Protest in Delta over who becomes provost of institution

Protests rocked the ancient kingdom of Mosogar in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State on Tuesday over who becomes the next provost of the College of Education in the town.

Residents of the kingdom took to the streets of the town in their numbers armed with placards over an alleged unjust disqualification of an indigene for the post of provost of the institution.

The protesters mostly made up of youths, denounced the purported plot to deny one of their own of the coveted post, setting bonfires and placed a mock ritual coffin at the entrance of the institution, chanting war songs.

Leaders of the kingdom, to further press home their demand besides the street protest, also officially petitioned Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, urging him to swiftly address the issue before it degenerates to violence.

The petition, which was addressed to the governor, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent, was signed by the Ugo of Mosogar Kingdom, Chief P. Ojarikre, the President General of Mosogar Development Union, Chief (Col) O.C Akporokah, the President of Mosogar Elite Forum, Monday Odaka, the Mosogar Youth forum President, Oki Ebeigbe,  and the head of Mosogar Women forum, Madam Margaret Igah.

The leaders specifically mentioned that in the just-concluded provosts’ interview, they observed that their own son, Dr Moses Ogheneovo Omayuli, who was shortlisted, cleared, and interviewed and came tops with 84.90 per cent, was disqualified on the basis of age.

They alleged that a careful perusal of the advert for the post of provost viz-a-viz the CVs of the people shortlisted and interviewed showed clearly that some of the applicants did not meet the academic experience needed for the position.

They added that as the host community to the institution, there appeared a well-orchestrated plan by the Governing Council of the college and the Ministry of Higher Education to ensure that the kingdom is short-changed in the appointment.

The former local government chairman of Ethiope West, Dr Wilson Omene, who spoke to our correspondent on the crisis, cited instances of past provosts’ appointments endorsed despite their ages, saying their son should be given the opportunity to serve in the college as the substantive provost.

“In the just-concluded Provosts interview, we observed sadly that our son, Dr Moses Ogheneovo Omayuli who was shortlisted, cleared and interviewed, was unceremoniously disqualified after coming out as the overall best with 84.90 per cent among those interviewed.”

Speaking further on the disqualification, Omene said: “The chairman of the governing council, Chief Lovette Idisi categorically said that although Dr Moses Ogheneovo Omayuli came first in the interview, he got an instruction via a phone call to disqualify him (Dr Moses Ogheneovo Omayuli) on the basis of age.

“Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary Establishment, Asaba; Mr Joseph Uwanogho, cleared him stating he is still within the age bracket of 60 years as advertised, hence he is qualified to be interviewed.

“This we feel is not just acceptable but also inconsistent with the previous practice for the college of education in the state. For example;

“Dr D.D Whawo was appointed a substantive Provost of College of Education, Mosogar in 2013 at age 62 and retired at the age of 65 years.

“Prof Emmanuel Ojeme was appointed Provost of the same college of Education, Mosogar in 2015 at age 63 and left at the completion of his tenure in March 2020.

“Same is Dr Ukadike, Provost College of Education, Agbor, who became Provost in 2016 at the age of 62 years and still in service.

“This is not to mention, Mr Otalor, the Registrar, College of Education, Agbor whose appointment came at the age of 57 years as against 55 years stipulated and still in service.”

The Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof Patrick Muoboghare, while reacting to the protest, said the adverts that were placed on major newspapers stated the qualifications, expressly to include 60 years of age.

“The advert did not say being an indigene of Mosogar qualifies you to be a sole candidate; anyone applying for a position should access himself if he is qualified or not, not play on the sentiment of being an indigene,” he said.

 

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