Some aggrieved members of the Senate of the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom state have petitioned the Governing Council over an alleged decision by the outgoing Vice-Chancellor (VC) of the University of Uyo (UNIUYO), Prof. Enefiok Essien, to manipulate the selection process. They, therefore, demanded the process be made democratic and transparent in line with the tradition in other Universities.
Under the aegis of ‘The Concerned Senate Members in the University of Uyo’ and addressed to VC Essien and a copy sent to the Governing Council Chairman, Prof. Austin Awujo and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), UNIUYO chapter, they alleged that the outgoing VC, whose five-year tenure ends at the end of 2020, has flouted the laid down process leading to the emergence of the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UNIUYO.
The petition signed by six eminent Professors including a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC), Prof. Trenchard Ibia, reads in part: “A special meeting of the Senate was held on Monday, September 28, 2020, with an electronic circulated agenda, tagged: ‘Member of Senate on the selection board for the appointment of a new VC for the University of Uyo’. At the meeting, the Registrar, Mr Aniediabasi Udo, 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 a 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. “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 relates 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 obtained using misinformation and veiled untruths”.
Speaking to Newsmen, 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.
The Vice-Chancellor could not be reached for a reaction as at press time, but, the Registrar and Secretary to Council, Mr Aniediabasi Udo, 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 ten Professors are angling to succeed Prof. Essien and are expected to another round of screening and selection process on Monday, October 5.