Uk’Omu Igala organisation, an umbrella body for civil society and cultural associations in Kogi east senatorial district, has demanded cancellation of the exercise on the appointment of a vice-chancellor for Federal University, Lokoja.
In a statement on Wednesday, Abdul Amade, the group’s national leader, said the demand is as a result of perceived irregularities in the appointment process.
Ahead of the end of the tenure of Angela Freeman Miri, the institution’s incumbent VC, in February 2021, qualified candidates were asked to apply for the office.
But the group alleged that despite meeting the requirement, the Chris Adighije-led screening committee disqualified all the 20 applicants of Igala extraction.
“Report has it that about 80 persons applied for the position out of which 20 distinguished and experienced professors of Igala extraction specifically from Kogi East (one of the three senatorial district of Kogi State) applied,” the statement read.
“To the best of our knowledge, these scholars of Igala extraction met the criteria published as qualifications for application for the position. However, to our greatest surprise, none of them was shortlisted for consideration, making the process suspicious and clandestine.”
The group said its conclusions are based on “analysis and comparison between the twelve (12) shortlist and some of the Igala Professors that were disqualified from further participation in the process”.
It identified some factors in its analysis to include degree of publication; membership of scientific organisations; level of exposure; quality of fellowships; research grants and competitions won; leadership experience; years of professorship; among others.
“A Google scholar search revealed that whereas, at least, five of the Igala Professors had between 35 and 165 Google Scholar –accessible Publications on the internet, six (6) (or 50%) of the twelve top shortlist for position of VC by FUL council have Google Scholar –accessible Publications of only between 2 and 20. Other indices academic impact like googlescholar citations and h-index are even more revealing,” the statement read.
“While, at least one of the disqualified Igala Professors is a Fellow of the merit-based apex umbrella scientific organization, the Nigerian Academy of Science, none of those on the shortlist appears to have earned such scholarly status (Fellow of Nigerian Academy of Science or Fellow of Nigerian Academy of Letters.)”
Uk’Omu Igala organisation added that the university’s council was involved in some “illegal maneuvers” in order to achieve its agenda.
It identified some of such “maneuvers” to include appointment of a shortlisting committee, which it said is not in line with the university laws.
The organisation said rather than discharging its functions within the university, the shortlisting committee met twice in Abuja “in a very suspicious move (first for about a week), in order to perform its “duties” when there is no imminent breach to security in FUL premises, or indeed, Lokoja town”.
“From the foregoing, we make bold to submit that we have no confidence on the committee which carried out this assignment of shortlisting,” the statement read.
“We have no confidence on the skewed process and strongly reject the entire compromised exercise where merit was sacrificed for selfish and parochial consideration.”
The group called on Adamu Adamu, minister of education, to intervene by putting the appointment process on hold in order to prevent break down of law and order.