On Thursday, the students of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike protested over the plan to appoint a non-indigene of Abia State as the Vice-Chancellor of the University.
There have been ongoing plans to appoint a VC since the tenure of the current Vice-Chancellor Prof. Ogbonnaya Francis Otunta elapses on March 2021.
Some of the selected candidates for the Vice-Chancellor are already undergoing screening with some Abia State candidates, Prof. Udoh Herbert, Prof. Iwe Ebibisi, allegedly screened out while Prof. Ike Nwachukwu is still on the run.
When Newsleverage spoke with some of the students, they declared that since the inception of the school, no Abia State indigene has been made the Vice-Chancellor in the school.
Speaking with Samuel Cyril, the Vice President and the South-East Coordinator of the Niger Delta Students Union Government, he said, ‘We are aware that the leadership of Michael Okpara University is about to transit leadership to the next person and the process have started. As Abia Students and Niger Delta Students, we are aware that since the inception of Michael Okpara University, there has been no Abia State indigene as the Vice-Chancellor.
We are aware that there are a whole lot of Professors from Abia State who is tested, trusted and capable of running the affairs of the school. As students of the school, we are here to express our concern over the level of alienation and marginalization that has been going on. If there must be a Vice-Chancellor in Michael Okpara University then the person should be of Abia State origin as it’s obtainable in other Federal Universities like University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Federal University of Technology Owerri, Imo State. MOUAU cannot be an exception especially as it is a well-recognized institution in South-South and South East.
So what prevents an Abia State indigene from becoming the next Vice-Chancellor in the University?
Does it mean we do not have qualified persons? We have a whole lot of Professors who can take up the mantle of leadership.’
When asked if the present agitation has been related to school management? Cyril said, ‘we have three processes that we use in doing whatever we do. We call it the three Cs. We first consult, consolidate and then confront.
We have consulted to express our concerns but seeing that nothing was bearing fruit, we showed up in the way we did today. The same thing has been happening even in the Students Union Government. The signal, notice and request have been sent to the school management that Abia State must produce the next Vice-Chancellor.
For one reason or the other but most especially for their selfish interest, they are telling us that aspirants from Abia State are not on the list but we are telling them that this school will be very unfavourable for anybody that becomes the next Vice-Chancellor who is not from Abia State.
Speaking further with the Abia State Coordinator of Niger Delta Students Union Government, Comrade Ekwueme Chimdera stated that the school management should incorporate the students in their affairs and also reiterated that ‘it wasn’t going to be business as usual as students will not take it this time’.
They also complained that students union government are always set aside in the affairs that directly affect the students as the school management keep installing its Presidents.
The students complained that no election was held to elect the Student Union President but the President was handpicked and imposed on the students and as expected, they work against the students instead of for the students.
Attempts to reach the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ogbonnaya Francis Otunta failed as at the time of filing this report.
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