As part of an inclusive process for the selection of a new Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, the Senate of the University held a strategic meeting today to resolve the lingering crisis around the election of the representatives of the Senate. Two Professors of the University had earlier petitioned the Senate, stated that the election of Senate Representatives was fraught with irregularities.
According to information available to our analyst, the meeting was convened at the instance of the University of Ibadan Pro Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council, Nde Joshua Mutka Waklek who directed Senate to examine the petitions filed by two Professors who had lost out in the election of members to the Senate-Council Joint VC Selection Committee.
The two aggrieved professors, Professor Ademola Dasylva (Department of English) and Professor A. Fasanmade (Department of Physiology) had challenged the process and outcomes of the election. In their petitions, they had accused the Technical Committee on e-Voting of bias, and manipulation of the process. In his second petition, Professor Dasylva as well accused the Vice Chancellor of being biased in favour of a contestant.
Four Professors (Francis Offor, Deji Omole, Abiodun Ayodele and Ayodeji Ogunjuyigbe and a Deputy Registrar (Mrs Morenike Afolabi) who were implicated in the petitions had responded to the allegations showing proofs of their innocence, and defended the integrity of the election.
The Senate meeting debated all the allegations raised in the two petitions one after the other, as well as the responses presented by the defendants.
Speaking at the end of the meeting, Professor Oyebamiji Babalola of the Department of Chemistry noted that “It was a well-attended physical, Covid-19-compliant Senate meeting. It was a very peaceful, transparent and well-conducted meeting that showed the ingenuity of UI Senate members”.
Also commenting on the meeting, Professor Wole Olatokun of the African Regional Centre for Information Science, said it was “well-coordinated in an unbiased and transparent manner. Members were given opportunity to freely express their minds on all the issues about the election petitions brought before Senate. All the proceedings were transparently and dispassionately handled from start to finish”.
Although members refused to divulge the outcome of the meeting, they noted that it was not just well-attended, it was characterised by civility and frankness.
“After every suggestion or motion, the Vice Chancellor insisted on having a dissenting opinion. He took his time. And it was after all shades of opinion had been exhausted and resolved that he moved on to another point” said Prof Ayo Ojebode, who was also at the meeting.
Members however refused to divulge the key decisions taken at the meeting in response to the pleas of the petitioners and the rejoinders.
According to Professor Adebola Ekanola, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), while the University Management appreciates the importance of timely release of information to the press and to the public, it would be procedurally wrong to announce to the public or the press the decisions taken at the meeting. He said, “the University Council asked us to meet over the petitions; it is to the Council that we should report the decisions we have taken, not to the press for now.”
Another member of Senate present at the meeting, Professor of Sociology, Lanre Olutayo described the meeting as characterised by transparency, frankness and openness. In his words, the meeting was “very honest and transparent. I am proud to be privileged to be a member of UI senate”.
The significance of the Senate meeting was underscored by Professor Ayo Ojebode who said “the petitioners exercised their rights to air their grievances though their petitions should have been differently routed. The accused persons also did an excellent job, with incontrovertible proofs. I think we just had an intellectually stimulating Senate meeting. What is more important, though, is that Senate today spoke with one voice. A divided Senate is a potential disaster; we are lucky to have one strong Senate of the University of Ibadan.”
At the beginning of the meeting, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka, informed Senate that the meeting should be considered a family gathering to resolve family matters. He therefore implored everyone who had anything to say to please speak out. In his words, “what matters most is that we speak frankly to the issues and remain family members after resolving it. We must eschew bitterness. Even if you have been falsely accused, please put the hurt aside for the time being.”