Governor Adegboyega Oyetola has enjoined aggrieved Ile-Ife indigenes who are protesting against the emergence of Professor Adebayo Simeon Bamire as new Vice Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) to give peace a chance and stop the protest forthwith.
Oyetola made the plea in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan, on Tuesday evening.
The governor noted that ivory towers anywhere in the world are a sacred place and everything must be done according to the extant laid down rules.
He noted that though the state has no role in the choice of who becomes OAU VC, being a Federal institution, he has responsibility for the safety and security of the institution and its workers as the host governor.
To this end, he urged all protesting citizens to exercise restraint and allow peace to reign.
He further said: “It is with a heavy heart and a deep sense of concern that I call on the good people of Ile-Ife, especially those protesting over the choice of a new Vice-Chancellor for Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) to stop further protests and give peace a chance.
“By their nature and functionality, universities are rules- and convention-based conservative institutions premised on academic and governance autonomy.
“If we have any reason to believe that these rules are circumvented, there are laid-down procedures to remedy such situations rather than resorting to self-help. We are known for peace in Osun. We must therefore not do anything to tarnish that enviable reputation,“ Oyetola added.
Also reacting to the development in OAU, Governor Rotimi in a statement on Tuesday stated that the invasion of the campus by some Ife indigenes and traditionalists, to allegedly protest the failure by the authorities to appoint “an Ife indigene” as VC was a disappointment.
Akeredolu, who is an alumnus of the institution, lamented that the invasion was the evidence of the rot in academia, adding that all those responsible for the invasion should be ashamed of themselves.
The statement read in part, “The latest news on the invasion of the campus by some Ife indigenes and traditionalists, allegedly, to protest the failure by the authorities to appoint ‘an Ife indigene’, showcases the extent to which the system has sunk, almost irretrievably.
“This is, perhaps, symptomatic of the pervasive rot in the academia. This thoughtless, reckless and misguided step forebodes untoward occurrences in the future.
“A situation which seems totally extraneous elements to the university environment invade the serene ambience to offer support, presumably solicited and sponsored by those who may have lost out in the selection process, is lamentable. There can be no worse signs than these outward displays of attitudes alien to academia.
“To assert that we are disappointed is an understatement. All those responsible for this disgrace should be ashamed of themselves, and this is assuming they possess any sense of shame. This act should elicit the most strident condemnation from all good people. I condemn it without equivocation.”
The Governor, however, called on the university’s supervisory authorities to take decisive actions to address the issue and to prevent such occurrence in the future.
Akeredolu lamented that the glory of his beloved alma mater had diminished noting that universities were more interested in trivial issues rather than teaching and research.
“Our founding fathers had a vision. They had a mission. They picked the best to fulfil these lofty dreams. The current absurdity represents a hope betrayed. The disturbing facts emanating from Ife over an appointment which is internal, almost entirely, reveal the depth of rot in that system.
“The intensity of campaign for an office which serious scholars declined to take in the past for the fear of distraction, gives a glimpse on the quality of research purportedly undertaken in most places in recent times. It is disheartening!
“This latest assault on intellection by elements who, ordinarily, should not have any business with that ambience is unsettling. The silence of the intellectuals in that university suggests complicity and connivance.
“The supervisory authorities should, as a matter of urgency, weigh in heavily on this strange phenomenon creeping into the university. A university should live up to its charter of establishment. Certificates are awarded on ‘Character and Learning’.
“The events of the last few days depict, clearly, that our universities seem interested in issues too distant from teaching and research.
“The painful reality which comes with the knowledge that our Great Ife has joined other erstwhile centres of excellence which deal with the burden of rapidly receding glory, is sad indeed.
“If it is not enough to be a scholar and professor than to be a Vice Chancellor, then we should stop looking elsewhere for reasons for the pervasive decadence in the country.
The age of innocence is long gone. The Gown appears too eager to learn from the Town in many ways. The battle seems lost, irredeemably,” Akeredolu declared.