OAU: Community Board Releases Fresh Update On VC Controversy

OAU: Community Board Releases Fresh Update On VC Controversy

A community advocacy body under the aegis of the Ife Development Board on Monday gave further insight into the controversies surrounding the selection of the new Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awololwo University, Ile-Ife.

The board in a release signed by its president Comrade Lawrence Awowoyin as obtained by IFECITYBLOG insisted on alleged foul play in the selection process of the newly appointed Vice-Chancellor of the institution, noting that the situation is not unconnected to a disagreement over some portions of land between the institution and the host community.

The board added that several attempts and suggestions on its part to reach an amicable resolution of the matter with the university have been turned down by the outgoing Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede.

This situation, according to the board played a role in the alleged discrimination against the candidacy of an indigene of the town, Prof. R.A Adedoyin in the contest  for the post of the VC.

Read the full statement, 




"Since the Governing Council of the Obafemi Awolowo University advertised the vacancy for a Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, many stakeholders have understandably shown interest in the process and its possible outcomes.

"The OAU, hitherto known as the University of Ife, was established 61 years ago. It is, by all accounts, the largest University in Africa in terms of land mass. Ranked Number 14 by the National Universities Commission in 2021, the OAU has graduated thousands of students in many fields of endeavour. There is no doubt that the decision to establish the university in Ile-Ife - a city established as the cradle of the Yoruba as early as centuries BC - was conscious and deliberate: to identify with and celebrate the global acclaim and ancient civilization of not just the Yoruba people but also the the entire Oduduwa race worldwide. The university, as an economic asset and a driver of urbanization, has since contributed immensely to the development and visibility of Ile-Ife as a city and destination of commerce and tourism.

"In its 61 years of existence, the OAU has conducted several selections of its Vice Chancellors who have always emerged on the basis of criteria defined by its governing authorities. On all those occasions, the IFE community has never interfered nor sought to manipulate the internal affairs of the institution in favour of anyone, including its sons and daughters. 

"Just like the recent selection process, we have always held the view that our qualified and capable sons and daughters, who are part of the university community, should be free to equally exercise their rights like other candidates to contest and be considered for various positions according to the same objective parameters as may be set by their governing laws and institutions. 

"So, while like every host community, we have naturally desired the fair and just consideration of our qualified sons and daughters for some of the highest positions in federal institutions within our territory, we have never demanded these at the expense of the universally set standards or on conditions that may jeopardize the cordial relationship between the university and our people. Indeed, the only instance when an Ife indigene, Professor Anthony Elujoba, was appointed to act as Vice Chancellor, it was in strict accordance with the internal processes of the University, with no instigation or interference whatsoever from the IFE Community. 

"For the records, however, we wish to express here our disappointment and feeling of angst that after more than sixty years of its existence, the Obafemi Awolowo University has only counted our community worthy of one short-lived, acting vice chancellorship. Unlike other communities across our nation where federal universities have taken due consideration and positively responded to their yearnings for indigenes to be given the top posts e.g. Benin, Kano, Ilorin, Oye-Ekiti, Ibadan, etc., Ile Ife remains probably the only university city whose qualified indigenes have never once been appointed VC! 

"Notwithstanding the seeming discrimination against us, but because of our faith in the justness and reasonableness of our demand, we remain unshaken in the belief that our legitimate request for fair treatment as meted out to the aforementioned favoured communities shall soon be positively rewarded by the appropriate authorities.


"Any curious observer of the unfolding scenario and the untoward aftermath of the recent selection process in OAU, Ife must wonder why there is such an apparent tug of war between the gown and town. Why, for instance, is the IFE community raising allegations of deliberate manipulation of the process to effectively discriminate against candidates of IFE origin? Why is the university on its part, claiming that the Ife community is raising dust only because it simply wants to impose an indigene as Vice Chancellor without following due processes?

"On behalf of the Ife community, we wish to state categorically here that the crux of the matter is a pending land dispute between the community and the university since the emergence of the outgoing Vice Chancellor, Professor Tope Ogunbodede. Here’s the story: the IFE community, relying on the decades of rapport between both parties had drawn the attention of the university to the existence of some controversial parcels of land over which the university was laying claims. 

"On the basis of land title documents in the custody of our community, we had advised the university that their purported claims were invalid. We therefore sought for dialogue with the university authorities, asking them to produce gazetted documentary evidence in their possession so that both parties could easily reconcile their conflicting claims. The university consistently refused to avail us of such documents in support of their claims.

"Rather than co-operate to resolve the issue in the spirit of the mutual collaboration established over decades, the administration of Prof. Ogunbodede turned a simple dispute resolution process into an unbelievable war of attrition, alleging criminality against members of the community and willfully waging a media campaign that sought to malign and undermine our leaders in the eyes of the world thereby disrupting the peaceful and mutually respectful relationship of many decades.

"After our several attempts to engage in an amicable dispute resolution bore no fruits in view of the recalcitrance of the Ogunbodede administration, the IFE community did what the law prescribed by asking the university to go to court if the Ife community has truly encroached on the university land as alleged.

"These facts and other intelligence available to us indicate that Prof. Ogunbodede has been using this civil matter of land to create all manners of fear, anxiety and panic within the university community capable of turning the governing council Minister of Education and officials of the Presidency against the Ife community. Because he believes that the university must not cede an inch of what he considers to be their land, he has managed to manipulate these institutions into believing that the IFE community is against the Federal Government! This preposterous proposition amounts to morbid obsessional dimension for the outgoing Vice Chancellor, this is crux of the present crisis.

"Prof. Ogunbodede and his collaborators have since convinced themselves that if a candidate of IFE origin emerges the Vice Chancellor, he/she would automatically determine the outstanding land matter in our community’s favour. With such a subjective mindset, he has diligently tried to poison and mislead the Governing Council and officials of the Federal Government to believe in such false assumptions and wrong conclusions. This devious attitude therefore set the stage for the discrimination being suffered by one of our sons, Professor R.A.Adedoyin, who is contesting the Vice Chancellorship. 

"We are happy that, in the spirit of civil discourse and procedure, Professor Adedoyin has petitioned the Minister of Education and the Visitor, President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the allegation of discrimination and manipulation of the selection process. The Constitution is very clear. It says no Nigerian shall be discriminated against. The rules of the University and its procedures for selection over the decades are also very clear. 

"We therefore solidly support Professor Adedoyin's formal demand for a thorough interrogation of that selection process as we believe that he does not only have a good case but is pursuing a just cause. We consequently urge all lovers of justice and fair play to support his right to assert his freedom from discrimination.


"The above account and the evidence of discrimination have, no doubt, elicited various reactions from the community as individuals and groups have chosen various means of exercising their right to protest against what is generally perceived as a vexatious and deliberate act of discrimination planned, promoted and propagated by Professor Tope Ogunbodede, the outgoing Vice Chancellor.

"Nonetheless, and following the call of our revered father and king, the Arole Oduduwa & Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, we hereby join in appealing to members of the IFE community to suspend all further street protests in whatever forms they may have been organised so as not to prejudice and jeopardize the strong merits of the petition of Prof. Adedoyin to the Presidency.

"We assure you that all capable hands are on deck to make sure that a fairer, more credible, more just, non-discriminatory and more acceptable selection process is ordered by the Visitor, President Muhammadu Buhari.

"Finally, while suing for peace and awaiting justice, we wish to reassure the Federal and state governments, university authorities, students, workers and all other stakeholders nationwide that Ife remains a welcoming home to all and sundry. We shall forever remain the buxomly cradle of the Yoruba and home of OAU, one of Africa’s best and brightest universities. 

"To all who continue to support our calls for fairness and justice, we thank you for your kind understanding and especially for graciously standing with us.

"As we say in Great IFE lingo, ‘ALUTA CONTINUA, VICTORIA ACERTA’. The Struggle Continues, Victory is Certain!


Comrade Lawrence Awowoyin,


Ife Development Board."

IFECITYBLOG had reported that the university acting through its Governing Council, Chaired by Owelle Oscar Udoji on Thursday 17 March, 2022 announced the appointment of professor Prof. A.S. Bamire, a professor of Agricultural Economics from the Faculty of Agriculture as the 12th substantive Vice-Chancellor of the institution.

This development had led to series of protests by concerned indigenes and members of the Ife community, alleging a discrimination against the town and one of their sons in the VC selection process.

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