The Federal University Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE) has, no doubt carved a niche for herself among her peers by way of outstanding achievements through sound, selfless and meritorious service by successive Management and stakeholders.
The institution has stood out significantly, among her peers, for a number of reasons, i.e becoming the foremost in terms of infrastructural development, foremost in numerical growth of students which population now stands at over 24,000, first among its peers to have a graduate school, first to begin the academic advancement tradition of organising inuagural lectures with two successful ones in her kitty, foremost in having both her staff and students winning laurels home and abroad with many of such laurels providing huge funds and learning equipment for the school, and foremost in having academic programmes with 11 faculties and over 60 departments, among others.
The foregoing strides recently increased the webometric ranking of the university and placed it at 185 out of the first 200 varsities’ in Africa.
With such admirable achievementd in 10 years of her existence, asserting that the university has matured to a level where negative external or internal influences should not override her progressive internal mechanisms cannot amount to an overstatement.
Also, given the foregoing success story of FUOYE, it is crystal clear that those who have been serving as helmsmen of the lvory Tower know their onions and have been doing excellent jobs. It also goes a long way to convince any Doubting Thomas that internally, FUOYE has capable hands who can steer the ship of the University for another five years after the expiration of the tenure of the out-going Vice-chancellor, Prof. Kayode Soremekun on February, 2021. So, it will no doubt, be an aberration to insist that the university’s next VC must come from outside! or be handpicked by the powers that be in Abuja and imposed on the already progressive system that obtains in the institution!
There are quite a number of reasons why stakeholders should be persuaded to allow merit to prevail over mediocrity in FUOYE VC race. One of such reasons is that over the time, allowing merit against mediocrity has easily given way for progress, effectiveness, fairness, transparency, efficiency and ultimately peace and stability as against inefficiency, ineffectiveness, ackwardness, backwardness, stagnacy, violence among other negativities that characterize a system bogged down by mediocrity which is bred by political manipulation, favouritism, neptoism and such like.
In the light of the foregoing, stakeholders, particularly, the Federal Government, are strongly persuaded to disallow any misplaced external or internal influences from truncating a just, fair and transparent process leading to the election of the next VC of FUOYE. If the process is fairly leading towards an internal candidate’s emergence as new VC, based on merit, let it be and if it is leading towards an external candidate’s emergence as the next VC, and such is also based on merit, please let it be. Do not be blinded by a negative, selfish and devilish call from some quarters that an external candidate must be imposed on FUOYE! Allowing such abberation would do more harm than good to the system. First, those internal candidates who have offered themselves for selfless and meritorious service, who are eminently qualified to run the University effectively and who have actually been responsible for FUOYE’s current success story, would be demoralized if merit, fairness and transparency are thrown to the winds in favour of imposing an external candidate.
Second, an imposed external candidate is definitely coming to reap from where he or she hasn’t sown and because he or she has been imposed, the temptation to ride roughshod over the system is really high even to the point of destroying an already progressive system.
Thirdly, an internal candidate, if emerged through a fair, transparent and just process, remains the best for FUOYE because he or she already understands the system, having been part of its success and shortcomings, and can therefore effectively navigate the ‘ ‘corners’, and easily make more outstanding achievement like his or her predecessors have made.
At this juncture, it becomes imperative to advise the stakeholders, especially the Federal Government to treat FUOYE’s case regarding the process leading to the emergence of her next VC with much care, sincerity, fairness and fear of God. A treatment that is akin to that which was given to the University of Lagos (UNILAG) where, at the end of the day, it became crystal clear that truth prevailed over falsehood, justice prevailed over injustice and above all, merit prevailed over mediocrity, is what FUOYE deserves at this crossroads.
Perhaps, a brief travel down memory lane would help here; time it was when FUOYE witnessed an era of one week, one trouble courtesy of the negative activities of militant unionism until a man who understands leadership with human face, ( the current VC) came on board and calmed all frailed nerves to the admiration of virtually all stakeholders, except of course, some unrepentant spoilers who decided to wage continuous and meanigless media war against the system in the guise of activism, but with a clear intent to damage the image of the institution, as they, to borrow the words of a great intellectual (name withheld for personal reasons), “lack the capacity to reflect reality in their depositions”.
We, definitely, do not want the great FUOYE to return to such dark era and that could only be prevented if fairness, justice, transparency and merit are upheld against mediocrity, selfish interest, political manipulation and manuverings, favouritism, neptoism, and other negativities. May God help Nigeria.
Wole Balogun is a Journalist and Lecturer with FUOYE. He can be reached via email@example.com.