The Ilorin Emirate Professors Association has faulted their Offa counterparts for criticising the process that led to the appointment of Prof. Muhammed Akanbi as the Vice-Chancellor of the Kwara State University.
In a statement signed by the association’s Chairman, Prof. Suleiman Kuranga, the professors said it was absurd when an intellectual forum, Offa Professors Forum, that failed to put forward any candidate, declared the choice of Prof. Akanbi (SAN), the most suitable for the VC, as “unfair”.
OPF had earlier faulted the appointment of KWASU VC.
It said the then Deputy VC, Prof. Mahmood Sakah, from Kwara North, who is eminently qualified, should have been encouraged to move aheadand that it was high time the North be encouraged to occupy the position in the spirit of fairness and inclusiveness.
According to the statement by the IEPA, ethnic chauvinism has been the antics of OPF in the past.
It said: “Our attention has been drawn to media statement by OPF on the appointment of the Vice Chancellor of KWASU.
“As a body of intellectuals, we would not have wanted to join issues unnecessarily, with our colleagues, but it is pertinent to do so in order to set the record straight for the sake of posterity.
“The position of the Vice Chancellor of KWASU, Malete, was advertised in National Newspapers on the March 27, 2019 and interested candidates applied thereafter.
“The advertisement was made in accordance with the 2008 law that set up the university and it did not specify that the candidate must be from a particular Senatorial Zone of the state.
“Therefore, applications were made voluntarily and upon the will of the applicants and not by community or ethnic representation.
“The law that set up the university did not emphasise that the leadership of the university would be rotational among the Senatorial Zones of the state.
“One of the conditions of the application was that the prospective applicants must be in full time employment in universities.
“Only Akanbi fulfilled this condition among the three shortlisted candidates.”
The statement noted that the advertisement stated that the applicants should be experts in disciplines offered by the university and must not be less than five years as a professor.
It said: “The three candidates seem to have fulfilled this criterion, however, the position was stated to be for a single term of five years.
“In other words, applicants who were above 65 years at the time of application should not have applied because if such candidate is successful, he would not be able to complete a tenure.
“It is expected that anybody of professorial status in public universities in Nigeria should know this.”
It added that it was sad to observe the inherent hatred for Kwara Central as indicated in the OPF statement.
It said: “It raised the issue that the Selection Board (a committee of Council) was skewed in favour of Ilorin Central (sic) Senatorial Zone (where they constituted 4 out of 5 members, including the chairman).
“Going by this statement, OPF forgot that it is Kwara Central rather than Ilorin Central. This, again, demonstrated deep ignorance by OPF and evidence of pathological hatred of OPF for Ilorin as a community.
“Also, the statement credited to the OPF that it ‘did not encourage its members to apply for the position of VC of KWASU because it felt that the then Deputy VC, Prof. Mahmood Sakah, from Kwara North is eminently qualified and that it was high time the North be encouraged to occupy the position, in the spirit of fairness and inclusiveness’ was also not expected of a two term VC.
“By this action, they have denied KWASU of quality prospective applicants from Offa because of ethnic chauvinism and this ethnic chauvinism has been the antics of OPF in the past.”
The statement accused OPF of shielding the fact that all Rectors of Offa Polytechnic, since inception, except the founding Rector, have all been from Offa despite the availability and more qualified candidates/applicants from other places.
It said: “A recent reminder is the denial of the present Rector of Kwara State Polytechnic from being appointed as the Rector of Federal Polytechnic Offa despite his impressive performance at the interview.
“Where is the justice being clamoured for by OPF? Might is right is the case when it favours OPF.
“OPF has forgotten that Offa indigenes have been VCs in universities where such ethnic jingoism did not matter.
“Examples were in FUT, Minna and Fountain University, Osogbo (where Offa indigenes were VCs in quick succession).
“OPF should rather focus on issues that will better unite us than the present divisive tendencies.”
The Ilorin professors commended Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq for the appointment of the most qualified applicant as the substantive VC of KWASU as doing otherwise might result in litigation by the same elements.
“What is expected of all and sundry, including OPF, is to rally round Professor Akanbi (SAN) to take the KWASU to greater height,” the statement said.