Twenty five professors from Ebonyi State have reportedly submitted their applications for the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo’s Vice Chancellorship position.
Our correspondent gathered that out of the 85 professors who have applied for the job, 25 are from Ebonyi state while 60 other applicants are non Ebonyians.
Governing Council of the University through the office of the Registrar had advertised the post of the Vice Chancellor on August, 24, 2020 following the tenure expiration of the current VC, Chinedum Nwajiuba in February 2021.
Those who applied from Ebonyi as gathered include; Prof. Aja Akpuru Aja, Prof. Michael Onuh, Prof. Sunday Elom, Prof. Ibiam Francis Onyekachi, Prof. Fidelis O. Okpata, Engr. Prof. Ugwu, Prof. Chukwu Edogu, Prof. Eugene Nweke, Prof. Michael Otuma, Prof. Okereke Oyari, Prof. Amah G. A., Prof. Happiness Oselebe, Prof. Mrs. Justina Mgbada, Prof. Benedict Mbam, Prof. Obini Ekpe, Prof. Joseph Afiukwa, Prof. Emeka Nwakpu and Prof. Okoro Ogbonnaya.
Meanwhile, group, known as Network of Concerned Citizens for Education Stability in Nigeria, Ebonyi State Chapter, has expressed fears that Ebonyians who applied for the post were unjustly being screened out.
The group has been advocating for indigenous Vice Chancellor, on the premise that since the university became operational 11 years ago, that an Ebonyian has not been given the opportunity to become the Vice Chancellor.
Coordinator of the group, Dr. Ogbuagu Emeka Chima, called on the federal government and President Muhammadu Buhari as well as other critical stakeholders to ensure that the process of selecting the next Vice Chancellor of the institution is free from manipulative tendencies and antics shrouding its secrecy by the powers that be.
He said they will embark on peaceful demonstration to draw the attention of the federal government and other stakeholders to the anomalies that have allegedly marred the selection process.
He maintained that it would not be a crime to have Ebonyi Professor as the next Vice Chancellor of the University, and expressed confidence that if the process is allowed to be transparent, nothing would make all applicants from Ebonyi State lose out.
He said: “I wonder why out of the 25 Professors of Ebonyi State origin who applied for the Vice Chancellor’s post, we can’t find a qualified candidate after about 11 years of existence of the University in Ebonyi State.
“It is no longer hidden that those currently holding relevant positions in and outside the University have vowed to use their powers and connections to impose a non indigene on the University as Vice Chancellor.
“I can give 10 names of federal universities, including those established at the same time with AE-FUNAI that are currently being headed by indigenous Vice Chancellors.
“Universities like UNN Nsukka’s VC is from Enugu State, UNIZIK’s VC from Anambra State, UNICAL VC from Cross River State, UNIUYO VC from Akwa Ibom State, UNILAG VC from Lagos State, MOUA VC from Abia State, Federal University, Lokoja VC from Kogi State and many others that have gotten indigenous Vice Chancellors.
“Why will the case of AE-FUNAI become different, just because people want to manipulate the system to favour their own interest, but we vow to resist that attempt. If the process is transparent and an Ebonyi man didn’t make it, we will not complain, but by all indications, the process is not transparent”, he stated.
He called on all Ebonyians to rise up and condemn the activities of those who are bent on denying Ebonyi their rightful benefits as that would likely lead to serious mayhem in the area.
“This warning is very stern and Ebonyians cannot allow injustice and manipulations to continue to deny them sensitive benefits. We call on the President, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council and indeed all stakeholders to hear this and call those involved in maneuvering the system against Ebonyi people to desist from it, else, we will be forced to match to the streets in peaceful protest”, Dr. Ogbuagu added.
Meanwhile, the pioneer VC of AE-FUNAI was Professor Ibidapo Obe from the western region while Professor Chinedum Nwajiuba from Imo State, who is the current VC, came in as the second Vice Chancellor and is expected to handover to a new Vice Chancellor in February, 2021 when his 5-year tenure would have elapsed.