism has been the antics of OPF in the past. OPF did not mention the fact that ALL Rectors of Offa Polytechnic, since inception, except the founding Rector, have all been from Offa despite the availability and more qualified candidates/applicants from other places. A recent reminder is the denial of the present Rector of Kwara State Polytechnic from being appointed as the Rector of Federal Polytechnic Offa despite his impressive performance at the interview. Where is the justice being clamored for by OPF? Might is right is the case when it favours OPF.
“OPF has forgotten that Offa indigenes have been Vice Chancellors in universities where such ethnic jingoism did not matter. Examples were in Federal University of Technology, Minna and Fountain University, Osogbo (where Offa indigenes were VCs in quick succession). OPF should rather focus on issues that will better unite us than the present divisive tendencies.
“We, therefore, commend the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq for the appointment of the most qualified applicant as the substantive VC of KWASU as doing otherwise might result in litigation by the same elements that are now shedding crocodile tears.
“What is expected of all and sundry, including OPF, to rally round Professor M.M. Akanbi (SAN) to take the KWASU to greater height, the chairman stated.