By Bamidele Moses
As process for selection of new Vice Chancellor for Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife reached critical stage; candidates for the position have been subjected to series of drilling by unions in the university.
It would be recalled that six candidates have been screened to be qualified by the committee raised by the Goeverning Council of the university. Twelve academic professors have signified interest in occupying the position which will become vacant on June 23rd, 2016 when the five year single tenure of Professor Bamitale Omole would lapse.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), OAU Chapter on Monday engaged the screened candidates to interactive session where series of questions were put before the candidates on their vision and passions to lead the university.
Other unions such as SSANU and NASU have also signified to engage the candidates in similar exercise. During the forum, members of ASUU-OAU identified improvement on students’ accommodation, staff welfare and entire university campus, and building of a university that would be driven on culture, research and integrity of students and examination as key areas for the university to develop at desired rate.
Others are developing a university whose outstanding strategy and innovation would boost fund generation and ranking among the best in the world.
Out of the six contestants expected to be present at the forum, three were absent. Those present are Professor Afolabi Akindaunsi; Professor Charles Akinyokun and Professor Ayobami Salami.
ASUU-OAU Chairman, Dr. Caleb Aborisade, commended candidates that attended the forum, saying they all proved the quality they were made of.
He added, “They have presented to us what they intend to do if any of them become the VC and how they are going to do it. We have everything on tape – audio and video, so that anybody that eventually becomes the VC at any point in time wants to do otherwise we will replay it for him and at the end of his tenure, he will be properly judged by it.”
Convener of the interactive forum, Professor Sat Obiyan, explained that the appointment of a Vice Chancellor was within the purview of the university Governing Council but ASUU members needed to be sure of the integrity of the candidates.
He said, “The appointment of a new VC involves a very robust process which goes through stages. Our direct role is to provide representatives in the Council; two members are already representing the senate in the selection board. The selection board comprises of five persons who will interview the short-listed candidates. As a union, what we did is to invite VC candidates and set agenda for whoever emerges as the new vice chancellor.
“The point is that if you are to administer this university as a VC, ASUU is a critical stakeholder and we want to be sure that they understand what is needful and required to occupy that position. We want them to know our feelings, as regards where we feel that there are issues to be dealt with critically and important areas to address.”
The candidates after highlighting the challenges and proffered solutions to them, assured that they would ensure the growth of the university if they emerge as the VC.
One of them, Salami said, “On assumption of office as the next Vice-Chancellor by the grace of God, I will reduce these broad policy directions to tasks, targets and timelines in line with the university’s strategic plan; set up a Monitoring and Evaluation Team that will help to ensure that the administration stays on track and delivers on these commitments before the tenure of the administration ends.”
Akinyokun on his part said, “About ten Vice-Chancellors have come into Great Ife, did their best and gone. With the will of God Almighty, I shall come in as Vice-Chancellor to use ICT to advance the growth and development of Great Ife.”
“In the next five years, the leadership bar of OAU will be raised through good governance rooted in transparency and integrity, coupled with aggressive funding drive and harnessing the core competences,” Akindahunsi added.