The year 2020 will always be remembered by the students and other stakeholders of the Nigerian oldest University, University of Ibadan. It is the year that brought unexpected happenings to the University Community. The happenings affected academic and administrative progress. The stakeholders could not believe it that a virus would emerge and disrupt academic activities on the campus. They were surprised that the first and the best would find it difficult to lead other institutions in terms of virtual teaching during the challenging time.
In our experience, the disruptive element which the COVID-19 constituted to the University’s ability and capability to manage people and processes towards value creation and delivery for every stakeholder seems not to be a significant one to the pride of the University. The institution’s failure to maintain its tradition of appointing a new Vice-Chancellor before the end of the incumbent tenure and emergence of an acting Vice-Chancellor remain stains that need to be removed as soon as possible and prevent their future occurrence.
During the year, counter and alternative narratives trailed the appointment of a new VC, who is expected to take over the leadership of the University from former VC, Professor Idowu Abel Olayinka. From the internal to the external issues, University of Ibadan Selection Community failed to present at least three best candidates to the Visitor [President Federal Republic of Nigeria].
One of the strategies to douse tension during the selection process was a directive given by the Federal Ministry of Education that the Governing Council should re-start the appointment process afresh. This happened a few days to the end of former VC tenure. Thus, it was difficult to present an expected number of candidates to the Visitor within the period. Hence, the acting Vice Chancellor was appointed for a 6-month period.
On April 8, 2021, former Chairman of the All Progressive Congress, Chief Odigie Oyegun was appointed as a new Chairman of the Governing Council while Masud Kazaure, Abba Yaro, Abubakar Maikafi and Emeka Nwagbo are members. The new governing council will be inaugurated on April 19. Our analyst notes that the burden of appointing a new VC now rests with the Chairman and members, including stakeholders directly responsible for working with the Council.
Our analyst had earlier reported that getting an appointment of VC right at the University means the Institution is ready to set a good example for others, which it birthed some years ago. According to our analyst, UI also needs a strong strategic leadership as the Institution continues fulfilling its vision and mission in a challenging world.
Like ethnicity and race, which were brought into the selection earlier, some members of the public have expressed concerns over the structure of the new council, which according to them favour northerners than southerners. It would be recalled that a prominent Nigerian Professor, who resides in the United States of America, had warned against favouritism and nepotism.