As the race for the new Vice-Chancellor of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, Abia State kicks off, members of the host community and two student groups have insisted that it is their turn to produce the school’s helmsman.
The student groups which operates under the aegis of Abia State youths and Niger Delta Students union, during their peaceful demonstrations in Umudike and Umuahia on Thursday, made it clear that it was the turn of an Abia State indigene, especially from the host area, Ikwuano LGA to produce the next Vice- Chancellor of the federal institution.
Hoisting their placards up and singing songs of solidarity, the demonstrators said their outing was a peaceful exercise used to drum support for their agitation.
In their messages delivered through Comrade Cokey Lawson Nwachukwu for Abia State youths and Mr Samuel Cyril,Vice-President of Niger Delta Students respectively, the groups condemned in string terms, the alleged maltreatment of indigenes of Abia State and qualified academic staff of Ikwuano LGA in the selection of the Vice Chancellor of MOUAU.
They also regretted that no indigene of Abia State had occupied the position of the VC of the school in the last 20 years despite the array of qualified professors from Abia State, adding that no Abia State indigene is presently heading any federal university in Nigeria.
The message by Comrade Cokey Lawson Nwachukwu read “We came to pass a message to governing council of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike and all the governing council members screening the Vice -Chancellor candidates that they should give us an indigene as Vice Chancellor.”
“For the past 20 years, there has been no Vice -Chancellor of Abia State origin in any federal university in Nigeria.
This is on record. We know how other States operate to get a Vice-Chancellor, Rector, depending on the federal institution that is in their State.
We have always supported every Vice -Chancellor, Chairman of governing council or Pro-Chancellor that we have been given since the inception of this school, so why can’t they also support us to produce a Vice-Chancellor when we know that we have capable and qualified for the job.” said Comrade Nwachukwu.
The Niger Delta Students union in a related message claimed that there was a conspiracy against the people of Abia State in producing the VC of MOUAU, insisting that a candidate from the God’s own State should not be schemed out again.
Recall that traditional ruler of Umuariaga autonomous, Oboro clan of Ikwuano LGA, had in July, 2020 during a meeting with other traditional rulers of the land donors, demanded the position of Vice-Chancellor position, when the tenure of the present occupant, Prof Francis Otunta, expires .
The royal father while addressing a group, Progressive Citizens For Tertiary Institution, led by Mr Chinkwe Ndimele , mandated the group to select two candidates from Ikwuano and Umuahia South who would be presented for the V-C position, adding that it was their own undeniable turn.