UNIZIK VCship tussle: Presidency accused of influencing process – Youths vow to force a change through protest – Institution’s management sticks to gun

The last has not been heard of the race for the Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, as a new twist has suggested that a top shot from the presidency had at the last minute summoned the Chairman of the governing council of the university, Air Vice Marshal Larry Koinyan to the villa, where the result of the selection process was upturned to favour Prof Joe Ahaneku as the winner. An aggrieved candidate, Prof Greg Nwakoby who was earlier announced as the winner of the Vice Chancellorship position by radio and television announcement while briefing the press last Tuesday in Awka stated that he had beat all the eight candidate shortlisted for the race, and wondered why he was removed. Nwakoby who is deputy Vice Chancellor Administration and a Professor of law in the University said that he is very qualified for the position of the Vice Chancellor of the institution, and that he was not surprised that out of the 34 persons that indicated interest for the job, he was among the nine shortlisted for the position. He spoke further that the whole process has ab initio has been teleguided by an unseen hand, leading to his loss of trust in both the shortlist committee and the governing council. He stated that the selection process took two parts, the first being the screening of certificates, publications and academic qualifications, while the second was interviews, and that he was sure he performed creditably in all the sections; the reason he came tops on the list. An executive summary sheet for result generated from the exercise which was handed to our reporter by Nwakoby, stated that he garnered a total vote of 89.65 percent to come tops, and was followed closely by Prof Ahaneku with 80.65 percent. According to Nwakoby, he had obtained the result from the chairman of the council, Koinyan, who also congratulated him after the interview session, but quickly added that he should know that victory comes with a cost and price, a statement he said he never understood until later. After the interview which ended at about 5am on 24th May, Nwakoby said they were told the council was going to meet to announce the result officially, but they waited for several hours but the meeting was called off by the chairman of the council who emerged and announced that he has been summoned by a presidency top official. “I followed him, asking what the problem was, he told me he has been summoned in Abuja, but that I should be rest assured that I had won the race. He handed me a copy of the result sheet and congratulated me. He also added to me that I should also know that victory comes with a cost and price, but I did not understand what he meant.” Nwakoby told journalists. He added further that on Monday, the chairman of the shortlist committee, Bala Buhari called him to tell him that other candidates who he beat were already coming to them with cash, and that they would remove his name if he refused t come and see them. “They demanded for me to raise N30million each for the chairman and another member, Senator Fidelis Okoro. I told them I didn’t have such money, and that was sure I won. Later we heard that there was going to be voting again, even though there was no tie, and they told me they were going to vote against me if I did not come to see them. “John Nwodo is supposed to be a member of the governing council, but he has not been coming to meetings, so it was in Abuja that they appointed Ben Ndu as a replacement for John Nwodo, for the sole purpose of voting against me. So my question is, if they want to go by voting, why subject us to the selection process?” He asked. Nwakoby queried what was special about Nnamdi Azikiwe University that the presidency should show open interest in installing the Vice Chancellor? He added that other federal universities have had their appointment of Vice Chancellors peacefully, and that of Nnamdi Azikiwe University should not be marred by pecuniary interest. He said he has served the university since 1995, and has held several positions in the institution, and is also a lawyer and professor of law, so he was no push over, and will not let the decision to install Ahaneku to prevail. “I am asking the President to dissolve this governing council because they have enmeshed themselves in corruption. I will fight this injustice through legal means and ensure that this does not stand. Reacting also, the acting chairman of the National Youth Council of Nigeria(NYCN), Chibuzor Ekwenye in a press briefing also called on the governing council to rescind its decision to foist Prof Ahaneku on the institution, saying that failure to do so will mean attracting the wrath of the youths. “We are interested parties in the race, when a matter concerns about 5million youths, the National Youth Council should be interested because the fate of that number of youths is going to be in the hand of the Vice Chancellor. “We are giving them 24 hours to reverse that decision and announce Prof Nwakoby who won the election through the approved selection process. Failure to do so, we will take to the street; call it protest, call it demonstration, call it riot if you wish, but that is what we will do. Meanwhile, the management of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University through its Public Relations Officer, Dr Emma Ojukwu has called their bluff, and has gone ahead to announce that the institution has appointed a new VC. A statement released by Ojukwu reads, “After an exhaustive process, the Governing Council of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka headed by Air Vice Marshal Larry Koinyan (Rtd) has appointed a Professor of Chemical Pathology and Fellow, Academy of Science, Joseph Eberendu Ahaneku as the fifth Vice Chancellor of the University. “Professor Ahaneku takes over from Prof. Boniface C. E. Egboka who will vacate office on June 3, 2014. Until his appointment Prof. Ahaneku had served under Prof. Egboka’s administration as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) for four years. In a letter signed by the Chairman and Pro-Chancellor AVM Larry Koinyan (Rtd) on behalf of the Governing Council, Prof. Ahaneku will serve for 5years. A native of Mbaise in Imo State, Professor Ahaneku has served the University for 24 years in different capacities culminating in this most recent appointment.”

By Ifeizu Joe

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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