The Pro-Chancellor of Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte (rtd.), has stepped into the controversy surrounding the eligibility of the serving Vice-Chancellor (VC) of the university, Prof. Barineme Fakae, to seek re-election.
The RSUST branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had opposed the bid of Fakae to seek re-election, stressing that due process was not followed in his selection in his first tenure.
RSUST ASUU branch chairman, Dr. Felix Igwe, said "selection of the VC should follow due process in line with the law of the University," regretting that the last exercise did not follow due process.
"The last exercise did not follow due process. That was why we went to court and the matter is still there till date," Igwe said.
But in memoranda sent to both the joint council and the Senate of the University, Karibi-Whyte, who is also the chairman of the council, said Fakae was eligible to be re-appointed as the vice chancellor of the foremost university of technology.
According to the memo, "appointment and Re-Appointment of Vice-Chancellors is governed by the provisions of the University of Science and Technology Law, Cap. 133, Vol. 6 Laws of Rivers State. This law in Section 1 established the Rivers State University of Science and Technology; transferred to the university the property of the College of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, and came into effect on the 6th of August, 1980.
Karibi-Whyte said the issue before the Selection Committee of Senate and Council was to select for recommendation to the governor a candidate suitable for appointment as vice-chancellor on the expiration of the tenure of incumbent vice-chancellor which comes to an end on August this year.
"I have set out the applicable enabling provisions which should guide the committee. I have endeavoured as the chairman to give as much assistance in the absence of helpful precedents in matters of this nature.
The Joint Selection Committee is bound by the provisions of the Statute. It is also obliged in the making of its recommendations to have regard to the council of the University whose recommendations will go to the governor for appointment," he said.
"There is no special provision for re-appointment. There is no separate procedure for a vice chancellor who is eligible for re-appointment. The noteworthy factor is that at any time in question there can only be one candidate in that category that is the incumbent vice-chancellor."
He insisted that the incumbent was eligible for re-appointment, stating: "It seems to me unarguable that an incumbent vice-chancellor is eligible and entitled to reappointment to exhaust his possibilities of serving as vice-chancellor. The chances of his success will depend entirely on the assessment of his performance by the council of the university with whom he had worked."
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