National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in conjunction with the students Union Government (SUG) of the Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete has asked Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed to reverse the decision to appoint acting vice chancellor for the state owned university.
It is recalled that the governor, on Tuesday, appointed professor Kenneth Adeyemi as acting vice chancellor of the state owned university and directed the vice chancellor, Professor Abdulrasheed Na’Allah, to hand over to the acting vice chancellor and proceed on terminal leave as his tenure expires in July 2019.
Addressing journalists after a peaceful protest on the campus on Wednesday, Chairman, NANS, Kwara State, Comrade Saheed Olosasa and President, KWASU SUG, Comrade Abdulganiyu Dikko, expressed dissatisfaction at the decision, while asking the governor to explain the decision within 24 hours or face more protest actions.
The students, who described the decision as illegal and manipulation of education sector, called on stakeholders and well meaning Nigerians to stand against what they said was disregard for due process.
The students’ leaders also said that government, be it state or federal, has no constitutional rights to unilaterally remove or appoint vice chancellor without approval and recommendation from the university governing council.
“We want to affirmatively state that we the entire students still recognize and further re-authenticate that Professor Abdulrasheed Na’Allah is our vice chancellor and vehemently warn the government not to toy with our career,” the students leaders said.
Also, a civic group, Kwara Community for Qualitative Education, has accused the state government of wanting to coerce the Governing Council of the KWASU to endorse purported appointment of an acting Vice Chancellor for the institution.
Secretary of the civic group, Ishaq Abu, said in a statement in Ilorin on Wednesday, rejected the government’s claim made through Barrister Abdullahi Alikinla, the Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Science & Technology, that it acted within the law in appointing the acting Vice Chancellor, adding that at no time was the Governing Council consulted on the matter and neither did it recommend the appointee as required by law.
“After the illegal appointment of an acting VC by the Governor without any recommendation from the Governing Council as provided by the school’s enabling laws, the government is going ahead in its attempt to impose its will on the council by unilaterally calling a meeting of the council for Friday at the Government House, Ilorin, far from the seat of the council,” Abu alleged.
“The law is very clear on how a Vice Chancellor or anyone acting in that capacity should emerge. In the case of a VC retiring before the appointment of a substantive replacement, the position is that the Deputy VC Administration will act. In the case of KWASU, the Governing Council has commenced the process of appointing a replacement for the incumbent VC, before the tenure of the incumbent expires in July. The council had advertised for qualified candidates to apply and the period of application closes today, May 8. Therefore, the council has been implementing an orderly process for the nomination of a substantive VC and the appointment of an acting VC by the state Governor at this time is not only unlawful but uncalled for.
“The government action seems aimed at forcing out the substantive VC whose tenure expires in July, without any recommendation from the Council. The illegality and desperation become too apparent when you discover that this is coming just when the Council has advertised the position of the VC and is proceeding with finding a replacement in line with the extant law.”
Abu commended the council for the instant rejection of the government’s action.
Lamenting the needless harassment of the outgoing VC, Prof AbdulRasheed Na’Allah, Abu said the government’s action could precipitate academic unrest and set the school back.
“The governor knows he doesn’t have the powers to appoint an Acting VC for the school without prior recommendation from the Governing Council. Is there something the Governor is not telling the public?” he queried.