The OAU VC crisis has turned to a mine from which news correspondents, public analysts and even university lecturers represent the University in different lights. Some representations are true but some are not. Seasoned artful liars have, unfortunately, appropriated the crisis to practice their art. One of such is Wumi Raji, the writer of “Crisis in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife” . Permit me to take up the issues one after the other as he presented them in this piece.
1. Wumi Raji claimed that the advertisement for the vacant job of Vice-Chancellor was published in two national tabloids. In his letter to the Visitor, the Chairman, OAU Governing Council, stated that it was published in six national dailies. However, the University statute says “Where a vacancy occurs in the post of a Vice-Chancellor, the Council shall – advertise the vacancy in a reputable journal or widely read newspaper, specifying the qualities of the persons who may apply for the post,” So, the Council did more than stipulated, perhaps, in anticipation of black-market lie such as this.
2. Wumi Raji claimed that the Council scored and ranked in its shortlist. He also suspected a foul play in the current disqualification of contestants who qualified in the last exercise. In the said letter, the Chairman debunked this and instead stated that the Council “shortlisted in alphabetical order and without scores in the recommendation to the Selection Board.” He informed that the Council used CV and Referees to shortlist. So, if CVs of hitherto qualified contestants remain unchanged, in the current round, they therefore stood the risk of disqualification. Here is a lesson for future VC applicants to keep their CVs up to date. However, the statute provides, in black and white, that the Council “draw up a short list of suitable candidates for the post for consideration” without stating any criteria. So, the Council was in no wrong to have used world-class parameters – CV and Referees – to arrive at a shortlist.
3. Wumi Raji submitted that there was a court injunction restraining the OAU Council from continuing the process of appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor. The Council Chairman, in the said letter, claimed that until now, no restraining court injunction had been served on the Council. I have read the piece – it’s a notice of application! I want to dare this Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts to publish this said court injunction in any dailies and distribute copies on campus to save his name. I want to implore the Council to do same for the Nigerian legal experts to comment.
4. Wumi Raji submitted that the final interaction of the Council which produced Prof. Ayobami Salami as the 11th OAU Vice-Chancellor held in Abuja. He also claimed that the letters inviting contestants to the interaction did not contain venue and date. He also, sadly, informed that only two candidates were interviewed physically with the third being interviewed on phone from his sick bed. The statute governing the appointment of a Vice-Chancellor is silent on the place of interaction. However, it is assumed that it should come up in the University. The Council Chairman, in the said letter, attributed the Abuja location to security reasons. I have seen this letter of invitation, it contains a location. For the sake of integrity, I implore these contestants to publish their letters in any dailies and make copies for distribution on campus. It is a lie that a contestant was interviewed on phone from his sick bed. Another contestant, Prof. (Mrs.) Aina, who wanted to be our Vice-Chancellor, also, unfortunately, fed an ASUU Congress with this same claim which Prof. Peter Adegbola Akinola corroborated when he said the Council interviewed an “invalid”. This claims by these two professors was immediately debunked by Prof. Akanbi, a member of the Joint Council and Senate Selection Board. The two professors did not challenge him in return.