By Eseoghene Emuke
A pan Urhobo support group, Emuvwie R’Urhobo Association also known as National Association for the Advancement of the Urhobo People Worldwide (NAAUPW) has called on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to maintain and stick to the age-long tradition of selecting the next Vice Chancellor of the Delta State University, Abraka, based on merit.
The group, however, urged the governor to disregard calls that the next DELSU VC should be appointed based on ethnicity.
In a statement signed by its President, Olorogun Paul Ejakpomehwe Abu, the group explained that an earlier report calling on Governor Okowa to “Send visitation panel to DELSU” was aimed to drag the name of Urhobo and the progressive achievements of DELSU under Professor Victor Peretomode to the mud.
The statement clarified that DELSU has never picked a VC since its creation based on ethnic consideration, saying that championing the call for Governor Okowa to appoint the next VC based on ethnicity were enemies of the ‘merit tradition’ which the revered institution is known for.
Olorogun Abu noted that a group, Coalition of Urhobo Youths (CUY) is a fictitious and unregistered group that lacks the interest of the Urhobo people and the institution.
According to it, “The news story is therefore a fabrication of high degree of figment of imagination by some masked sponsored mischief makers and their sponsors who are perpetually inclined to dragging Urhobo name to the mud and constantly provoking crisis in the Delta State University, Abraka which is known nationally and internationally as the most peaceful and progressive public university in Nigeria.
“This fictitious group and those behind it also want to drag unnecessarily, the good name of the hardworking, highly detribalized and people oriented Governor of the State, the Distinguished Senator Dr. Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, into the process of the selection of the next vice chancellor.
“Therefore, we cannot fold our hands and watch the mischief makers drag the good name of the Governor into an excellence based exercise such as the selection and appointment of a vice chancellor as well as feed the members of the public with disinformation through pernicious propaganda.
“The appointment of a vice chancellor is merit based. It is not a function of zonal rotation or ethnic inclination and benefit, thus the call for application is open to all tribes and nationalities. The most qualified person from any ethnic group or nation is appointed the vice chancellor.”
“Therefore, it is the climax of acute professional and procedural short – sightedness and ethnic bigotry for anybody to call for the exclusion of any ethnic group from being appointed the vice chancellor or a particular ethnic group to be selectively favoured in the appointment of the vice chancellor.
“Right from the time of Governor James Ibori, the appointment of vice chancellors of the university has been solely merit based. For instance, in November, 2014 when Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan was the Governor of the State, his kinsman and brother came second in the selection process and the Governor followed the due process and the doctrine of merit, and appointed the overall best candidates and not his kinsman.
“ Therefore, anybody or group trying to trade excellence for ethnicity or any other non-merit based factor in the vice chancellorship selection process, just like the fictitious and malicious group has done, amounts to instigating crisis and the extinction of excellence and such person or group of persons should not be taken serious”, the statement further posited.
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Abu, while commending Governor Okowa for his developmental stride in the institution, warned those who are bent on creating crisis in the institution to desist, adding that they would not allow anybody to drag DELSU into needless crisis.
It further stated that DELSU under the leadership of Prof Peretomode as Vice Chancellor has attracted huge funding to the university both from the state government and external agencies which has stabilized the institution.
“We state again that the Delta State Governor is a renowned personality who is highly detribalized, experienced and law abiding. He is divinely endowed with good sagacity that nobody can misdirect him. Nobody should therefore drag the Governor’s good name sarcastically into the process of appointment of the next vice chancellor nor should cause crisis in the peaceful Delta State University.
“The Delta State University has witnessed massive development in the past years under the current vice chancellor, Professor Victor F. Peretomode, who has attracted huge funding to the university from the state government and other external bodies.
“The university under his tenure has enjoyed uninterrupted academic activities for over the past four years. In fact, the institution within this period has not experienced any workers’ industrial strike nor any negative students’ action or reaction. The university is also renowned for maintaining high moral, academic and professional standards in line with global best practices.
“Therefore, the call by these persons who masked even at night is tantamount to throwing pebbles into a calm water just to see the bubbles for malicious purpose. This is neither necessary nor welcomed in a peaceful and progressive university such as DELSU.
“DELSU is a peaceful and progressive institution and nobody should be allowed to disturb this peace and progress. Those behind the above mentioned publication are mischief makers who want to pass through the backyard or shortcut to attain their inordinate ambition. This is not in any way in consonance with the university’s fine culture of global best practices.
“We therefore call on the well-meaning, peace loving and progress oriented people of our dear state and beyond to ignore the parochially, selfishly and maliciously motivated publication. We also advise them to leave the dear Governor of the state out of their misdirected mission that leads to nowhere”, the statement further added.