OAU: Ife indigenes kick against VC’s appointment, invade campus with charms

Against the backdrop of the appointment of Vice-Chancellor for Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), last week, the indigenes of Ile-Ife, the host community of the institution, have been up in arms.

The Governing Council, led by its Pro-Chancellor/Chairman, Owelle Oscar Udoji, had on Thursday, March 17, 2022, announced Prof. Adebayo Simeon Bamire, a Professor of Agricultural Economics the 12th substantive Vice-Chancellor of the university.

But, the indigenes, who wanted one of their own to be installed as the next Vice-Chancellor, were said to have immediately invaded the campus with charms and other fetish objects, and closed the two major gates of the institution, and prevented staff, students, and other stakeholders from entering or leaving the campus.

According to the Public Relations Officer for the university, Mr. Abiodun Olarewaju, in a statement issued Monday, and titled: “OAU Vice-Chancellorship Appointment: Ife Indigenes Invade Campus with Charms and Fetish Objects,” the protesters, who initially blocked the main gate of the university on the first day and threatened staff and students to stay away from campus,  became very violent the second day as they beat up workers, particularly the staff of the Security Unit, and vandalised their office at the Main Gate.

The statement said: “Today, Monday, March 21, 2022, things took more dangerous dimensions as the indigenes beat up some OAU students who they met at the gate, blocked the two major gates as early as 6:00 am, and came into the campus with charms, and other fetish items.

“They assembled at the motion ground of the University Secretariat, dressed in all-white spiritual traditional attire, chanting incantations while performing rituals.”

Olarewaju, however, stated that the Joint Council and Senate Selection Committee shortlisted 16 candidates for the interview for the post of Vice-Chancellor and the candidates whose names were arranged in alphabetical order, were called in for interaction and each was scored by each member of the Selection Board.

“The score sheets of each Assessor for individual candidates were dropped into an envelope and sealed, with the signature of the Chairman of Council on each one,” the statement added.

Piqued by the development, he said the university hereby affirmed that due processes were followed and merit was the basis for the appointment of the new Vice-Chancellor.

The university management, therefore, implored the leadership of Ile-Ife community to call the protesters to order so that the cordial relationship, which hitherto has been existing between the university and the Ile-Ile communities is not jeopardised.

While recalling that at the end of the interview, the sealed envelopes were opened one after the other and announced to all the members, he further stated that the score sheets were thereafter passed around for sighting.

The statement further reads in part: “Then, the scores of the candidates were collated with Microsoft Excel and ranked from the highest to the lowest. The candidate with the highest score was eventually announced as the Vice- Chancellor by the Governing Council.

“For the avoidance of doubt, no member of the Committee had foreknowledge of each candidate’s score before the final collation at the end of the interaction.

“The university is aware of the false presentation of the alphabetical arrangement of the applicants as the authentic list of applicants’ performance where unfounded allegations have been made of changing the leading candidate.”




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