Posted by News Express | 3 January 2021 | 320 times
Civil rights and pro-transparency group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has appealed to the Visitor to the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) Imo State, President Muhammadu Buhari, not to exclude Professors from the Okigwe Senatorial Zone of the State in the choice of who occupies the soon-to-be vacant position of the Vice Chancellor.
Raising an alarm of clandestine plots by some “reactionary forces” to foreclose the inclusion of professors from the Senatorial Zone for the position, the rights group said it would amount to inequity and a wanton disregard of the principles of human rights should any extraneous requirement or political consideration be introduced other than the observation of merits, competence and administrative acumen from prospective aspirants wishing to be picked as the next Vice Chancellor of the University.
The rights group reminded President Buhari that all the previous holders of that position are either from Owerri or Orlu Senatorial Zones even when there are a vast array of distinguished academics and administrators from the “politically marginalized” Okigwe Senatorial Zone who are fit, proper, administratively and professionally competent to be appointed.
“Mr. President as a man who believes in equity and transparency should ensure that amongst the requirements for position of VC of FUTO, he should know that globally, there are no universal agreements on the political fixation of any sort of emphasis on the non-existent requirement of 10 years and above from the date of appointment as Professor. While it is an established academic tradition that whoever is to be considered as the vice-chancellor must be a professor, the details of years of experience as one and other prerequisite are drawn by the governing council, taking into cognisance the peculiarity of the university.
“It is for that reason that the years of experience as a professor for appointment of vice-chancellor vary from university to university. Thus, in the University of Calabar, it has ranged from five to seven with the then vice-chancellor being seven years as professor as of the time of his appointment in 2010.
“What should be emphasized are management capacity and capability among others, with 70 percent for objective criteria and 30% for subjective criteria. What if you have spent 20 years with no significant contributions to the society?”
HURIWA said with the challenges facing our universities, the template for the appointment of a Vice Chancellor should include:
(1) Educational Qualifications and Awards
(2) Career Progression
(a) University Administration, HOD, Deanship at the undergraduate and Post graduate levels and Student Affairs
(b) Private Sector: interaction/interface with the private sector and corporate establishment
(c) Public Sector: Minister, Commissioner, Membership of Boards and Commissions
(d) Public Practice
(e) Private Practice
4. Corporate Social Responsibility/Community Services.
5. Character/Conduct and public standing and community acceptance."
The rights group said: “Professors Ama Nduka, Obah and Jude Njoku were all less than 10years as professors before they became VCs, adding that on record that they contributed immensely to the development of FUTO to what it is today.
“There’s no evidence that those who were 10 years and above as professors have out-performed those with less than 10 years experience.
“The purposes of university establishment includes the advancement of education and learning and development of knowledge economy.
“These can only materialize when based on interactions/participation, observations/research.
“University Administration is evidently multitasking and requires multitalented person with appropriate skills and competences plus cognate experiences.”
HURIWA, in a statement release by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director urged the Federal government to search for a resilient Vice Chancellor for FUTO to lead the academic institution.
It noted that the tenure of the current Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof Francis Chukwuemeka Eze, has almost elapsed.
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