The University of Maiduguri (Unimaid) chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is meeting tomorrow to review the lingering impasse over the selection of a new vice chancellor for the university.
The Joint University Council and Senate Selection Board had on Thursday in Abuja, interviewed11 candidates who had applied to replace the current VC, Professor Mala M. Daura, who is due to leave office on June 2.
But sources close to the selection board alleged that the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the varsity, Alhaji Lawan Bukar Marguba, thwarted the process.
Marguba was alleged to have abruptly suspended a meeting of the Council, which was due to receive the selection board’s report and announce the choice of the successful candidate as VC.
Our sources revealed that of the 11 candidates interviewed for the VC slot, Prof. Ibrahim Njodi of the Faculty of Education in the same university came tops, having scored 90.1%, while Prof. Isa Hussaini Marte of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science, also in the university, came second with 71.2%.
Prof. Abubakar Kundiri of the Faculty of Agriculture, Unimaid, scored 69.5%, thereby emerging third. Other contenders were Prof. Ibrahim Iliya, 66.3%; Prof. Umar Sandabe, 62.8%; Prof. Yagani Kaarta, 61.3%; and Prof. Ibrahim B. Goni, 56.8%.
The other candidates were Prof. Yakubu Bila, 52.6%; Prof. Sheriff Modu, 52.4%; Prof. Bukar Bababe, 51.6%; and Prof. Tijani El-Miskin, 47.8%.
According to one of our sources, “despite protest and insistence of members of the Council that the report of the joint selection board be discussed and acted upon, the chairman unilaterally suspended the meeting indefinitely, claiming that he was going to see the supervising minister for education”.
One of our sources alleged, however, that Njodi, who came tops during the interview, is being opposed because he hails from Gombe state.
He added that the Council chairman and some other prominent personalities from Borno state are determined to get one of their own (from Borno) take over from Professor Daura as the new VC.
But a document obtained by one of our reporters showed that of the eight VCs that the university had since its inception in 1975, four of them are from Borno, two from Adamawa, one from Akwa Ibom, while the current VC is from Yobe state.
Besides, as a federal institution, it is expected to reflect federal character principles in all its appointments, as a letter from the Federal Character Commission (FCC) addressed to the varsity’s registrar and dated May 13, 2009, has shown.
Meanwhile, the Unimaid ASUU, according to a lecturer who spoke to one of our reporters, is insisting that “merit must not be compromised on the altar of ethnicity and politics, in the choice of the VC of a university”.
The lecturer said the union is likely to come out with a very strong position cautioning the Presidency and the Federal Ministry of Education against succumbing to “any political pressure” to comprise merit for ethnic sentiment.