New OAU VC: Be Calm, Await Acceptable Selection Process – IDB

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OAU Ile Ife


*alleges deliberate manipulation of Ife sons  


By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan


The Ife Development Board (IDB) has called on the people of Ife community to be calm and law abiding amidst the controversy over the recent selection process of a new Vice Chancellor for the Obafemi Awolowo University, (OAU), Ile Ife.
Addressing a press conference in Ile Ife over the weekend on behalf of the people of the ancient town, the IDB President, Comrade Lawrence Awowoyin tasked  allhands to be on deck, ” to make sure that a fairer, more credible, more just, non-discriminatory and more acceptable selection process is ordered by the Visitor, President Muhammadu Buhari.’
Comrade Awowoyin accused  the outgoing Vice Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, leadership of allegedly instigating the Institution’s Governing Council against the Ife community resulting in alleged discrimination against candidates of Ife origin in the selection process.
The Ife Development Board attributed the purported sour relationship between the OAU management and the Ife community to the pending land  dispute between the Obafemi Awolowo University and the Ife community since the emergency of the out going Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Tope Ogunbodede. 
” Any curious observer of the unfolding scenario and the untoward aftermath of the recent selection process in OAU, Ife must wonder why there is such an apparent tug of war between the gown and town. Why, for instance, is the IFE community raising allegations of deliberate manipulation of the process to effectively discriminate against candidates of IFE origin? Why is the university on its part, claiming that the Ife community is raising dust only because it simply wants to impose an indigene as Vice Chancellor without following due processes?”, he said.
Comrade Awowoyin added, ” on behalf of the Ife community, we wish to state categorically here that the crux of the matter is a pending land dispute between the community and the university since the emergence of the outgoing Vice Chancellor, Professor Tope Ogunbodede”. 
” Here’s the story: the IFE community, relying on the decades of rapport between both parties had drawn the attention of the university to the existence of some controversial parcels of land over which the university was laying claims. On the basis of land title documents in the custody of our community, we had advised the university that their purported claims were invalid. 
” We therefore sought for dialogue with the university authorities, asking them to produce gazetted documentary evidence in their possession so that both parties could easily reconcile their conflicting claims. The university consistently refused to avail us of such documents in support of their claims.”
Comrade Awowoyin stressed, ” rather than co-operate to resolve the issue in the spirit of the mutual collaboration established over decades, the administration of Prof. Ogunbodede turned a simple dispute resolution process into an unbelievable war of attrition, alleging criminality against members of the community and willfully waging a media campaign that  sought to malign and undermine our leaders in the eyes of the world thereby disrupting the peaceful and mutually respectful relationship of many decades.”
” After our several attempts to engage in an amicable dispute resolution bore no fruits in view of the recalcitrance of the Ogunbodede administration, the IFE community did what the law prescribed by asking the university to go to court of the Ife community has truly encroached on the university land as alleged”  .
He maintained that ” these facts and other intelligence available to us indicate that Prof. Ogunbodede has been allegedly using this civil matter of land to create all manners of fear, anxiety and panic within the university community capable of turning the governing council Minister of Education and officials of the Presidency against the Ife community”. 
Comrade Awowoyin stressed, ” because he believes that the university must not cede an inch of what he considers to be their land, he has allegedly  managed to manipulate these institutions into believing that the IFE community is against the Federal Government!”, adding, ” this preposterous proposition amounts to morbid obsessional dimension for the outgoing Vice Chancellor, this is crux of the present crisis.”
” Prof. Ogunbodede and his collaborators have since convinced themselves that if a candidate of IFE origin  emerges the Vice Chancellor,  he/she would automatically determine the outstanding land matter in our community’s favour. With such a subjective mindset, he has diligently tried to poison and mislead the Governing Council and officials of the Federal Government to believe in such false assumptions and wrong conclusions. This devious attitude therefore set the stage for the discrimination being suffered by one of our sons, Professor R.A.Adedoyin, who is contesting the Vice Chancellorship. “
Assuring  that ” all capable hands are on deck to make sure that a fairer, more credible, more just, non-discriminatory and more acceptable selection process is ordered by the Visitor, President Muhammadu Buhari”, he said, ” nonetheless, and following the call of our revered father and king, the Arole Oduduwa & Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II,  we  hereby join in appealing to members of the IFE community to suspend all further street protests in whatever forms they may have been organised so as not to prejudice and jeopardize the strong merits of the  petition of Prof. Adedoyin to the Presidency”.
” Finally, while suing for peace and awaiting justice, we wish to  reassure the Federal and state governments, university authorities, students, workers and all other stakeholders nationwide that Ife remains a welcoming home to all and sundry. We shall forever remain the  cradle of the Yoruba and home of OAU, one of Africa’s best and brightest universities. To all who continue to support our calls for fairness and justice, we thank you for your kind understanding and especially for graciously standing with us.”

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