The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said that some universities in Nigeria are engulfed in crises because their vice-chancellors (VCs) regard themselves as the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of their schools.
ASUU President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, stated this yesterday while delivering his goodwill message at the special commemorative programme organised by the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago Iwoye in Ogun State, Chapter of the union to honour the immediate past Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Ganiyu Olatunde, whose tenure ended two weeks ago.
Osodeke warned vice-chancellors of public universities in Nigeria to shun dressing in the apparel of CEOs of their respective institution when in reality, they are just the first among their equals in the academic community.Osodeke berated the situation whereby governors, must give approval before a university lecturer can be promoted, even despite the recommendation of the governing councils.
He also flayed a situation where some university vice-chancellors administer with military fiat.He said, “One thing we have got wrong is that in universities, we look at the VCs as Chief Executive Officers, which by the law, it is not true. A vice chancellor is just one among equals and it’s only when he sees himself as one that he will not have a problem with ASUU.
“A VC is not a CEO because there are different committees. All the actions and things are done after agreement and disagreement by members of the different committees. And when the VC disagrees, he goes back to committees. Unfortunately, what we currently have in Nigeria is that over 90 per cent of the problems we have in our universities today are caused by VCs, who look at themselves as CEOs and there is nowhere in the laws that permit a VC as CEO because everything he does can be challenged”.
However, Osodeke commended the outgoing VC of OOU, Professor Olatunde, for achieving a “most peaceful” administration during his tenure, stressing that the celebration accorded him by the OOU chapter of his union attested to that.
“Having assessed Professor Olatunde and found him worthy, the union was glad to associate with him to the extent that we have to suspend every other official engagement of the union to celebrate him. It is a pride for us to have a vice chancellor whom ASUU believed deserves to be honoured,” he said.He, therefore, advised Olatunde’s successor, Professor Deji Agboola, to emulate his predecessor’s approach to issues and style of administration.Earlier in his address, the Chairperson of ASUU, OOU chapter, Dr. Joel Okewale, hailed the immediate past vice chancellor for displaying the spirit of comradeship while his tenure lasted.
Okewale said that the spirit of comradeship and willingness of Olatunde to engage, as opposed to bossing over everyone, led to many fruitful discussions, acceptance and implementation of proposals in the interest of OOU.
“To us, Professor Ganiyu Olatunde, in his five and half years as the head of this university, demonstrated the spirit of comradeship as espoused in the principles of our union in his conduct and relationship with members of the university community in general and ASUU in particular.“As a vice-chancellor, one unique feature of Professor Olatunde’s administration was his willingness to engage people, no matter who they are, in fruitful discussions on issues that would bring development to this university.
“As a union, we took advantage of that opportunity and made several useful proposals which he accepted and implemented in the interest of this great University. For this we can boldly and openly say that we are proud of our relationship with Professor G.O Olatunde, a quintessential vice-chancellor,” Okewale said.
The guest lecturer and former Vice Chancellor, of the University of Lagos, Prof. Rahman Bello, speaking on ‘The Roles of Vice Chancellors in the Evolution of and Sustenance of a Viable University System,’ said a vice-chancellor should be an experienced academic, and researcher, who commands respect from peers and have administrative experience.Bello, who is the Pro-Chancellor of Ogun State-owned Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun, said the above attributes were necessary to help a vice chancellor galvanise both human and material resources to drive a university to deliver on its core mandate of teaching, research and service.