The Academic Staff Union of (Nigerian) Universities, ASUU, says some Nigerian universities are in crises because their vice-chancellors see themselves as the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of their institutions.
ASUU president Emmanuel Osodeke stated this in a goodwill message he delivered at the special commemorative programme organised by the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) chapter of the union in honour of the university’s immediate past vice-chancellor, Ganiyu Olatunde, whose tenure ended a couple of weeks ago.
Osodeke warned vice-chancellors of public universities to shun dressing like CEOs of their universities because, in reality, they are just the first among their equals in the academic community.
He also berated the culture of governors giving approval before a university lecturer can be promoted despite the recommendation of the governing councils.
“One thing we have got wrong is that in universities, we look at the VCs as Chief Executive Officers, which by the law, it is not true,” Osodeke said. “A vice chancellor is just one among equals and it’s only when he sees himself as one that he will not have a problem with ASUU.”
He added: “A VC is not a CEO because there are different committees. All the actions and things are done after agreement and disagreement by members of the different committees. And when the VC disagrees, he goes back to committees. Unfortunately, what we currently have in Nigeria is that over 90 per cent of the problems we have in our universities today are caused by VCs, who look at themselves as CEOs and there is nowhere in the laws that permit a VC as CEO because everything he does can be challenged.”
Osodeke praised the outgoing OOU vice-chancellor for achieving a “most peaceful” administration during his tenure, stressing that the celebration accorded him by the OOU chapter of his union attested to that.
“Having assessed Professor Olatunde and found him worthy, the union was glad to associate with him to the extent that we have to suspend every other official engagement of the union to celebrate him,” he said. “It is a pride for us to have a vice-chancellor whom ASUU believed deserves to be honoured.”
He admonished his successor, Deji Agboola, to emulate his predecessor’s style of leadership.