UI: Crisis erupts over appointment of new Senate member to elect new VC

 

A professor in the University of Ibadan have described the recently held election of two members of the congregation assembly of the University of Ibadan as senate representatives on the joint council/senate selection board for the appointment of the next vice chancellor of the institution as a process that lacked transparency, stating that it was technically compromised.

These allegations were made by one of the contestants for the senate seat, Professor Ademola Dasylva of the department of English in a petition he wrote to the chairman of the institution’s governing council, Mr. Nde Joshua Mutka Waklek, through the office of the registrar and secretary to council.

In the said petition, Dasylva said his objection was informed by his conviction that the process was fraught with procedural improprieties.

He maintained that his strong assertion against the election process and result is based on certain technicalities and flagrant contraventions of electoral processes.

The University lecturer called for the cancellation of the entire process and the conduct of a fresh election in order to protect the integrity of the whole process of the appointment of the next Vice Chancellor for the University adding that all those found culpable in the manipulation and electoral infringements should be appropriately sanctioned to serve as a deterrence.

The petition read in parts:

This is a letter of protest against the process and outcome of the election of the Senate Representatives on the Joint Council/Senate Selection Board for the Appointment of Vice Chancellor (2020-2025), which held on Monday, 21 September 2020. This objection stems from our conviction that the election was technically compromised, fraught with procedural improprieties, as well as lacking in transparency.

I, therefore, wish to communicate to you and to other respectable members of the University of Ibadan Governing Council that the whole process of the election and its outcome is a far cry from a credible exercise, but a parody and travesty of an election process. It should be rejected in totality. My strong assertion against the election process and is based on certain technicalities and flagrant contraventions of electoral processes which are hereby underlisted:

(1). There was no record of valid nominations, nor any display of valid nominations duly presented to the Senate and the University community. As part of the rules governing electoral process, at the close of nominations, the names of contestants, their proposers and seconders, are usually made available to the electorates and to the general public. This was not the case with regard to the said election. At a formal meeting between the contestants and the electoral committee held on Friday, 18 September 2020, we pointed out this anomaly. The Registrar acknowledged the omission, apologized for it and promised to publish the valid nominations before the election. This was not done as promised, making the nominations to be shrouded in secrecy and the process to be technically flawed and invalidated, ab initio.

(2). It is apparent that the platform for the e-voting was compromised and manipulated. To be sure, there were two windows associated with the platform. One was meant to display the cumulative votes, while the other was to display the actual votes that accrued to each of the contestants. At the beginning of the voting exercise, a request was made for the open display of the voting process, namely the two windows, for close public viewing in order to ensure transparency. Unfortunately, this was not done. Instead, the tellers were given a link through which they could check vote counts. What was accessible through the link was the first window, which displayed the cumulative votes, denying the tellers access to the second window which should display the actual votes accruing to each of the contestants, being the main reason the tellers were there in the first instance.

It is obvious that the motive behind the non-display of the whole voting process for public viewing was fraudulent and instrumental in the manipulation of the outcome of the election process. More so, in the continuation of the election, there was a moment of freeze of the link for about 3 minutes. By the time the link was refreshed, the total vote had jumped from about 100 to 300 plus, defying the known pattern of vote counts. Also curiously, in the initial result declared after the election, Prof. M. K. Akinsola was listed to have polled 50 votes. Moments after, the figure was brought down to 20, making the election to appear as if it was a gaming show of numbers and an unequitable distribution of votes to preferred candidates.

(3). There are credible pieces of evidence that the two candidates who were declared the winners of the election (Prof. Ezekiel Ayoola and Prof Peter Olapegba) were openly and publicly associated with one of the aspirants for the Vice Chancellorship position, i.e. Prof. Kayode Adebowale. The evidence had been in the public domain, leading to demands from some quarters for the two contestants to recuse themselves and withdraw from the contest. For instance, on 8 September 2020, Prof. Francis Offor, who is one of the campaign managers of Prof. Adebowale, made a post on Arts Committee of Friends WhatsApp platform, stating the following: ‘As we are all aware, the process for the election of Senate Representatives to the Selection Board for the Appointment of the Vice-Chancellor has commenced. Having carefully examined all the candidates for this election, it is our enlightened position that the following will serve the best interest of the University:
1. Prof. Ezekiel Olusola Ayola of the Department of Mathematics and

2. Prof. Peter Olamakinde Olapegba of the Department of Psychology.

The same Prof. Offor was in company of Prof. Ayoola during the latter’s campaign visit. The said Prof. Offor also accompanied Prof. Ayoola to campaign in my office, among other staff offices the team visited.

Similarly, in another post on the Faculty of Science platform, the Dean of Science, Prof. Ayodele noted as follows: “Good morning. As promised, our two candidates for selection committee are Prof. Peter Olamakinde Olapegba & Prof Ezekiel Ayoola. Pls campaign for them separately. And never link them formally with Prof Adebowale. Election is on 21 sept. Thanks. Prof. Ayodele.

As has been said, these text messages that implicated Professors Ayoola and Olapegba are in the public domain and are verifiable pieces of evidence to demonstrate that the outcome of the election was predetermined and manipulated in favour of candidates fronting for Prof. Kayode Adebowale. It also shows that the candidates that have been declared the winners are not neutral but are interested parties in the race for the Vice-Chancellorship position. This clearly makes both candidates declared as winners to be incapable of objectivity and transparency.

There was also evidence of camp-voting. For example, Prof Deji Omole, one of the main campaign managers of Prof. Kayode Adebowale, was noted to have encouraged camp voting in his office. Reports went around that some Senate members were invited to Prof Omole’s office and were made to vote in a manner prejudicial to the process. And I, as one of the contestants, got the information, and therefore went to Prof. Deji Omole’s office to verify and challenge the action. Prof. Omole did not deny the allegation, but defended it, maintaining that he was a community leader and that people should, therefore, visit his office at will. Therefore, I have cause to believe that there were indeed cases of multiple voting on single computers which may necessitate a need for forensic checks to determine the traffic and truth of the voting pattern.

Sir, based on the foregoing, I am convinced, as many silent others, that the electoral process was faulty and the election itself was manipulated, technically compromised, and that the so-called declared winners lacked credibility to be transparent. My prayer, therefore, is that the election should be cancelled and its results set aside for a fresh election in order to protect the integrity of the whole process of the appointment of the next Vice Chancellor for the University.

The call for cancellation, and recourse to fresh election will assure all the candidates of fairness, transparency and a level-playing ground. I hereby request the institution of a panel of inquiry to investigate the enlisted allegations. It is also suggested that all those found culpable in the manipulation and electoral infringements should be appropriately sanctioned to serve as a deterrence.”

About Hope Rawlings, Ibadan

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