By Musa Sunusi Ahmad

A leading Civil Rights and Pro- transparency group:- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has appealed to the visitor to the Federal University of Technology  Owerri, Imo Dtate, South East of Nigeria (FUTO) President Muhammadu Buhari not to exclude professors from Okigwe Senatorial Zone of Imo State in the coming decision for who occupies the soon to be vacant position of the Vice Chancellor.

Raising an alarm of a clandestine plots by some reactionary forces to foreclose the inclusion of professors from the Okigwe Senatorial Zone from the position, the Rights group said it would amounts to inequity and a wanton disregard of the principles of human rights should any extraneous requirement or political consideration be introduced other than the observation of merits, competence and administrative acumen from prospective aspirants wishing to be picked as the next Vice Chancellor of the prestigious university.

The Rights group reminds President Buhari that all the previous holders of that position are either from Owerri or Orlu Senatorial Zones even when there are a vast array of distinguished adcademics and administrators from the politically marginalized Okigwe Senatorial Zone who are fit, proper and administratively, professionally competent to be appointed. 

“His Excellency,  Mr. President as a man who believes in equity and transparency should ensure that amongst the requirements for position of VC of FUTO, he should know that globally, there are no universal agreements on the political fixation of any sort of  emphasis on the non existent  requirement of 10 years and above from the date of appointment as Professor. While it is an established academic tradition that whoever is to be considered as the vice-chancellor must be a professor, the details of years of experience as one and other prerequisite are drawn by the governing council, taking into cognisance the peculiarity of the university. It is for that reason that the years of experience as a professor for appointment of vice-chancellor vary from university to university. Thus, in the University of Calabar, it has ranged from five to seven with the then vice-chancellor being seven as professor as of the time of his appointment in 2010.” 

“What should be emphasized are management capacity and capability among others, with 70% for objective criteria and 30% for subjective criteria. 

What if you have spent 20years with no significant contributions to the society. 

With the challenges facing our universities, a university council council .The template should include:

(1)Educational Qualifications and Awards

(2) Career Progression 

(3) Experiences:

(a) University Administration, HOD, Deanship at the undergraduate and Post graduate levels and Student Affairs 

(b) Private Sector: interaction/interface with the private sector and corporate establishments

(c) Public Sector: Minister, Commissioner, Membership of Boards and Commissions 

(d) Public Practice

(e) Private Practice 

4. Corporate Social Responsibility/Community Services. 

5. Character/Conduct and public standing and community acceptance.”

The Rights group said: “Professors Ama Nduka, Obah and Jude Njoku were all less than 10years as professors before they became VC. It’s on record that they contributed immensely to the development of FUTO to what it is today. 

There’s no evidence that those who were 10 years and above as professors have out performed those with less than 10 years experience.”

“The purposes of university establishment includes the advancement of education and learning and development of knowledge economy.

These can only materialize when based on interactions/participation, observations/ research.

University Administration is evidently multitasking and requires multitalented person with appropriate skills and competences plus cognate experiences.”

HURIWA  in the media release by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director said thus: “ For instance, from the Cambridge University, we are told that the Vice-Chancellor is the principal academic and administrative officer of the University. He or she chairs the Council of the University, the General Board of the Faculties and the Finance Committee of the Council. Among the main tasks of the Vice-Chancellor are to:

 Provide leadership, academic and administrative to the whole University;

 Represent the University externally, both within the UK and overseas;

 Secure a financial base sufficient to allow the delivery of the University’s mission, aims and objectives;

 Carry out certain important ceremonial and civic duties.

Vice Chancellors lead the university’s academic and administrative departments. They may serve on several university councils, assist with policy development and academic planning, prepare budgets, and maintain the institution’s positive image.”

HURIWA  is therefore urging the Federal government to  search for a resilient Vice Chancellor for the Federal University of Technology Owerri  to lead the prestigious and  excellent academic institution. As the Vice Chancellor, HURIWA reminds who will emerge that your responsibilities will include serving on councils, supervising academic planning, attending various meetings, and more. You should have a good grasp of university operations and be able to propose solutions to complex problems.To be successful as a Vice Chancellor, you should be able to address audiences and engage with a range of professionals. Outstanding Vice Chancellors should be active listeners who are able to make difficult decisions.”

“Vice Chancellor Responsibilities:

• Serving on several councils and providing valuable input as well as listening to colleagues’ suggestions.

• Reviewing academic programs, budgets, and policies, and improving upon them.

• Maintaining positive relationships with other academic institutions, organizations, and the broader community.

• Allocating resources fairly and securing grants.

• Supervising staff and addressing any performance issues.

• Handling a range of administrative duties, including preparing reports.

• Attending academic conferences and other events.

• Building networks with other academics and institutions.

• Delivering speeches at events such as graduations and open days.

• Ensuring university standards are maintained and that academic freedom is protected.

Vice Chancellor Requirements:

• A Ph.D. in your chosen discipline.

• Extensive academic, teaching, and managerial experience.

• A good record of scholarship.

• The ability to work with people from a wide range of backgrounds.

• The ability to solve complex problems.

• Superb active listening, communication, and presentation skills.

• The ability to think on your feet and talk to the press.

• A personable and professional manner.

• Excellent networking and administrative skills.”

HURIWA recalled that the tenure of the current Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology (FUTO), Owerri, Imo State, Prof Francis Chukwuemeka Eze has almost elapsed.

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