The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari not to exclude Professors from Okigwe Senatorial Zone of Imo State in the coming decision for who becomes the next Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, FUTO, in Owerri.
HURIWA made the appeal while insisting on merit, equity and competence in selecting the next VC of FUTO.
The rights group raised an alarm of a clandestine plot by some reactionary forces to foreclose the inclusion of professors from the Okigwe Senatorial Zone from the position.
A statement by HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko said it would “amount to inequity and a wanton disregard of the principles of human rights should any extraneous requirement or political consideration be introduced other than the observation of merits, competence and administrative acumen from prospective aspirants wishing to be picked as the next Vice-Chancellor of the prestigious university.”
The Rights group reminded that all previous holders of the position were either from ‘Owerri or Orlu Senatorial Zones even when there are a vast array of distinguished academics and administrators from the politically marginalized Okigwe Senatorial Zone who are fit, proper and administratively, professionally competent to be appointed.”
“His Excellency, Mr. President as a man who believes in equity and transparency should ensure that amongst the requirements for the position of VC of FUTO, he should know that globally, there are no universal agreements on the political fixation of any sort of emphasis on the non-existent requirement of 10 years and above from the date of appointment as Professor.
“While it is an established academic tradition that whoever is to be considered as the vice-chancellor must be a professor, the details of years of experience as one and other prerequisite are drawn by the governing council, taking into cognisance the peculiarity of the university.
“It is for that reason that the years of experience as a professor for the appointment of vice-chancellor vary from university to university.
Thus, in the University of Calabar, it has ranged from five to seven with the then vice-chancellor being in his seventh year as a professor at the time of his appointment in 2010.
“What should be emphasized are management capacity and capability among others, with 70% for objective criteria and 30% for subjective criteria.
“What if you have spent 20years with no significant contributions to society?”
The tenure of the current Vice-Chancellor of FUTO, Prof Francis Chukwuemeka Eze is expected to elapse soon.