There is a twist in the appointment of a new Vice- Chancellor for the University of Ibadan (UI). An Ibadan group, The Ibadan Pillars, is calling for appointment of an Ibadan indigene, while Oke- Ogun axis of Oyo State faulted such call, insisting that it is their turn to produce the next Vice-Chancellor
Merit shouldn’t be compromised in place of origin –Stakeholders
The Ibadan Pillars: Appointment of non-Ibadan indigene not acceptable
Oke-Ogun axis: It’s our turn
Don: Positionlaughable, misnomer
There is a new twist in the race for a new Vice-Chancellor for the University of Ibadan (UI). No fewer than eight candidates are in the race, jostling to succeed the 12th substantive Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abel Idowu Olayinka, whose five-year single term will expire in December.
But, a socio-political group of prominent Ibadan people, under the aegis of The Ibadan Pillars, is demanding the appointment of an Ibadan Professor and indigene as the 13th substantive Vice-Chancellor of the nation’s premier university.
In its growing agitation, the group lamented that the university since its establishment in 1948, as University College, before it transformed to University of Ibadan had not appointed an indigene of Ibadan, Oyo State capital, as Vice-Chancellor.
Now, the Ibadan Pillars, which is insisting and calling on the Federal Government that the next Vice-Chancellor, who will assume the post as the 13th substantive Vice-Chancellor of the university should be an indigene of Ibadan, the university’s host community, has threatened that anything short of that will not be acceptable.
According to the group, the appointment of an Ibadan Professor by December as the Vice-Chancellor of the institution will go a long way in compensating Ibadanland and its people, which donated the 2,550 acres of land for the establishment of the University College, which is today the University of Ibadan.
Its President, Asiwaju Nurudeen Akinade, recalled that the then Olubadan of Ibadan and his Chiefs- In-Council gave out the land for the siting of the university, under a lease of nominal rent equivalent of N2,000 a year for 999 years.
However, since its inception in 1940, no fewer than 12 Vice-Chancellors, either dead or living had so far administered the university, and of all none had been indigene of Ibadan, thereby raising a dust among some concerned Ibadan indigenes, who are bent that the 13th Vice-Chancellor must be an indigene of Ibadan, the “bird that laid the golden egg.”
On the list of Vice-Chancellors that had administered the university are Prof. Kenneth Onwuka Dike; Prof. Thomas Adeoye Lambo; Prof. H. Oritsejolomi-Thomas; Prof. Tekena N. Tamuno; Prof. Samson O. Olayide; Prof. L. Ayo Banjo; Prof. Alien B.O.O. Oyediran; Prof. Omoniyi O. Adewoye; Prof. Ayodele O. Falase; Prof. Olufemi Bamiro; Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole; and Prof. Abel Idowu Olayinka, the outgoing Vice-Chancellor. With the eight scholars that have indicated interest to vie for the coveted post as the 13th Vice-Chancellor of the premier university, four are Ibadan indigenes.
They are the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration) of the university, Prof. Kayode Adebowale; outgoing Provost of College of Medicine, Prof. Oluwabunmi Olopade-Olaopa; Prof. (Mogaji) Remi Raji of Arts Faculty; and Prof. Tal-hatu Kolapo Hamzat.
Other contestants, who are non-indigenes of Ibadan in the race, are the immediate past Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof. Adeyinka Abideen Aderinto; Prof. George Olusegun Ademowo; the immediate past Chief Medical Director (CMD) University College Hospital (UCH), Prof. Temitope Alonge; and Prof. Dele Layiwola of the Institute of African Studies of the institution.
The group said: “At present, Ibadanland is made up of five local government areas within the municipality of the capital city and six sub-urban/rural local government areas, as well as 14 additional Local Council Development Areas (LCDA).
“Ibadan as the host community of the university was and is still accommoda-tive and peaceful. There has never been report of any form of scuffles and crisis between Ibadanland as the host community and the University of Ibadan since its establishment over seven decades ago. “The University of Ibadan was established as a College of the University of London in 1948 and enjoyed a very large and expansive land given by the then Kabiyesi Olubadan, the Chiefs and the people of the ancient city.
“One of the Kenneth Mellanby books titled: “University College Ibadan: The Site and its Acquisition” (1954) states that: “subsequently, the chiefs and the people of Ibadan generously granted more than 2,550 acres of land for the site of the new University College…The Olubadan and the chiefs in return were allowed a nominal rent equivalent of N2,000 a year for leasing UCI site for 999 years.” In view of this and other facts, the group expressed regret: “With all these sacrifices, it is disturbing and highly illogical that an Ibadan indigene has not been allowed to be the Vice-Chancellor of the university.
Although, the Vice-Chancellor position is not supposed to be appointed for nativity sake, but some people have long played decision makers on Ibadan soil to hate anything Ibadan.”
While reiterating that they will not compromise their demand and call, the group therefore said that “having studied the situation critically, our organisation, which comprises several prominent and patriotic sons and daughters of Ibadanland both at home and in the diaspora, as well as greater percentage of good people of Ibadan Land, have decided not to accept any non-Ibadan indigene as the next Vice- Chancellor of the ivory tower.”
“This, however, will be without sacrificing merit. Currently, there are four competent, respected, highly reserved and renowned scholars/ academics who have applied for this exalted position,” the group added. In the list are Professors (Mogaji) Remi Raji Oyelade (former Dean, Faculty of Arts); Kayode Adebowale (current DVC, Administration); Emiola Olapade-Olaopa (a Professor at the College of Medicine) and Kolapo Hamzat (of the Neurological Physiotherapy Department).
The Ibadan Pillars added: “We believe sincerely that any of these scholars is good enough to be the Vice- Chancellor of University of Ibadan, as emergence of other candidate apart from any of these four will not be acceptable to Ibadan and its people.
“There is no First Generation University in Nigeria that has not produced an indigenous Vice-Chancellor of the host community origin. This continuous denial of Ibadanland is not only insulting and absurd, but also an act of insensitivity, affront and ingratitude on the part of the Federal Government and the university community.
“Therefore, we appeal to the Visitor to the university, President Muhammadu Buhari, who has done so many positive things for Yorubaland, such as a well commended posthumous honour for the winner of June 12 election, the late Bashorun of Ibadanland, Chief MKO Abiola; a massive new rail system, a dry port at Erunmu and recently approved dualisation of Foko/ Gege Road, among others, to please wipe-off our tears of 72 years by giving Ibadanland the new Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan.
“We equally appeal to the University Governing Council, Senate, management, the various workers’ unions, as well as other sectors and units of the university community to support this lofty request as the appointment of nonindigene as Vice-Chancellor will neither be accepted nor supported by the generality of Ibadanland.”
In a swift reaction to the position of Ibadan group, Oke-Ogun axis of Oyo State has vehemently challenged and dismissed the call, which it also faulted, saying that the section is the right axis of the state to produce the next Vice- Chancellor for the university.
Some loyalists of Prof. Layiwola from the Oke Ogun area, led by Dr. Lateef Adeleke, queried why Ibadan people must take everything that belongs to the state. “If the Ibadan people are promoting their own, we in Oke-Ogun should also promote our own,” he further argued. Adeleke further said: “The question is that has any Oke- Ogun man ever been Governor of Oyo State?
Are the Ibadan people must always take everything in the state? Oke-Ogun is not an inferior stakeholder in the Oyo State project.”
Also reacting to the Ibadan group’s position, a lecturer in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology at the university, who prefers not to be named, however, told New Telegraph that “the position of the Ibadan group called ‘The Ibadan Pillars’ is laughable. If they are insisting on producing the next Vice-Chancellor, are they trying to say that all the past Vice-Chancellors including the incumbent were appointed based on political consideration and not on merit?
The don added: “Do they (The Ibadan Pillars) want the position of University of Ibadan Vice- Chancellor to become political without merit? The tradition cannot be compromised.
The best must emerge. If any of their candidates is qualified, so be it. But, for them to say that they will not accept any candidate that emerges who is not of Ibadan origin is to me, a misnomer.”
Among scholars jostling for the plump job is Prof. Kayode Adebowale, who is the current Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Administration of the university. He was also a former Dean of the Post Graduate School, and a Professor of Industrial Chemistry at the premier university.
Prof. Oluwabunmi Olapade- Olaopa, the current Provost of College of Medicine of the university is a Professor of Surgery. An alumnus of the university with academic and professional careers spanning Urology, Molecular Biology, Medical Education and Health Systems Research and Development, he is the President of the African Medical Schools Association (AMSA). Prof. Remi Raji, an Ibadan indigene and a Mogaji of Ibandaland that stands the chance of becoming an Olubadan in the future.
A Nigerian poet, writing in English, he is popularly known by his pen name, Remi Raji. A Professor of English and African Literature and Creative Writing, Raji has served in many administrative capacities in the university, which culminated in his appointment as the Head of the Department of English in 2011.
Over a year, and after that substantive position, he was elected as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts. Also in the race is Prof. Talhatu Kolapo Hamzat is the fourth Ibadan indigene eyeing the Vice- Chancellor position of the university.
A don at the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutic, Faculty of Basic Medical Science, Hamzat, an alumnus of the premier university studied Physiotherapy and obtained a Bachelor of Science (Honours) Degree with Second Class Upper Division in March 1994. He belongs to the first group of Physiotherapy graduates in Nigeria to be officially inducted into Physiotherapy profession in March 18, 1994.
He obtained a PhD in Neurological Physiotherapy and the first to obtain a PhD Degree in Physiotherapy from any University in West Africa. Meanwhile, Prof. Adeyinka Abideen Aderinto, a Professor of Sociology and the immediate past Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) is the incumbent Head of Department of Sociology and former Dean, the Post Graduate School of the university.
He was Director of Special Duties to the immediate past Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Isaac Adewole, a former Minister of Health. During his stint as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Aderinto was saddled with the responsibility to midwife the religious crisis involving the management of the International School, University of Ibadan (ISI) and some Muslim parents of students of the school, who insisted on wearing Hijab dress to school.
Despite being a Muslim, he stood on the side of the university by refusing to yield to the agitation of the Muslim parents, led by one Mr. Abdur- Rahman Balogun. On his part, Prof. George Olusegun Ademowo, who is from the College of Medicine of the university, studied Pharmacology and Therapeutics. He is of the Advanced Medical Research and Training of the College.
He had carried out several research works in the area of Malaria Chemotherapy, drug disposition, Ethno Pharmacology, and Molecular Pharmacology.
Also, Temitope Alonge is a Professor of Orthopedics and Trauma at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan. He is the immediate past Chief Medical Director of the University Teaching Hospital (UCH), and he is currently the Oyo State Coordinator of the COVID-19 Task Force, chaired by Governor Seyi Makinke.
Another candidate in the race for the post of the Vice-Chancellor of the premier university is Prof. Dele Layiwola an indigene of Iseyin Town in Oke Ogun axis of the state. He is a former Director of the Institute of African Studies of the university, with specialty in the Area of Cultural Studies/Critical Theory and Analysis. A don at the Cultural and Media Studies Unit of the Institute, Layiwola has contributed immensely to academic development in the university in many areas.
Being the choice of Oke-Ogun for the Vice-Chancellor position of the university, the Oke-Ogun group recalled that his father, Pa Layiwola was one of the pioneer Local Government Chairmen of Iseyin Local Government Area, track record speaks volume of quality governance of that period.
They, therefore, described Prof. Dele Layiwola as an epitome of intellectual honesty and rectitude. “While many academics today are desecrating the values and standard known with the ivory towers, Dele Layiwola stands out of in the crowd as his track record of achievements speak for him till date,” they said.
The Director of the Institute of African Studies, Layiwola gave the institute a facelift after decades of neglect, and also enriched the curriculum of the institute by introducing new programmes including Peace and Conflict Studies, Media Studies and Transformation Studies, among others.
Prior to his becoming the Director of the Institute of African Studies, Layiwola was said to have stepped down for a senior Professor, who had few years in service and who was also interested in that post before his retirement.
In 2005, the University Search Committee included Prof. Dele Layiwola’s name in the list of qualified candidates for the post of Vice-Chancellor of the university, but he turned down the offer to contest against senior Professors, who had shown interest at that time.
According to the Oke-Ogun group, “today, Professor Layiwola is the most senior, most qualified and most experienced of all the contestants.”