By: Isaac Ombe
The Governing Council of theMichael Okpara University of Agriculture ( MOUA) ,Umudike in Abia State, led by the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Council, Rt. Honourable Lawal Zayyana will meeting tomorrow, December 15,2020, to conclude the process of appointment of a new Vice Chancellor for the University, Verbatim magazine online can authoritatively reveal.
The meeting will have only one agenda, highly reliable sources told Verbatim Online : to complete the selection and announce new VC from the process which saw Professor Valentine Ekechukwu , former Director, Research and Innovation and later of ICT of NUC between 2007 and 2015 and current Dean, Faculty of Engineering , in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) win first position by scoring 88.93 points.
Ekechukwu was followed by Professor Maduebibisi Iwe,a Deputy Vice Chancellor from MOUA who scored 82.35 points. The DVC who hails from Isuochi in Abia State was followed by Professor Philipa Ojimelukwe, who came third with 69.67 points in a contest involving 30 applicants.
Media reports indicated that the process of new VC was suspended last week after a disruption by hired thugs.
The Sun newspaper which broke the news last week specifically reported that ‘’the thugs were allegedly paid certain sums of money at the University guest house by the head of a nearby tertiary institution to disrupt the Council meeting, claiming that only an Abia indigene would be acceptable to them as Vice Chancellor.’’
MOUA is a federal university and the position of VC was advertised and made open for qualified applicants irrespective of place or state of origin.
As the Council moves to conclude the assignment it started last week, worries have been expressed over the reported conduct of a member of the screening committee (name witheld) who was fingered in a despicable conduct of smuggling in a candidate that was not qualified ab initio to run for the vice chancellorship position because he did not meet up with the criteria listed in the advertisement which included not being mentioned in the Thompson Reuters Journals high impact rating.
Verbatim Online learnt that members of the university community who had for long witnessed multiple crisis in the university had discretly canvassed for a new person, with requisit experience to be appointed new VC, for the purpose of introducing fresh air into the system and transparency in administration .
“We need a neutral person who would come and clean up the mess. Even if it takes the new person six months or more to put things right, we will be happy. At least the many court cases lingering and stunting the development of the university would be cleaned up and fresh air would be brought to the institution”, a source was quoted as saying ,last week.
The DVC who came second is said to be a protégé of Professor Francis Otunta, outgoing VC,whose tenure saw the climax of crisis in the university,incluing multiple cases in Court and invesigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Comission, EFCC.
The challenge before the Governing Council as it meets tomorrow will clearly be, to do the needful by ignoring clanish and politically motivated overtures, including agitations by paid agents , not to ratify the appointment of Professor Ekechukwu, the candidate with best academic and managerial experience as determined by the result of the interview and screening exercises held last week.