Mounting tension

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• Succession crisis looms at FUT Minna, as seven in-house professors, others vie for VC-ship
From John Adams, Minna
With about eight months to the expiration of the tenure of the Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Technology (FUT) Minna, Niger State, Prof. Musbau Adewumi Akanji, the battle of who succeeds him, has begun.
His tenure expires in November this year, but no fewer than seven senior lecturers in the university have indicated interest to vie for the position.
According to the rules governing the appointment of Vice Chancellor for the university, an advertisement for the position should be made in national newspapers at least six months to the expiration of the five-year single term of the incumbent Vice Chancellor after which interested persons can apply.
The Visitor to the university, President Muhammed Buhari, is, by law, to appoint the Vice Chancellor of any federal university based on the recommendations of the University Senate.
Those that are already warming up to succeed Prof. Akanji include three former Deputy Vice Chancellors, namely, Prof. D A Osunde, Prof. Bala Abdullahi, and Prof. Adama of the Department of Agriculture.
Others are: Prof. Emmanuel Udensi of the Directorate of Linkages, Prof. Sulaiman of the Chemistry department, Prof. S A Sadauki, current Dean, School of Physical Sciences and Prof. Odugure. This is in addition to many other external people that are said to have shown interest in the job.
It was gathered that these aspirants have already begun to make contact with all those that matter in the selection of a new Vice Chancellor, either through SMS or through personal contact to solicit for their support.
It would be recalled that in 2012, crisis had rocked the university to its foundations following the appointment of the current Vice Chancellor. Within 48 hours, the University got two Vice Chancellors. The Governing Council had announced the appointment of Prof. Akin Osarhiemen Osunde as the acting Vice Chancellor of the University, before making a U-turn 48 hours later and announced the appointment of Prof. Akanji from the University of Ilorin as the new Vice Chancellor.
Prof. Osunde’s appointment was said to have been approved after the council’s 96th special meeting which held on November 13th, 2012. It was expected to take effect from November 27, 2012.
However, in a dramatic turn of event, the council again announced the appointment of Prof. Akanji, then of the Faculty of Science, University of Ilorin as the 6th substantive Vice Chancellor of the university, with the appointment taking effect, according to the council, from November 26th 2012.
The council said the appointment of the new vice chancellor was approved after its 97th special meeting held on November 20th 2012 but no reason was, however, given over the sudden change of decision by the governing council.
The announcement of Prof. Akanji as VC and a successor to Prof. Mohammed Salihu Audu brought academic and administrative activities in the institution to a halt with the host community threatening that unless one of its own was considered and appointed the new Vice Chancellor, the peace hitherto enjoyed by the University with the community would be no more.
The university host community made up of Minna Emirate in a strongly worded letter of protest signed by the chairman of the group, Alhaji Usman Nagogo, and ten others, accused the university authority and the Vice Chancellor of marginalizing the community in the scheme of things as regards appointment of senior and junior staff, the admission policy of the institution and the award of contracts in the university.
According to the community, there is no one from the immediate host community that is occupying an important position in the university, ranging from the Vice Chancellor’s office, the registry and even bursary department. They added that the marginalization is more glaring with the appointment of junior staff even when the law says all junior staff should come from the immediate environment.
The community categorically warned that the situation has reached an intolerable level in the face of the fact that it relinquished a massive part of its land and properties for the university use as well as made strenuous efforts to ensure peaceful and conducive environment for teaching and learning and have always cooperated with every successful administration of the University.
But in a reaction to the allegations, the then Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Abdullahi Bala, noted that neither the then Vice Chancellor nor the university governing council is against the community bringing their candidate in as much as he or she meets the requirements for the position of the VC.
However, given the mounting tension among the gladiators over who succeeds Akanji, there is the likelihood of the repeat of 2012 episode. The incumbent Vice Chancellor has sent a passionate appeal to those nursing ambition of succeeding him to put the interest of the university first above every other consideration, saying that the university cannot afford the repeat of 2012 crisis.
Prof. Akanji who made the appeal while briefing the press during the university’s 26th convocation and 34th anniversary celebrations last week, pointed out that the institution was able to recover from the last succession crisis by divine intervention.
He said that the success recorded by the university in the past five years under his administration, that makes it now ranked 100 out of the 2,000 universities in Africa and 64in Nigeria should be sustained. He therefore warned that any further disruption of the peace of the university will not do it any good.
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Source: TheSun

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