New VC in UI: Workers and Students Should Prepare to Defend Interest and Rights
On the 14th October, 2021, the Governing Council of the University of Ibadan led by the Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, a former National Chairman of All Progressive congress, APC announced Professor Kayode Adebowale as the 13th Vice-Chancellor of the University. This was after a very protracted process that was marred with controversies largely revolved around both the religious and tribal sentiments. Different groups driven by self-serving interest hid under the pretense that neither an Ibadan indigene nor a Muslim had ever been the VC of the over 70 years old university as a basis to appeal for undue sympathy and mass support.
By Ben Taaffe
As a matter of fact, the question of how the learning and working condition of both students and workers in the university would be improved upon was never given a priority in the course of the contest. The community forum jointly organized by all the workers unions which is the only avenue workers and students in the university could have used to engage the individuals jostling for the position of the university VC and draw commitment from them over issues related to their welfare and learning condition was boycotted by most of the contestants. This is simply because they knew that such an event is not going to part of the criteria used in determining who would become the VC.
We of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) condemn such character of the VC contest. As far as we are concerned the question that a VC is of Ibadan indigene or a practicing Muslim shouldn’t be a factor in the choice of a university VC. The priority should be a VC regardless of religious or tribal affiliation that will be able to satisfy the overall interest of workers and students as well as other members of the university community.
This is why we always advocate that the process for the emergence of the university VC and other principal officers should always be democratic in such that they derive their authority from elections and recall processes that allow equitable involvement of academic and non-academic workers and students.
By the current arrangement the choice of the new VC is often determined by the Council whose composition is dominated by the political appointees of the federal government. Therefore, the VC only promotes and defends anti-poor policies of the government.
The ERC calls on students’ union and staff unions to prepare to consistently defend the interest and democratic rights of their members against any attack. This may arise as a result of the underfunding of the university, misappropriation of resources and undemocratic running of the university, something that provides enabling condition for the rise of a draconian management.