Afe Babalola cautions against government interference in varsity administration

EMINENT jurist and proprietor of the Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, Chief Afe Babalola, says that Visitors to Nigerian universities (president for federal and governors for states) have no constitutional powers to sack a vice chancellor without referring the case to the governing council of such university.

He also said it is improper to appoint chairmen of governing councils of universities on political basis.

Afe Babalola made the declaration in Ado-Ekiti last week while delivering the 21st Convocation Lecture of the Ekiti State University.

In his 54-page lecture entitled ‘University Administration: The Role of Stakeholders’, he reminded Visitors to universities that the process of appointing vice chancellors is through the governing councils of universities, and that Visitors should always permit governing councils to handle the discipline or otherwise of erring vice chancellors.

He maintained that the procedure for the appointment and removal of vice chancellor should be in accordance with the university’s Act, and wondered why some Visitors to Nigerian universities sidetrack the governing council to sack vice chancellors when governing councils are on the ground.

Babalola strongly recommended that the appointment of pro-chancellors should never be on political basis or through political parties; neither should pro-chancellors see their appointment as an avenue for making money, but to make positive contributions to the development of education.

He cited several constitutional provisions and university Acts as well as court rulings to back up his argument.

Aare Afe Babalola also advised vice chancellors to familiarise themselves with the laws of the university and do their job without fear of favour.

Dignitaries at the event included traditional rulers, stakeholders from the education industry, vice chancellors of many universities as well as members of the public.