Arakunrin and the making of the new AAUA’s Vice Chancellorship.
Preamble ———————————– On the 22nd of July 2021 the Akoko Academic Stakeholders Forum held an emergency meeting at Oyin-Akoko on the recently concluded AAUA’s Vice-Chancellorship selection process. After much deliberation, the meeting:
1. RESOLVED to register its displeasure, pain and disappointment that an illustrious and internationally acclaimed Professor of Akoko origin who emerged from the selection exercise on merit was denied the opportunity of serving as the Vice-Chancellor of AAUA.
2. NOTED that in AAUA’s 21 years of existence in Akungba-Akoko, nobody from Akokoland and indeed, the entire Ondo North Senatorial district has ever emerged as Vice-Chancellor. So far, of the six substantive Vice-Chancellors that were appointed since 1999, Ondo Central and Ondo South have produced three VCs each.
3. OBSERVED that while the first five substantive Vice Chancellors emerged through a transparent selection exercise strictly based on merit because they came first in the respective selection interviews, the same cannot be said of the last selection exercise. As far as the appointment of the 6th Vice Chancellor was concerned, the Visitor in his wisdom decided to jettison merit and academic excellence by privileging academic mediocrity; an unfortunate development primarily driven by alleged pecuniary considerations as well as a continuation of existing contractual obligations.
In fact, the rumour making the rounds is that the arrowhead of this descent into academic infamy is one Professor Oluwole Akeredolu, who happens to be the junior brother of the Visitor. Having failed in his attempt to become the Vice Chancellor because of his palpable and fundamental weaknesses as a scholar of repute, he took advantage of his strategic ‘positioning’ as an external member of Council and a member of the Selection Panel to protect the business interests of the first family in AAUA and he successfully delivered on this mandate.
4. WAS appalled at the unbridled politicization of the last appointment to the extent that the AAUA alumni community, students’ body, top politicians in Akure and Abuja, staff unions, local contractors and the traditional elite were all mobilized to ensure the erosion of the core academic values of the university system. It was widely rumoured that several millions of naira donated by some contractors, politicians and other people with vested selfish interests exchanged hands. The widespread belief is that the VCship position was simply sold to the highest bidder. 5. TOOK cognizance of the fact that one of the most important qualities that a Vice-Chancellor must possess is a proven track record of academic excellence such as to be able to command the respect of his or her academic colleagues and the entire university community. This is what can confer on any Vice-Chancellor the moral authority and legitimacy to effectively govern. Thus, the present VC is coming into office with a moral burden and it is expected that sooner or later he will surely face the crisis of moral legitimacy because he has been given a position reserved for the best applicant whereas he only emerged as the second best. It is yet to be seen how he will be able to meander and successfully scale this hurdle in the next five years. The whole essence of the university system is to extol and reward academic excellence. The unfortunate precedence set in AAUA for both students and staff is that you do not have to be the best to occupy sensitive and strategic positions in the university system or the outside world.
6. APPLAUDED the Visitor for appointing a thoroughbred, first class and world renowned scholar, irrespective of his state of origin, as the VC of UNlMED but WONDERED why an academic whose CV is more distinguished by political appointments and hobnobbing with Alagbaka rather than academic laurels and scholastic distinctions is the preferred choice for AAUA.
6. BELIEVED that the treatment meted to the entire people of Akokoland is most humiliating to say the least. Politically speaking, it is the height of Akoko’s unbridled marginalization in the scheme of things in Ondo State. An arrogant display of ingratitude for the support that Akokoland has consistently offered the incumbent administration in Ondo State. For instance, whereas, Arakunrin won all the four Akoko local governments in his 3 consecutive governorship elections, he has always lost to the opposition in Iju-Itaogbolu, the local government of his preferred Vice- Chancellor who was desperately manipulated into second position in the just concluded interview. Privileged information has it that he actually and originally came fourth. Indeed, it is ironical that Arakunrin lost in the unit, ward and local government of the appointed Vice Chancellor but won in the unit, ward and local government of the person that came first in the selection exercise.
7. SUBMITTED that in the absence of a damning security report or a proven fundamentally flawed process, it is unheard of that a second or third best will be appointed to such an exalted position in a higher institution of learning at the expense of the candidate that emerged in a merit driven selection process.
8. CALLED on Dr Tunji Abayomi, an Akoko son and the Chairman of the Governing Council to resign his appointment immediately in protest against this grave injustice done to Akokoland. Failure to resign will only confirm the rumour making the rounds that he has been heavily compromised with the meagre crumbs that he gets from the quagmire of corruption that is reigning supreme between the powers that be in AAUA and Alagbaka. A corruption ring that is best exemplified by the activities of AAUA’s diesel cartel and contract awards mafia.
FINAL RESOLUTION: After a careful consideration of these afore-mentioned factors, the meeting totally condemned the recent action of the Visitor and in order to arrest the ongoing and festering marginalization of Akokoland in the governance structure of Ondo State, it unanimously resolved to convene a larger stakeholders’ meeting of concerned Akoko intelligentsia, youth organisations as well as Akoko’s political and traditional elite to further sensitize, mobilize and chart the way forward. Akokoland needs to wake up from its self destructive lethargy and its penchant for suffering in silence.
The stakeholders’ meeting is expected to hold within the next one month. Meanwhile and most significantly, the meeting congratulates the Visitor on his recent victory at the Supreme Court and wondered how Mr. Governor, who came first in the last gubernatorial election, would have felt if the supreme Court had given victory to his rival, Eyitayo Jegede who came second in the electoral contest. There is no doubt that fairness, objectivity, merit and justice are the hallmarks of responsible governance. Meaningful and lasting progress can never be made in any human society, institution or organisation that refuses to uphold these core values.