Protests by some indigenes of Ile-Ife over appointment of new Vice Chancellor for Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) turned ugly on Monday as some of the protesters invaded the campus, armed with charms and other fetish objects.

The protesting Ife indigenes also closed the university’s two major gates as early as 6.00 a.m, thereby preventing vehicular movement from coming into the campus, while those inside the campus were disallowed from leaving, News Agency of Nigeria reports

The protesters also prevented staff members, students and other stakeholders from either coming into or leaving the university.

The protests began after the University Governing Council led by its Chairman, Chief Owelle Udoji, last Thursday announced a Professor of Agricultural Economics, Adebayo Bamire, as the 12th substantive Vice-Chancellor of the institution.

Mr Abiodun Olarewaju, the Public Relations Officer of the university, however, confirmed the incident in a statement made available to newsmen on Monday evening.

According to him, determined to forcefully install an Ile-Ife indigene as the next Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, some indigenes of Ile-Ife have invaded the campus of the university with charms and other fetish objects.

“Today, Monday, March 21, 2022, things took more dangerous dimensions as the indigenes beat up some OAU students whom they met at the gate, blocked the two major gates as early as 6.00 a.m, 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.

“The protesting indigenes closed the university’s two major gates, thereby preventing staff members, students and other stakeholders from either coming into or leaving the university.

“The protests by the Ife indigenes started last Thursday, March 17, 2022 shortly after the University Governing Council, led by its Chairman, Owelle Oscar Udoji, announced a Professor of Agricultural Economics, Prof. Adebayo Simeon Bamire, as the 12th substantive Vice-Chancellor.

“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 vandalised their office at the Main Gate.

“Some of the security staff had to be taken to the University’s Health Centre for treatment,” Olarewaju said in the statement.

He said that the Joint Council and Senate Selection Board shortlisted 16 candidates for the interaction for the post of Vice-Chancellor.

“The candidates whose names were arranged in alphabetical order were called in for interaction and each was scored by each member of the Selection Board.

“The score sheets of each Assessor for individual candidates were dropped into an envelope and sealed, with the signature of the Chairman of Council on each one.

“At the end of the interaction, the sealed envelopes were opened one after the other and announced to all the members.

“The score sheets were thereafter passed around for sighting.

“Then, the scores of the candidates were collated with Microsoft Excel and ranked from the highest to the lowest.

“The candidate with the highest score was eventually announced as the Vice-Chancellor by the Governing Council.

“For the avoidance of doubt, no member of the Board had foreknowledge of each candidate’s score before the final collation at the end of the interaction,” Olarewaju explained.

He said that the university was aware of the false presentation of the alphabetical arrangement of the applicants as the authentic list of applicants’ performance where unfounded allegations have been made of changing the “leading” candidate.

“The university hereby affirms that due processes were followed and merit was the basis for the appointment of the new Vice-Chancellor.

“The University Management implores the leadership of Ile- Ife to please call these protesters to order to ensure that the cordial relationship, which has been in existence, between the university and Ile-Ife communities is not jeopardised.”(NAN) 

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