When ethnicity takes centrestage in appointment of varsity CEOs


The phrase, “It’s the flip of our personal son/daughter to be appointed as vice chancellor,” is holding sway in most Nigerian universities and the instant previous minister of training, Adamu Adamu as soon as faulted the event, questioning why ethnicity, faith or state of origin ought to take precedence over tutorial excellence. This development, stakeholders warned must be discontinued, writes UJUNWA ATUEYI.

On the not too long ago concluded screening train for ministerial nominees, Adamu Adamu had talked passionately concerning the lopsidedness within the present strategy of appointing vice chancellors within the nation’s ivory tower, elevating issues of ethnicity and state of origin, which total defeats the entire thought of federalism.

Over time, appointment of varsity administrator has been based mostly on political and ethnic causes, slightly than credibility and competence. And most occasions, the council and events concerned ended up sacrificing advantage and selling mediocrity by means of their type of choice.

The institution of state universities additional worsened the already dangerous state of affairs as state chief executives who’re guests to such establishments usually occasions decide indigenes to move the establishments.

The act later escalated to federal universities, as the identical governors began pressuring the Federal Authorities, rooting for indigenes from the place the college is positioned to be appointed as vice chancellor.

Adamu who not too long ago recognized this development as a giant downside confronting the sector, said: “The appointment of VCs had taken an ethnic dimension in Nigeria. It not lies with the college or within the fingers of the ministry. I do know what it means as a result of I’ve all the time been below stress from the individuals of the affected states who says appointment of VCs should be any person from their space.

“Initially, the schools would choose, carry the title to the minister who in flip takes it to the president, however now, it’s not so.”

Reacting to Adamu’s outcry, former Vice Chancellor of Joseph Ayo Babalola College (JABU), Prof. Sola Fajana, described the event as worrisome. Fajana famous that universities by their evolution, philosophy, essence and character, are common establishments established to offer options to issues that confront humanity, thus, it issues little or no whether or not or not the vice chancellor is a son of the soil inside the similar locality.

He defined {that a} VC who’s a serious participant on the governance degree of a college, moreover different vital success elements, should be comfy with variety administration; competent within the three predominant deliverables of analysis, instructing and neighborhood service for his or her college; and be guided by values of fairness, equity, justice, humanism, credibility and integrity.

He stated in developed climes, chief executives are appointed, not even solely for his or her tutorial laurels, however along with their capability for managing native and international college students and employees since universities are world establishments; capability for attracting funds, constructing a singular model, and giving the college an identification.

In consequence, the professor of labour and human useful resource administration stated that a number of individuals from creating nations obtained appointed as chief executives of universities overseas, together with Nigerians who’ve secured high governance appointments in universities in southern and japanese Africa, Ghana, Liberia, the USA and continental Europe, as advantage is the principle driving drive.

He recalled that previously, “the primary VC of the College of Lagos (UNILAG) was Prof. Eni Njoku (1962-65). He was not a Yoruba man. We had Prof B. Kwaku Adadevoh (1978-80), one other non-Yoruba. From 1981 thus far, all VCs in UNILAG have been from Yoruba land. The same sample might be seen in most federal and state universities nationwide.

“A believable clarification for this rising development is the rising political consciousness amongst Nigerians, the concern that the nationwide wealth wouldn’t be equitably distributed and due to this fact the necessity to affect political selections with inexplicable desperation in any respect ranges.

A college is predicted to be an ivory tower shielded from ethnic and parochial pursuits usually infected in nationwide politics. Ivory towers are anticipated to be a mannequin society that promotes freedom of ideas, speech, views and views.

He continued: “Prof. Imevbore, Professional-Chancellor, JABU, calls a college, a licensed madhouse as a result of college Senate is an assemblage of a number of eggheads, smart elders with numerous views. It can be crucial, due to this fact, that the chief govt superintending over numerous and profitably mad individuals must be above board, and on high of educational excellence. This was the expectation prior to now.

“Subsequently, the clamour for insisting on indigene, as a qualification for the appointment of a vice chancellor is sadly an additional improvement to the will of most communities to have a tertiary establishment positioned inside their cities or cities.”

On this time and age, when situation of high quality and credibility is at stake, Fajana suggested that this undesirable development must be discontinued.

On the implications, he stated: “The politics of succession of vice chancellorship in most of our establishments is tearing down the system in any respect ranges of governance. Ethnically acutely aware heads of departments and deans are hailed by their ethnic brothers; whereas detribalised heads, deans and administrators are condemned by their brothers. Results would quickly be seen within the patterns of nepotistic appointments as future helps for some VC candidates take a strategic very long time to construct.

“As we pursue appointments that fill the place up with our personal individuals, advantage is sacrificed and mediocrity is unwittingly promoted. A number of the problems with high quality that will have manifested in some establishments are traceable to nepotistic hiring and ethnic balancing in our appointment to each tutorial and non-academic positions. Appointments into management positions from dean upwards are based mostly on elections through which the winner takes all. On this politicisation ethos, workplace battles develop into intense, with intrigues, schisms, mischiefs, entice setting, deaths, character and life assassinations, and kindred misfortunes in an educational atmosphere.”

He continued: “This development, other than the politicisation of the psyche of teachers, and the resultant poor particular person and system efficiency, might also give rise to different destructive penalties. Nigeria must vigorously pursue nationwide unity at a time like this when our continued staying collectively is externally threatened.

“If an Ibo professor can not develop into a VC in Hausa land, then we have now missed the answer to our nationwide unity calculation. If a Hausa professor is just not welcomed as VC in Yoruba land, then we’re solely additional divided with grave future penalties. Once we had the orientation programme throughout our nationwide youth service in 1982, we had been assured that marriage, appointments, careers and even political success will develop into assured inter-state to all Nigerians regardless of the place of our major project and eventual residence post-NYSC. Are we nonetheless pursuing this dream?” Fajana queried.

To finish this undesirable development, the previous college administrator instructed that host communities must be made to simply accept with openness, VCs validly appointed by Senate, Council and the customer; and avail such ‘foreigners’ conducive atmosphere requisite for mutual respect and mutual realisation of college and neighborhood objectives.

Additionally, the training authorities, he added, should come out with categorical statements condemning this development.

“It’s borne out of egocentric political motives of formidable tutorial leaders hiding below the wings of host neighborhood objections. No Nigerian college regulation or statute promotes this therapy. The NUC may also embody variety inclusion indices, topic to advantage, inside the devices for institutional accreditation and take into account this in its rating system for our universities.

“There are authorized and psychological contracts between universities and their host communities. Chief executives who’re lucky to have been appointed particularly from the opposite tribe ought to do due diligence to make sure the sanctity of contracts, particularly the psychological contracts.  Private values, types, preferences and idiosyncrasies are generally the irritations ‘international’ VCs trigger to host communities. VCs ought to due to this fact promote human relations with the host neighborhood leaders and other people.”

Echoing Fajana’s view, former Vice Chancellor of the College of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof. Tolu Odugbemi, stated within the 60s and 70s, very competent individuals had been appointed as VCs by the federal government, however regularly the processes began to be “politicised,” to the detriment of the establishments.

He stated since a VC is an educational and administrative head in a college system, whose place carries nice accountability to mission the imaginative and prescient, mission and core values of the college, there should be proof that the VC is extremely certified in his or her area of educational endeavour with demonstrative analysis output of worldwide commonplace.

Not solely that, she or he, Odugbemi added should work as a crew chief displaying ardour for instructing, attracting excellent students, employees and college students; she or he should be ready to draw funds for instructing, analysis, and innovation that can positively impression on the society, to allow the college excel. “Thus, a VC must be a world determine not seen as a neighborhood champion.”

He stated: “It’s unhappy however true to notice the feedback by the previous minister of training on the truth that appointment of vice chancellors in Nigerian varsities are sometimes based mostly on ‘ethnicity and zoning’ and the truth that individuals from affected states the place universities are positioned usually put stress on the minister that vice chancellors must be from their communities.

“This matter is only a reflection on the ‘damaged’ whole academic and social techniques in Nigeria over the previous a long time. The college training in Nigeria simply reveals the mirror of corrupt and dysfunctional state of the society. No particular person chief can resolve the multi-headed challenges in our academic system and political-social crises in Nigeria; there’s a want for teamwork and big reorientation of all individuals as to the significance of advantage and exhausting work.

“It’s a recognized reality that the majority communities in Nigeria, if not all, consider (wrongly) that solely indigenes of their very own communities can serve them greatest. Expertise through the years show that this isn’t right in that we see proof of decay and deterioration of academic establishments and social order below indigenes not appointed based mostly on pure advantage.”

He due to this fact, suggested that appointments to key tutorial and administrative positions should be based mostly completely on advantage, with out bias or discrimination based mostly on gender, creed, social standing, non secular affiliations and hometown or nationality, saying college by definition must be world in context.

Suggesting the best way ahead, he stated: “The present development by which the college communities, congregation, Senate and Council take part in appointment of vice chancellors is alright however wants reforms. Every college council will need to have members who’re competent and skilled individuals with integrity.

The concept of ‘search committee,’ to get potential candidates exterior those that might apply for vice chancellorship positions is sweet, nevertheless the committee is predicted to maneuver exterior the college to get good candidates, however this isn’t usually the case or apply. All of us ought to be taught to do issues proper. Any good coverage has the tendency for it to be abused or manipulated to serve some ‘curiosity teams’. This manipulation destroys high quality and credibility,” Odugbemi said.

Sustaining that competence regardless of state of origin, ought to always supercedes each different curiosity, he warned: “one wants to notice that non- indigenes appointed into key positions in some universities with out consideration of competence and expertise, create such dangerous emotions among the many communities assuming “their very own individuals,” would have served them higher.”

Source: https://guardian.ng/options/when-ethnicity-takes-centrestage-in-appointment-of-varsity-ceos/

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