Uk’Omu Igala Organization, an umbrella body for all civil society and cultural associations in Kogi East senatorial district, has called for the cancellation of the ongoing process for the appointment of Vice-Chancellor for Federal University Lokoja (FUL) over alleged irregularities.
In a press statement signed by the national leader of Uk’Omu Igala Organization, Comptroller Abdul Amade (rtd), the socio-cultural organisation said it was appalled that the Senator Chris Adighije-led screening committee disqualified all applicants of Igala extraction for the position of Vice-Chancellor.
The group called on the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to call the Chairman of the governing council of Federal University Lokoja to order, so as to prevent break down of law and order in the institution in the short run and to avoid continued stagnation of the University, in the long run.
They also tasked the Minister to ensure that the process is carried out afresh in a transparent manner where all candidates who meet the requirement are considered.
The group alleged that despite meeting the requirement, the Chris Adighije-led screening committee disqualified all the 20 applicants of Igala extraction. They stated most of the applicants that made it to the FUL Council’s shortlist for VC are simply “local champions.”
The statement read in part:
“Report has it that about 80 persons applied for the position out of which 20 distinguished and experienced professors of Igala extraction specifically from Kogi East (one of the three senatorial district of Kogi State) applied.
“To the best of our knowledge, these scholars of Igala extraction met the criteria published as qualifications for application for the position. However, to our greatest surprise, none of them was shortlisted for consideration, making the process suspicious and clandestine.
“A Google scholar search revealed that whereas, at least, five of the Igala Professors had between 35 and 165 Google Scholar –accessible Publications on the internet, six (6) (or 50%) of the twelve top shortlist for position of VC by FUL council have GoogleScholar –accessible Publications of only between 2 and 20. Other indices academic impact like googlescholar citations and h-index are even more revealing.
“While, at least one of the disqualified Igala Professors is a Fellow of the merit-based apex umbrella scientific organization, the Nigerian Academy of Science, none of those on the shortlist appears to have earned such scholarly status (Fellow of Nigerian Academy of Science or Fellow of Nigerian Academy of Letters.)
“As if these anomalies were not enough, the Council of Federal
University Lokoja involved itself in some illegal maneuvers in order to achieve its hidden agenda to plant a non-viable and sub-standard
University administration at Federal University, Lokoja.
“These include, appointing a ‘Shortlisting Committee’ to undertake a generally discredited shortlisting process that is antithetical to academic traditions and inimical to dream of any institution of higher learning to march towards world-class status by using criteria that are not the most essential academic criteria in appointing a Vice Chancellor that has robust capacity to take FUL to the next level is not acceptable.
“This is because, there is no provision for such a committee under the University Laws. What is provided for, is ‘Selection Committee’ that will undertake both shortlisting and Interview of the candidates.
“Instead of discharging its duties within the premises of Federal University Lokoja under the full glare of the administrative and security structures of the University, the ‘Shortlisting Committee’ met twice in Abuja in a very suspicious move (first for about a week ), in order to perform its ‘duties’ when there is no imminent breach to security in FUL premises, or indeed, Lokoja town.
“From the foregoing, we make bold to submit that we have no confidence on the committee which carried out this assignment of shortlisting.
“We have no confidence on the skewed process and strongly reject the entire compromised exercise where merit was sacrificed for selfish and parochial consideration.”