A coalition of Kwara North Elders on Monday rejected the appointment of Muhammed Akanbi, a professor, as the new Vice-Chancellor of Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete.
The elders in a statement issued in Ilorin, described the decision of the state government to appoint Mr Akanbi as ‘insensitive’, claiming it is extremely against the principles of ‘equity, justice and fairness’ in such a symbiotic and heterogeneous political entity like Kwara.
Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq had on April 1 approved the appointment of Mr Akanbi in the statement issued by Sa’adat Moddibo-Kawu, the State Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Science and Technology.
Mr Akanbi who hailed from Kwara Central is the son of the late Justice Mustapha Akanbi, a former President of Court of Appeal and the pioneer Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
The statement, endorsed by prominent elders in Kwara North led by Shaba Lafiagi, a former governor and senator in the state, and Shehu Abdulrahman said that the zone was marginalised for the position.
“The entire people of the Kwara North Senatorial Zone in Nigeria and the diaspora have been much saddened by the appointment of Prof. Muhammed Mustapha Akanbi as the new Vice-Chancellor of the Kwara State University (KWASU).
“The appointment is quite nauseating and very insensitive because it goes extremely against the principles of equity, justice and fairness in a symbiotic and heterogeneous political entity like our beloved Kwara State.
“It is very timely for us to recall here that the fact that the Kwara State University was established with the resources of all sections of Kwara State is really never in doubt.
“Indeed, it is an undeniable fact that not until recently, our five local government areas that constitute the Kwara North Senatorial Zone contributed funds through monthly deductions from our monthly statutory allocations and internally generated revenue, not only for the establishment but also for the sustenance of the university,” the statement read in part.
It faulted the appointment as failing the norms and conventions in Nigeria’s socio-political engineering process of balancing the allocation of the resources and privileges derivable from common patrimony.
This, it said, included sharing of political appointments and positions of influence in government amongst the three senatorial zones of each state like the federal government sharing among the six geopolitical zones.
The situation, the elders said, was different in Kwara.
“Apart from the initial consideration in the three major positions where the governor came from Kwara Central; the Deputy Governor, Kwara South and the Speaker, Kwara North.
“The idea of sustaining that equilibrium in the interest of equity, justice and fairness has been jettisoned, with a clear disregard for the interest of the Kwara North Senatorial Zone, especially in the light of the subsequent appointments made since the advent of the present administration in the state.
“It cannot be argued or claimed that only professors from the Kwara Central Senatorial Zone are the only persons qualified for the position of the VC of KWASU.
“This claim could not stand as available facts disclosed that while the Acting Vice Chancellor Prof. Mahmud Sakah (from Kwara North) came first in the interview conducted, Prof Muhammad Mustapha Akanbi who was just appointed came third!
“Although, it is understandable that Your Excellency as the Visitor to KWASU reserves the right to choose a qualified person for the position of VC of KWASU, however, the pledges and assurances Your Excellency gave to the people of Kwara North Senatorial Zone that you will arrest the marginalisation on all fronts that the senatorial zone has been suffering for decades coupled with the zoning principle would have been considered in your decision in the appointment of the VC for KWASU,” the statement further quoted the elders.
Other signatories to the statement are Timothy Saba, Alfa Shonga, S.Y. Haliru, M T Mamman, S Y Abdullahi, Mohammed Haruna, Tajudeen Abdulkadir, Umaru Sha’aba, Mohamed Kudu and Kollo Rifun.
Sule Ahman Patigi, Dabarako Mohammad, who is a former Head of Service in the state, Zubairu Rogun, Abdullahi Lade, Attahiru Manko and former Speaker Benjamin Yisa, among others, also signed the statement.
NAN recalls that Kwara North Groups under the aegis of Coalition of Kwara North Groups (CKNG) had in a statement last week said that Mr AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq-led administration had marginalised the senatorial district in the appointment of aides.
The CKNG in its analysis stated that Kwara Central had 16 appointees, Kwara South 10, while only three appointments were made from Kwara North.
Meanwhile, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Concerned Stakeholders Forum in Kwara has dissociated itself from call for a review of appointment of Mr Akanbi as the new Vice of KWASU).
The forum said this in a statement signed by the former Chief Press Secretary to former Senate President, Masjid Adebimpe, and former Commissioner for Special Duties in the state, AbdulRasaq Lawal, in Ilorin on Monday.
They said the state Chairman of the Party, Kola Shittu, was not speaking for the Party.
“We dissociate ourselves from the purported media reports credited to the state party chairman, Engr. Kola Shittu, calling for the review of the appointment of new KWASU Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mohammed Olarongbe-Akanbi,” the statement said.
The party stakeholders’ forum described the controversial statement calling for review as self-serving and personal opinion of Mr Shittu.
It said that there was no time the party held an executive meeting, nor any key stakeholders consultation, where a decision was reached calling for the review of the appointment of Mr Akanbi as the vice chancellor of KWASU.
The party stakeholders maintained that the said statement was the imagination and opinion of an individual using his exalted position to seek cheap political relevance at the expense of party members who are the majority.
The statement said, “The purported press release was at the instance of the chairman alone, Mr Kola shittu, it does not have the support and endorsement of members of our great party.
“As party stakeholders, we would have ignored the report, but to put the record straight, PDP is an organised political party with a well-coordinated mechanism of addressing issues”.
The forum said as an opposition party, it has ways of assessing the government performance when it comes to serving the people as well as when it affects the wellbeing of the citizens.
“It is not for us to applaud or condemn the appointment of the government of the day.
“It is therefore suffice to say that the purported claim of Engr. Shittu was a misrepresentation of our party in the state, we thus, dissociate ourselves from the unofficial statement,” the forum said.
The new vice chancellor, who was former Director, School of Preliminary Studies, University of Ilorin, and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), succeeds the current vice chancellor of the University of Abuja, AbdulRasheed Na’Allah, a professor,
Mr Akanbi became the second vice chancellor of the university since its establishment in 2009.