New VC’s Selection: UNIUYO Boils As Senate Petitions Council Over Alleged Manipulation

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Following what is seen as an attempt by the outgoing Vice Chancellor (VC) of the University of Uyo (UNIUYO) in Nigeria to manipulate the selection process of the new Vice Chancellor, some aggrieved members of the Senate of the institution have petitioned the Governing Council, demanding a democratic and transparent process in line with the tradition in other universities.

In the petition under the aegis of “The Concerned Senate Members in the University of Uyo” addressed to the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Enefiok Essien, and copies sent to the Governing Council Chairman, Prof. Austin Awujo and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), UNIUYO chapter, the members alleged that the outgoing VC whose five-year tenure ends in 2020, has flouted the laid-down process leading to the emergence of the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UNIUYO.

The petition is signed by six eminent Professors including a former Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC), Prof. Trenchard Ibia reads “A special meeting of the Senate was held on Monday, September 28, 2020, with an electronic circulated agenda tagged: ‘Members of Senate on the selection board for the appointment of a new VC for the University of Uyo.”

At the meeting, Mr. Aniediabasi Udo, the university’s Registrar, was said to have misinformed and thereby misled the Senate by lifting, circulating and reading section 4 of the Universities’ (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1993, as if that section is part of the process of appointing a new Vice Chancellor.

The section 4 was read by the Registrar as follows: “Where vacancy occurs in the post of Deputy Vice Chancellor, the VC shall forward to the Senate a list of two candidates for each of the Deputy VC that is vacant (emphasis Registrar).

“The VC willingly guided by the Registrar’s misinformation, erroneously sought and obtained Senate approval to appoint two Senate members to the Joint Council and Senate selection board.

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“This is completely against the age-long known procedure and practice of election of Senate representative to the Joint Council and Senate Committee.

“Section 4 of the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1993 (as amended) is exclusively meant for the appointment of DVCs  and it is not an extension of section 3, subsection 3 of the same Act, which relate exclusively to the composition of the Joint Council and Senate Selection board for the appointment of VCs into Federal public Universities.

“We are dissatisfied with the way, the manner and the condition under which the VC obtains Senate ‘approval’ to solely appoint members of the Senate to the Joint Council and Senate Committee because the ‘approval was obtain using misinformation and veiled untruths”.

Speaking to journalists, Prof. Ibia asked the outgoing VC to halt the process and convened a special Senate meeting with a view to arriving at a satisfactory process towards the emergence of the new VC.

However, Mr. Udo, the Registrar and Secretary to Council, speaking to Newsmen on phone from Abuja, denied the allegation of misinformation regarding the selection process, explaining that perhaps, the petitioners were not paying attention to the portion he read at the meeting.

The VC, he added, “is well versed with the knowledge of the laws of the institution as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), maintaining that he was not in a better position to advise a SAN on matters pertaining to rules, laws and regulations of the University.

No fewer than 10 Professors are jostling to succeed Prof. Essien and are expected to another round of screening and selection process on Monday, October 5.