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Governing Councils: Nigerian govt directs out-going vice-chancellors to hand over to deputies - TEAM PLATO REPORTS

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Governing Councils: Nigerian govt directs out-going vice-chancellors to hand over to deputies 

The Nigerian government has directed vice-chancellors of federal government-owned universities whose tenures expire soon to nominate one of their deputies to serve in an acting capacity pending the inauguration of the university’s governing councils.

The directive, which came from the Ministry of Education and conveyed through the National Universities Commission (NUC), said the governing councils will commence the process of appointing substantive vice-chancellors after their inauguration.

It is unclear yet if this directive voids the appointments of vice-chancellors already conducted within the period when there was no council.

In April, the Abubakar TafaGoverning Councils: Nigerian govt directs out-going vice-chancellors to hand over to deputies as Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi, for instance, appointed Sani Kunya, a professor of construction management, as the vice-chancellor.

The Director of Press and Public Relations at the Ministry of Education, Folasade Boriowo, promised to get back to our reporter regarding this, but she has yet to as of the time of filing this report.

In a letter to the universities, dated 28 May and signed by Chris Maiyaki, the acting executive secretary of the NUC, the out-going vice-chancellors were asked to nominate one of the deputy vice-chancellors that will oversee the office of the vice-chancellor in a temporary capacity.

He said the deputy vice-chancellor should be nominated through the recommendation of the university senate.

Mr Maiyaki noted that the governing councils will, after their inauguration, appoint acting vice-chancellors “for a period not less than six months, during which they will commence the process of appointing substantive vice-chancellors.”

“This circular takes pre-eminence over our earlier communication on the same subject,” he added.

Other institutions where the tenure of the vice-chancellors would end soon include the University of Maiduguri, Borno State; Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Sokoto State; and the University of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Dissolved governing councils
The federal government-owned institutions have been without governing councils since President Bola Tinubu’s sweeping directive for their dissolution in June last year. But the development has resulted in industrial unrest at the University of Abuja, where the institution’s Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked on an indefinite strike after accusing the university of kick-starting the process of appointing another vice-chancellor, an activity specially reserved for the council, which is currently non-existent.

The National Executive Council of ASUU had also, on 14 May, issued the government a two–week ultimatum to reinstate councils whose tenures were yet to expire as of the time of the dissolution order and reconstitute those whose tenures had elapsed.

ASUU described Mr Tinubu’s dissolution of the university councils as illegal, adding that it has paved the way for a series of illegalities on the various campuses.

Days after the ultimatum, the education ministry released a list of five-member governing councils each for 111 tertiary institutions, including the universities. The list was instantly met with controversy as members of the public accused the Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, of violating the federal character provisions.

Mr Tinubu, therefore, directed the review of the list, forcing the education ministry to suspend the inauguration earlier scheduled for Thursday, 30 May.

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