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Stalemate in UniJos over VC selection

Although a new VC ought to have been selected for the stipulated period of five years, the university does not have a substantive chairman of…

The impasse in the University of Jos, Plateau State, over the selection of a new Vice Chancellor (VC) to replace Professor Sebastian Maimako whose tenure elapses June, 2021, is yet to be resolved.

Although a new VC ought to have been selected for the stipulated period of five years, the university does not have a substantive chairman of council and pro-chancellor to supervise the exercise following the death of Prince Tony Momoh in February this year.

A Pro-Chancellor, Prince Momoh, in line with the provision of the University Act, commenced the selection process for the appointment of a new VC which led to the constitution of a search team, but Prince Momoh died before the completion of the search.

The intrigues, which caused disquiet in some quarters, made the National Universities Commission (NUC) to suspend the exercise, after which the president appointed Prof Attahiru Jega as the new pro-chancellor, and he (Jega) is equally expected to continue with the selection process.

Reacting to the earlier cancellation of the selection process, some staff and students’ unions of the university staged a protest, saying that the selection process which had already gone far should not be interfered with for the sake of peace and tranquility of the institution.

Recently also, a group under the aegis of Movement for the Advancement and Protection of the University of Jos (MAAPU), appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to quickly intervene in the ongoing politics over the selection of a new VC.

MAAPU, during a press conference led by its Coordinator, Comrade Daniel Sati Tanko, said there was a deliberate attempt to cause confusion by some people who did not have the interest of the university, and Plateau State, at heart.

The group appealed to President Buhari to cause a letter to be issued to Dr Mrs Philomena Mutbam who chaired the governing council meeting and began the screening process for a new VC to complete the process within four days so as not to create a vacuum in the leadership of the institution.

Meanwhile, a staff of the institution who preferred anonymity, said the whole issue should not be about interest or emotion, but about the law and what the University Act stipulates.

The staff noted that the University Act was clear on the issue of the selection of a substantive chancellor, saying the University of Jos Act was the same as that of the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), University of Port Harcout (Uniport) and University of Lagos (Unilag).

He explained that, “Since the University Act is clear on all of these, there shouldn’t be any wrangling or contestation, as the laid down statutory provisions ought to be followed.”

The source advised that it was better that the University Act be followed in the exercise than to hurry it and later get faced with litigations which could disrupt academics and the general smooth operation of the institution for months; or even years.

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