Senator Chris Adighije is the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the Federal University of Lokoja, Kogi State. Adighije, a one time Don of a University spoke to a select media on the task and process of choosing a new Vice Chancellor for the University, the challenges and the works of the Council so far. The AUTHORITY was represented
Since your appointment, what has the Governing Council of the University done so far to promote the institution
We have been doing our best since we came in. We have had our inaugural meeting but due to the situation in the country, many members were absent especially because of the ASUU strike. Also they have done the senate election when they got their four members and today the Council is complete.
One of first task is going through the process of recruiting new Bursar and Chief Librarian. The process was initiated by the former Council and now we have employed a Bursar and Librarian.
Of course, you know that the tenure of the present Vice Chancellor (VC) will expire on 21st February 2021. By law and convention we are in the process of selecting a successor and in doing that, we are insisting on due process. It is taking a lot of our attention and the applications closed on 16th October.
Shortly after that, proper compilation of applications which includes; LGA, age, qualification and other such requirements would be done according to the advert.
The management team has compiled that as supervised by a member of the Council.
We have about 80 applications and we will soon be in the process of short listing. A date has been fixed for that and a five-man Committee is saddled with that responsibility. After that, we will now go on to the main selection.
There is a selection board that would be made up of two external members of the Council, two members of the Senate who are not members of the Council while the committee would be chaired by the Chairman of Council. There will be five members of the selection board.
The plan and proposal that the Council has accepted is to ensure that the new VC would emerge by 4th December, this year. This will create room for transition because the current VC will be leaving by the middle of February, 2021.
The process of moving to the Permanent Site, poor finances are issues confronting us as a new University but we have to do what we are doing. Council members and management have been working together to see how they can have a seamless process.
As I have said, this is a federal University and we have received applications from a cross section of Nigerians who want to occupy the exalted office.
One would like to ask how your Council is handling issues like federal character, if they were involved in selecting the Chief Librarian and the Bursar
Definitely, we had a representative of the Federal Character Commission (FCC) who was there with us throughout the process, they were present.
So far, is the Council facing any kind of challenge or outside influence in the process of short listing because in some cases people will say, since the institution is in our place, we must have to be at the helm of affairs,. Do you have any such challenges?
Well, as far as I am concerned, you know there must be side talks but there has not been any official protest or official petition for that matter but naturally, people must be saying that this University must be staffed by indigenes but that is well taken care of.
We know that this is a new University and there must be such issues of accreditation of relevant course by the National Universities Commission (NUC), how is the school handling this?
Yes like I said, this is a new University and I must commened the VC, Prof. Angela Freeman Miri who has been there for the past five years. She and her management team have done very well. In fact in terms of the other 11 universities that were created at the same time, our University has done very well in the number of course and faculties they have. It is growing and at the rate it is growing, it is going to catch up with the older generation universities just after another five years.
Talking about short listing of aspirants for the VC position, usually it has to be three that would be submitted for the President to choose one; one would like to ask what criteria that was put in place by the governing council to select those that would be shortlisted?
Obviously, Universities are all about convention and tradition and law, so the combination of all these are what you see in the advert. The advert will be a major document that would be used in our short listing and interviews. So many conditions, for instance the retirement age is about 70 and we expect that whoever that would emerge wouldn’t have gone beyond 70 within the course of his tenure. So we expect that people for the job will be less than 65 years by the time they take over office. We also expect that people who are applying should have been professors for not less than seven years; we also expect that such professors should have been in academic activity for some period of about 15 years or so. It is well articulated, so the process of short listing would just be using the advert and whatever the Council would come up with as benchmark that is expected. So we hope that it would be seamless. And of course, once we are transparent, once we put everything on the table then we assure that God helping us, it would go through and by merit of course a new VC would emerge.