UNIZIK lecturers may go on strike over choice of VC – accuse Pro-Chancellor of bias
Trouble is looming in Nnamdi Azikiwe University(NAU), Awka again, with allegation of bias in the election process of a vice chancellor for the university. Aggrieved stakeholders of the institution have dismissed the selection process for the university’s vice chancellorship position, alleging that it has been heavily compromised. The institution had last year, December announced a vacancy for the position of the vice chancellor, following the expiration of the second term of Prof Boniface Egboka, calling on interested applicants to fill the position. In a press briefing on Monday, the chairman of Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU), NAU branch, Prof Ike Odimegwu protested the purported announcement of Prof Greg Nwakoby as the eventual winner of the race, saying that the election remains inconclusive. Odimegwu said that the protest of the union is hinged on the purported jettisoning of the Federal Ministry of Education template for the appointment of vice chancellors, rectors and provosts, which the governing council of the University had earlier accepted to use. He said that the earlier acceptance of the Template had given the union hope that the process would be fair, but the jettisoning of it by the shortlist committee, with the council chairman, Air Vice Marshal Larry Koinyan interfering and adjusting marks for the candidates was surprising. “Immediately the shortlist committee started work, the fair play promise died. The council chairman himself interrupted the proceedings of the committee severally, introducing extraneous issues and criteria, tele-guiding the committee, ordering marks and scores adjustment. “This generally rendered the shortlist report grossly compromised. We wrote the council chairman bidding them to keep the template they adopted, and even suggested that the process be video-taped to ensure transparency and restore confidence, but it is unfortunate that he has shown a penchant for not replying to letters or even acknowledging receipt.” Odimegwu lamented. Odimegwu said that his union gathered that two Senate members who are part of the committee rejected the template, with the chairman giving in to their demand to use other criteria, which he said were propelled by compromise. Though he did not state what action ASUU will take in the eventual refusal to rescind the decision to foist Prof Nwakoby on them, but insisted that, “we know what we will do when we get there”. Odimegwu insisted that the process was inconclusive, as the committee simply emerged from an all night interview of the candidates last Saturday with rumours of a VC having emerged, without presenting their report to the council as is supposed. He stated that the selection has been marred by patent corruption, just as the role of the chairman of the committee who is also the Chairman of council has not been honourable. He also called on the federal government to seriously consider the appointment of the Pro Chancellor, AVM Koinyan to the council of the university. Also, the management of the institution through the PRO, Dr Emma Ojukwu has also called on the public to disregard announcements that a VC has emerged for the university. A statement by Ojukwu stated that the process is inconclusive. Meanwhile, the governing council of the university has insistently sponsored radio and television advertorials, stating that Prof Greg Nwakoby has emerged as the new VC of the institution. A source however told out correspondent that lecturers in the institution under the aegis of ASUU would embark on an indefinite strike if the council did not reverse their position. Though Odimegwu refused to say what the union will do if the council refused to rescind its decision, the source said that plans are in the offing to ground activities in the university if they insisted.