Malachy Uzendu in this piece frowns at the habit of picking vice-chancellors of the Odumegwu Ojukwu University from outside the school and argues for the next head of the school to be picked from within.
Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, formerly called Anambra State University, has come of age. Metamorphosing from a polytechnic in 1995, and transiting to a university in the year 2000, there is no doubt it has played great roles in churning out great men and women who are already impacting positively on society.
The university, which operates a multi-campus structure, has existed for 28 years as a higher institution and maintains campuses at Igbariam, Uli, and a Teaching hospital at Amaku, all in Anambra state. With this style, the University is also impacting several adjourning communities, assisting them in solving basic existential problems and providing the parameters for economic and boost in social parameters and contending issues in those places.
At present, all the principal officers of the University both academic and non-academic are all from within except the Vice Chancellor. That is to say, with the exception of the Vice-Chancellor, all other staff members are staffers who have worked and have grown on the job, promoted, and earned their pedigree through the assessment of both local and external assessors. This shows that they have come of age and have grown up people of high intellectual pedigree who have been adjudged capable of managing the affairs of the academic environment.
The University presently has more than 300 professors, an indication that their faculties are of strong pedigree. Otherwise, how can a University with 300 professors not be considered of high pedigree, considering what it takes to make it to the rank of a professor, especially in a public higher institution; It is not a joke at all viewed from all ramifications.
From the analysis of academics and published works, the University has produced great men and women who are doing very well both within and outside the University, including Commissioners, members of the House of Assembly, renowned Professors, Presidents, and Leaders of notable Professional Institutes/Associations in Nigeria, and far beyond the shors of the country.
However, a key snag that has bugged the University is the appointment of Vice-Chancellors from outside the University. There is a problem with such a procedure. A University of almost 40 years standing, not for once producing a Vice-Chancellor from within?
Something is definitely wrong with that. And the Visitor to the university should look inward and fetch the next VC from within and among the teeming professors in the university, except the Visitor, the Governor of the State, Prof. Chukuwna Soludo, himself, a revered academic, accepts the notion that his university professors are of a lesser pedigree. This should not be. Soludo knows what it takes to be a University professor and like the people of Ezeagu LGA Enugu State would say, professors, like masquerades, are never considered small in any ramification; try any which is considered insignificant and such fatal mistake would never be repeated.
While this writer is not claiming that those appointed Vice-Chancellors, even though from outside the precincts of the university, are of a lesser stock, the fact, however, remains that such people will naturally spend the first half or more of their tenure studying and adapting to the environment and by the time they get adapted to the environment and amend their unintentional pitfalls, their tenure would be approaching its end.
This situation impedes academic and physical development in the University against the wishes and aspirations of Ndi Anambra who look up to the University as a veritable platform to achieve greatness in Education and and Technology and also rewrite the story that Ndi Anambra are only known for container business, which is fatally a wrong notion.
It should be recalled that the Current Vice-Chancellor Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Prof. Greg Nwakoby, is the 4th to come from outside. He was hired from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, and his tenure is billed to end in December, this year, just three months away.
No doubt Prof. Nwakoby has achieved so much during his tenure, but informed analysts say he would have done more, had he not faced the initial challenge of acclimatising to the variables he inherited in the university.
As a new comer, or rather someone coming in from the outside, he spent quite a couple of months, staying his environment and acclimatising with the politocs and the terrain. He was faced with the challenges of getting in tune with the objective parameters available and juxtaposing such with the avalanche and plethora of information he was accosted with when he assumed duties.
Such a situation could bring in a plethora of juxtaposing and often conflicting information could derail thoughts and delay achievements.
As the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Prof. Soludo, the Visitor is set, in the next two months or thereabout, to appoint a new Vice-Chancellor, there is the need for the Governor to look out for someone from the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University to take over as the next VC to ward off unnecessary factors of learning the internal politics before settling down.
Thankfully, we have it on good authority that there are no fewer than four professors with requisite pedigree from the University who have the requisite administrative and academic competencies who could be chosen to step into the portfolio. Needless dissecting all over the gains of doing so. It is hoped that Prof. Soludo will not disappoint both his admirers and his traducers this time around.
Getting the square pegs to fit into the square holes. Getting a fit and proper person from within will save both the perspiration and associated headache of first learning the internal dynamics obtainable in the university, which is what outsiders have always faced when appointed. Warding off such variables would save costs, completely kill gossips and produce someone who is ready to immediately fly the kite.