There are intrigues unfolding at the University of Abuja, as the Governing council is set to meet on Monday to decide who succeeds the incumbent vice-chancellor, whose tenure ends on Monday, June 20, 2014.
It was learnt that three qualified candidates, out of the ten shortlisted by the council last month, emerged tops in the interview conducted.
The three professors who were successful at the interview are Prof. Garba Dambatta, who came tops with 86% while Prof. Lawal from Unilorin and Prof. Adiko from Benue State University scored 67 % respectively.
Checks revealed that the governing Council delayed the announcement of Prof. Garba Dambatta the leading candidate for the post, as the new VC based on ethnicity and religion and the allegation that he is Governors Rabi’u Kwankwaso and Sule Lamido’s candidate.
Peoples Daily also learnt that the Council chairman is also trying to use purported security reports to disqualify Prof. Dambatta from emerging as the new VC.
It was further alleged that all the three successful candidates are not cut in the good book of the Chairman Governing Council of the university.
Our investigation revealed that the last two professors who came second in the interview with a total score of 67 % each are being knocked-off over the representation of their states in the Council as members, which is against the law guiding university Governing Councils.
A reliable source at the university said the Council is delaying the announcement of the VC based on ethnicity and religion, adding that the Council chairman prefers the candidature of Prof. Adiko, which is the reason he has not made the announcement based on merit.
The sources added that the council sought a security report on the three candidates, a move said to have been initiated so that it will not favour Prof. Dambatta.
The position for the VC of the school was advertised in January this year and 123 eminent professors applied but, the university governing Council led by Gen. Samuel Ogbemudia, reduced to prune the number to 21 and subsequently shortlisted 10.
However, responding to our enquiries about this development, Public Relations Officer of the University, Malam Waziri Garba, said the governing council is meeting on Monday, the last day of prof. Adelabu as the VC of the university to decide on the new VC base on merit.
Meanwhile, reports in the media said unfavorable security reports on some of the leading candidates running for the post, coupled with late submission on other contenders, forced the Governing Council of the university to call up more names from the reserve list and postpone the announcement of the new VC to Monday.
The reports also said the Governing Council has sent the Registrar of the school, Alhaji Muhammad Bello Modibbo, on compulsory leave as his tenure has ended.
It could be recalled that interest in the battle for the number one seat in the University divided the committee set up to oversee the selection process of a new VC.
The committee was divided between the two external council members even as both groups used the same criteria and applied the rule to further their interests.
To curtail the problem before it escalates, the process was suspended indefinitely on May 2, when crisis erupted within the screening council committee after some members attempted to subvert the laid-down selection processes.
One of the causes of the crisis is that the vacancy advertisement placed by the committee in the national dailies did not contain conditions until after the submission of applications by the interested candidates when the committee brought about 12 conditions, which were alleged to favour their candidates.
The 2003 University’s enacted Act stated that the criteria for the post of VC includes among other things interview performance, which would be scored along candidates’ vision for the university, articulation, personality and general knowledge and referee reports and a candidate must score at least 75 out of a total 100 points to make the next list.
The Joint board would then recommend to the Council three (3) suitable candidates for further consideration. The Council then selects one candidate from among the three candidates recommended to it regardless of his sex, tribe and religion and thereafter informs the Visitor (President).
It would be recalled that worried by the development and in an effort to address the crisis associated with appointment of VCs and heads of tertiary institutions in the country, Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, met with heads of tertiary institutions and Chairmen of their Governing Councils in Abuja where he condemned the localisaton of appointments of heads of tertiary institutions by host communities.
According to the Minister, localizing appointments of heads of higher institutions will hinder the quest of Nigerians to have quality education for the development of the country through merit appointment of qualified candidates regardless of where they are coming from and their religion.
He said the Federal Government’s goal of ensuring quality education for the development of the country could not be achieved if merit was not followed in the appointment of leadership.
Councils of Universities have powers in the selection and appointment s of VCs in universities but must be made to exercise their powers judiciously by not taking the laws in their hands by acting in manners capable of bringing crisis in the sector, the minister said.