By Oluwakemi Ishola
A socio-political pressure group in Ibadan, ‘Ibadan Pillars’ on Wednesday advanced reasons why the next Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan should come from the city, for the first time in 72 years of the institution’s existence.
The Ibadan Pillars in a strongly worded two-page press statement, copies of which were made available to newsmen in Ibadan, said the appointment of the would-be VC should be based on merit as the city has prominent academics within the system, who are aspirants and “ready to slug it out with others on merit; integrity test and towering academic and unblemished records of service to the institution.”
The statement by the president of the group, Asiwaju Nurudeen Akinade regretted that for over seven decades of the existence of UI, no Ibadan man was saddled with the privilege to administering the institution despite avalanche of great Ibadan professors that are abound in the institution.
According to him, since 1948 till date, 17 Vice Chancellors had administered the institution with none being an Ibadan man despite the city’s contributions to the enviable status of the university in Nigeria and beyond.
He said, “at present, Ibadanland is made up of five Local Government area within the municipality of the capital city and six Sub Urban/Rural Local Government as well as 14 additional Local Council Development Area (LCDA).
“Ibadan as the host community of the University was and still accommodative and peaceful. There has never been report of any form of scuffles and crisis between Ibadanland as the host community and UI since its establishment over seven decades ago.
“The University of Ibadan was established as a college of the University of London in 1948 and enjoyed a very large and expansive land given by the then, Kabiyesi Olubadan, the Chiefs, and the People of the City.
In one of the Kenneth Mellanby books titled University College Ibadan, ‘The Site and its acquisition (1954);’ stated thus: “subsequently, the chief and the people of Ibadan generously granted more than 2,550 acres of land for the site of the new University College.
“Farmers on the land thus acquired received equivalent N53,600 each farmers has less than N200 (equivalent).
“The Olubadan and the chief in return were allowed a nominal rent equivalent of N2,000 a year for leasing UCI site for 999years”.
He said further, “with all these sacrifices, it is disturbing, highly illogical, that an Ibadan Indigene has not been allowed to be the Vice Chancellor (VC) of the University.
“Although, VC position is not supposed to be appointed for nativity sake, but some people have long played decision makers on Ibadan soil to hate anything Ibadan.
“UI has produced 17 Vice Chancellors, none has ever come from the host city (Ibadan Land).
“Having studied the situation critically, our organization which comprises several prominent and patriotic sons and daughters of the soil both at home and diaspora and the greater percentage of good people of Ibadan Land have decided not to accept any non-Ibadan Indigene as the Vice Chancellor.
“This however, will be without sacrificing merit. Currently, there are four competent, respected, highly reserved and renowned academics who have applied for this exalted position.
“They are; Professor (Mogaji) Remi Raji Oyelade (Former Dean, Faculty of Arts); Professor Kayode Adebowale (Current DVC, Admin); Professor Emiola Olapade-Olaopa (College of Medicine) and Professor Kolapo Hamzat (Neurological Physiotherapy Department).
“We believe sincerely that any of these scholars is good enough to be the Vice chancellor of UI, as emergence of any other candidate apart from any of these four will not be acceptable to the host city.
“There is no first generation University in Nigeria that has not produced an indigenous VC of host community origin, this continuous denial is not only insultive and absurd, it is also an act of insensitivity and ingrate on the part of the Federal government and University Community.
“We appeal to the University Visitor, President Muhammad Buhari, GCFR who has done so many positive things for Yorubaland such as a well commended post humours honour for the winner of June 12 election and the late Bashorun of Ibadanland, Chief MKO Abiola, GCFR, a massive new rail system, a dry port at Erumu and recently approved dualisation of foko/gege road among others to please wipe-off our tears of 72years by giving Ibadanland the new Vice Chancellor.
“We equally appeal to the University Council, Senate, Management, Unions and other sectors and units of the University Community that they should please support this lofty request as a non-indigenous VC will neither be accepted nor supported by the generality of the Ibadanland,” Asiwaju added.