Bolanle Awe decries crises trailing appointment of VCs
• Urges ASUU to speak with one voice
• Laments alleged proscription of unions
A former Pro-Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and renowned professor of History, Bolanle Awe, has decried crises trailing the appointment of vice chancellors in some Nigerian universities.
She lamented that appointment of VCs nowadays is not based on track record as it was done in the past.
Awe, who spoke with The Guardian in Ibadan, Oyo State, said: “I think it is unfortunate that we are having problems with university education and the appointment of vice chancellors. It was not so much like that in the past. It was a question of regard and respect and the achievements that the person has had. It was not a question of whom you know or do not know. It was a question of what you have been able to achieve. That was the order of the day in the past.
“I do not know what has happened that people are struggling to become vice chancellors. It looks as if law and order are no longer there. It looks like the respect is no longer there. People struggle to gain this high position not necessarily because of what they have achieved, but because they also want to be there to be able to call the shot and so on.
She added: “Some people will go around looking for people to support them, and promising heaven and earth when they become the vice chancellor, but that is not the idea.
“Appointing a VC is not necessarily the responsibility of the people in the university alone. The people who are in charge of university system, the ministers and so on also have a say. They also have a responsibility to see that there is law and order and ensure they themselves appoint responsible people.
“I think the VC is a potential person who could be an asset. He has to be an asset in the university. He ought to be somebody that will be respected by all within the university, not only because he has got to the top, but also because he is honest, truthful and he is able to speak out when he needs to speak out. He is not looking for anything. He must not be partial.”
Besides, the former pro-chancellor lamented the proscription of unions, including the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at the Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti.
She said: “I think it is unfortunate that ASUU should be proscribed because my own belief is that ASUU is the spokesperson for academics. They should be the ones who should be regarded as the spokesman and be respected for that purpose. There should be one ASUU. It is unfortunate if ASUU itself has a problem of being divided into three or four or being proscribed.
“I will suggest to ASUU to come together and fight for its members. You know things have changed. When we were there, ASUU members would decide whom they wanted as president, and that would be final. Then, once you become president, you have a responsibility because you are now the spokesperson and you speak with one voice, and the powers that be will respect you and listen to you regularly.”
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