Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities has appealed to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu to thread with caution on his recent onslaught against the statutorily –provided procedures in the university system.
In a statement signed by the Secretary-General of the CVC, Professor Michael O Faborode, and made available to newsmen yesterday, the Committee said it received the news of the appointment of 13 new Vice-Chancellors for 12 Federal Universities and the National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN, through electronic media.
The CVC further frowned at the misconception weaved around the disengagement of the Vice Chancellors of 13 universities, particularly the first nine, eight of which had their tenures expired on Monday February 15, and had already handed over to Acting VCs appointed by the Governing Councils in line with the University Miscellaneous Act, explaining that they were not sacked, but had completed their tenures honourably.
“For the 9 Federal Universities established in 2011, except the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, the tenure of the Vice Chancellors expired on Monday February 15, hence it will be wrong to say they were sacked.
“As far as the CVC is concerned, there can be no justification for their being sacked, having laboured stridently to establish enduring foundations for the fledgling universities. Rather, we congratulate them for ending their tenure on a commendable note”, the Committee said.
The CVC further clarified that the VC of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, was appointed after the pioneer VC, Prof Chinedu Nebo was named minister, regretting that new VCs for the three new Federal Universities at Birnin Kebbi, Gashua and Gusau were announced to have been appointed against the extant practice in the university system.
“The VCs have inviolable tenure of 5 years. The situation is even made worse by the announced appointment of a new VC for NOUN, which is no stranger to the statutory process of appointing a VC. We plead that these Vice Chancellors should be allowed to complete their tenure or proper statutory and transparent procedures be adopted if they are accused of any wrong doings.
“The power to appoint and remove a substantive Vice-Chancellor, and when the need arises, an acting Vice Chancellor, is vested in the Governing Councils. The National Open University has a Council in place. We are now aware that the Councils of the 12 Federal universities were dissolved unceremoniously a day earlier, and the appointment of new ones announced”, CVC lamented.
The body of VCs reiterated its support for any government decision to re-constitute the Governing Councils if it feels compelled to do so, but said the Minister should have allowed the new Councils to be properly constituted and sworn-in, and then take the statutory responsibility of setting the machinery in motion to appoint the substantive VCs for the universities.
The CVC condemned in its entirety what it described as “subtle usurpation of the statutory function of Governing Councils by the Minister in appointing the new VCs”, warning that such tactical ‘overthrow’ does not augur well for the integrity and good health of the Nigerian university system.
“We plead that the steps be reversed in the interest of the good intention of Mr. President. The enshrined competitive process for the appointment of VCs has immeasurable benefits as opposed to ‘random selection’ of otherwise unwilling individuals, who are NOT aligned with the vision of a university.
“We are regrettably doing incalculable damage to our education system, by unwittingly demoralising and de-motivating Vice Chancellors, and highly distinguished Pro-Chancellors and Chairmen of Governing Councils”, they said.