The management of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State has announced that some Indigenes of Ile-Ife have invaded the campus of the institution with charms and other fetish objects.
The University also announced that the development had forced the school to close its two major gates, thereby preventing staff, students and other stakeholders from entering or leaving the campus.
Tension had risen between the OAU campus community and the Ife Indigenes over the appointment of Professor Adebayo Bamire as the 12th substantive Vice Chancellor of the University.
The Ife indigenes, who started their protests immediately after the University Governing Council Chairman, Owelle Oscar Udoji announced the professor of Agricultural Economics as the new VC, are claiming that since the school was founded in the early 1960s, no indigene had been appointed as the chief executive.
In a press release made available to DAILY POST on Tuesday, by the institution’s Public Relations Officer, Abiodun Olarewaju, the University management alleged that the indigenes carried out the action in their bid to forcefully install their indigene as the next Vice Chancellor.
Olarewaju stated that, “The protesters, who initially blocked the main gate of the University on the first day and threatened staff and students to stay away from campus, became very violent the second day as they beat up workers, particularly the staff of the Security Unit, and vandalized their office at the main gate. Some of the security staff had to be taken to the University’s health centre for treatment.
“Today, Monday, 21st March, 2022, things took more dangerous dimensions as the indigenes beat up some OAU students who they met at the gate, blocked the two major gates as early as 6: 00 am, coming into the campus with charms, and other fetish items. They assembled at the motion ground of the University Secretariat, dressed in all-white spiritual traditional attire, chanting incantations while performing rituals.”
While stating that during the selection process of the VC, no member of the Board had foreknowledge of each candidate’s score before the final collation at the end of the interaction, he maintained that the University was aware of the false presentation of the alphabetical arrangement of the applicants.
Olarewaju, who reaffirmed that due processes were followed and merit was the basis for the appointment of the new Vice-Chancellor, added that the University Management is calling on the leadership of Ile-Ife to call the protesters to order so that the cordial relationship, which has been in existence, between the University and the Ile-Ife communities is not jeopardised.
Meanwhile, the President, Ife Development Board (IDB), Lawrence Awowoyin, has appealed to the Federal Government to intervene on the appointment of the University’s Vice Chancellor.
Awowoyin stated that appointing another non-Ife indigene as the V-C was an unfair act against the ancient town and its adjourning communities.
According to him, “Ife has competent and qualified candidates that can be appointed for the post, so, we Ife community are not agreeing with the announcement at all.
“It is an insult to us that after 61 years of OAU, they dimmed it unfit to appoint or to elect any of our sons. We are not particular about Ife, Ipetumodu, Origbo, Modakeke, but anywhere in the land.
“So, what I believe is that the selection was manipulated, it’s not the actual performance of the candidates they used to choose the right person.’’
The IDB president also lamented that what happened during the appointment of Vice-Chancellor of University of Ibadan, Oyo State was repeating itself in Obafemi Awolowo University.