‘How I influenced creation of second DVC in UI’

Professor A.B.O.O. Oyediran

Moreover, during every rainy season, the university had to engage scores of temporary workers, at significant cost, to join the regular staff in grass cutting. Therefore, we grouped the offices, laboratories and lecture theatres into lots, and similarly carved up the entire campus. After a competitive bid, contracts were awarded to various companies to do the work. A committee was established to monitor the performance of the companies and certify their eligibility for payment of their fees. The committee was headed by a no-nonsense senior academic of high integrity, Professor Augusta Omamor. The programme was very successful. The companies performed satisfactorily and in addition, we were able to reduce costs directly by reduction in staff strength through attrition. We also set up a committee on tree cutting, which was charged with the responsibility of preventing indiscriminate cutting of trees on campus; considering, approving and overseeing the cutting of old and dangerous trees and planting suitable replacements.

 

Creation of Second Position of Deputy-Vice Chancellor

In 1980, the Faculty of Medicine of the university was reconstituted by the Council into a College of Medicine, comprising the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences and Pharmacy, Faculty of Clinical Sciences and Dentistry and a Postgraduate Institute of Medical Research and Training. The college was headed by a provost and the faculties and institute by deans and a director, respectively. Later, the Faculties of Pharmacy and Dentistry evolved as separate entities within the college. A Senate committee set up to review the regulations establishing the college had articulated the objectives of a collegiate system to guide faculties or combination of faculties intending to adopt the system in future. These included the achievement of effective decentralization of operations, devolution of powers and delegation of authority and responsibility, as well as minimizing the input of resources and accelerating the process of decision-making and implementation. After ten years of successful operation of the College of Medicine, it was decided that the collegiate system be extended to the rest of the university through the establishment of College of Arts, Social Sciences and Law, College of Science and Technology, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine and the College of Education. Professors Dan S. Izevbaye, S.A. liori, Laolu Babalola and J.A. Akinpelu were elected by the Senate on 24 September 1990 as founding provosts for the four colleges respectively. When I assumed office as vice-chancellor in December 1991, I met grumblings concerning the system, with many people complaining that it was a ‘bottleneck’. During my familiarization tour in the early weeks of my tenure, I found that while cars were assigned to the provosts, their offices did not have adequate equipment for efficient and effective performance of their work. Although staff were posted to the college offices, the personal files of university staff and other files which they needed to work on were retained in the central registry. That was indeed a formula for a bottleneck. When I took up the matter with the registrar, he said the shortage of funds had been a constraint but, in any case, it had been agreed that the transfer of files and other items would be effected by 1 August 1992. When we received the N25 million grant, I directed that part of the money should be spent on equipping the new college offices. A striking feature of this development was the absence of complaint about the administration of research grants, salary advance and so on. It turned out that, while the bursar had effectively decentralized the operations of the bursary, the registrar was not enthusiastic about what he considered to be erosion of his sphere of authority. By September 1993, the bursary had established four college finance offices to undertake accounting activities that included collection of some categories of income, processing of payroll, disbursement of expenditure from goods and services, as well as departments/ units grant votes.

Complaints about the collegiate system increased and were spearheaded by the Faculty of the Social Sciences. There was dissatisfaction with the grouping of the faculties into colleges. An ad-hoc committee on the collegiate system, headed by Professor o. G. Ajao, reviewed the matter and recommended the continuation of the system with nine new colleges. When the Senate debated their report and I called for a vote, there were 14 votes in favour of the report, 24 against and 10 abstentions! The Senate directed that its decision should be communicated to the Council. I had urged that the report be adopted because my experience as a vice-chancellor had demonstrated beyond doubt that the collegiate system greatly facilitated the efficient and effective administration of the university. Therefore, when the Senate decided to scrap the system, I insisted and persuaded it to support the creation of a second position of deputy vice-chancellor (DVC).

On 12 November 1992, the Council considered the decisions of the Senate and directed that the whole matter be referred back to the Senate for reconsideration. On 25 January 1993, the Senate re-affirmed its decision to scrap the collegiate system, this time by a vote of 31 to 19 votes, with 8 abstentions. When the Council met on 28 May 1993, it approved my recommendation for the establishment of a second position of DVC, with effect from 1 August 1993, in line with Section 4 of the Universities (Miscellaneous) Decree No. 11 of 1993, which empowered each university to establish such number of DVCs as Council might, from time-to-time, deem necessary for the proper administration of the university. However, it directed that the Senate should have a further re-think on the collegiate system. On 25 October 1993, the Senate, for the third time, voted against the extension of the collegiate system outside the College of Medicine. This time, the vote margin was 84 to 10, with 16 abstentions. Meanwhile, the NUC had recommended the adoption of the system in universities” sooner rather than later.” At its meeting on 3 November 1993, the Council set up an ad-hoc joint Council/Senate committee to look into the matter. It selected Chief Olinmah, Alhaji Shittien and Mr. Olamogoke as its representatives on the committee and decided that the Senate should elect three representatives to join them and directed that the committee should report back to the Council. The matter was concluded when, at its meeting on 18 February 1994, the Council advised that the concept of the collegiate system should not be discarded and decided that, “for now and with effect from the end of the 1992/93 session,” colleges outside the College of Medicine should cease to exist. It also approved the bursar’s request for the continuation of the four college finance offices because they were very effective in reducing pressure on the central bursary and reducing delay in official transactions. In addition, the Council confirmed the appointments of Professors M.O. Filani and O. O. Oduye, who had been elected by the Senate as DVC (Administration) and DVC (Academic), respectively. Both of them took their seats on among the Council that day.

It was my good fortune –  and a very beneficial development for the university – that Professors Filani and Oduye were the first DVC (Administration) and DVC (Academic); both of them had served as their heads of their respective departments, deans and members of the governing council of the university. Their rich experience was reflected in their excellent performance. They were very hardworking and dependable gentlemen of integrity, who enjoyed great respect and admiration among academic and non-academic staff. I had the responsibility to draw up their schedules of duty. There was never any clash: We worked together harmoniously and with other principal officers. We developed close friendships, which extended to our families. Under the provisions of Decree No. 11 of 1993 for appointment of DVCs, the vice-chancellor was required to nominate two persons for each position, the Senate would then vote to elect one of the two. Finally, the Council would confirm the appointment. For the reasons outlined later in this book, it seemed to me that I would not serve a second term on expiration of my tenure on 30 November, 1995. However, the tenure of the DVCs was due to expire on 31 July 1995. Although the law allowed it, I felt that it would be undesirable for me to nominate replacements for Professors Filani and Oduye, especially as there was no vice-chancellor- designate whose preference I could ascertain. Therefore, with some difficulty, I persuaded Professors Filani and Oduye to agree to a 4-month extension of their tenure. The Council approved my recommendation, and the three of us bowed out on 30 November 1995. I owe a debt of gratitude to both of them. Meanwhile, in order to strengthen the administration of the university, I had proposed the creation of three new positions of deputy registrar. The Council approved this at its meeting on 28 March 1995. The system of two DVCs has had a beneficial effect on the administration of the university. It is my strong belief that the reinstatement of the collegiate system which was jettisoned in 1993 will further facilitate the administration and development of the university. However, irrespective of the structure adopted, training and re-training of staff is important for efficient and effective administration of the university. The relevance of this for professional staff in the registry, bursary, works and health departments is readily perceived. Of course, academic staff go on study leave and sabbatical leave regularly. What is usually forgotten, down-played or ignored is the fact that the vast majority of academic staff who serve as deans, directors of institutes, sub-deans and heads of departments have no training in administration. It is usually assumed that the registry staff working with them would put them through their paces as they learn on the job. In order to address this lacuna, my administration decided to organize seminars for teaching and non-teaching staff. Thus, in December 1992, the bursar held a one-day seminar on financial procedures for provosts, deans and heads of departments. In January 1995, a 2-day seminar organized by the registrar, Chief Arowolo, on the University Staff Appraisal System was held for all staff (teaching and non-teaching), with attendance being compulsory for all registry senior administrative staff. In October 1995, a seminar was held for new deans, sub-deans, heads of departments and other interested staff, with senior staff of the registry, bursary and works department as resource persons. After I declared the seminar open, presentations were made on several topics, including:

  • Legal Framework of University Governance
  • Regulations and Procedure on Student Admissions, Registration and Examinations
  • Regulations and Procedure on Student Welfare, Accommodation and Discipline
  • Regulations and Procedure on Appointments, Promotions, Leave and General Staff Welfare
  • Routing of Correspondence and Committee Work

Thereafter, there was an extensive, wide-ranging discussion. The seminar was very successful and the participants were appreciative and urged that it should be held regularly.



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