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OAU VC: Ife indigenes protest; block major roads

All gates leading to the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, are blocked by the protesting Ife indigenes over the appointment of the new Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Adebayo Bamire.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there was  total vehicular obstruction as all entrances to the university such as Sabo, Lagere, Enuwa, Sabo and Mayfair are blocked on Monday.

Ife indigenes expressed their displeasure over the new appointment, saying that an indigene of the ancient town could have been appointed instead.

They argued that it was unfair that none of their sons had been a substantive head of the institution since over 60 years of its establishment.

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NAN reports that the protests broke out since March 17, when the Professor of Agricultural Economics, Bamire was announced as by the institution’s Governing Council.

Speaking on the issue, the President, Ife Development Board (IDB), Comrade Lawrence Awowoyin, appealed to Federal Government to intervene on the appointment of the new vice-chancellor for OAU, Ile-Ife.

Awowoyin told NAN that appointing another non-Ife indigene as the V-C was an unfair act against the ancient town and its adjourning communities.

“Ife has competent and qualified candidate that can be appointed for the post, so we Ife community are not agreeing with the announcement at all.’’

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The IDB president said that what happened during the appointment of Vice-Chancellor of University of Ibadan, Oyo State, “is repeating itself in Obafemi Awolowo University’’.

“It is an insult on us that after 61 years of OAU, they dimmed it unfit to appoint or to elect any of our sons. We are not particular about Ife, Ipetumodu, Origbo, Modakeke, but anywhere in the land.

“So, what I believe is that the selection was manipulated, it’s not the actual performance of the candidates they use to choose the right person.’’

The protesters stormed Enuwa, Sabo, Lagere, Mayfair and stopped at Campus gate with their placards inscribed as “No Ife, No VC in OAU’’, “Ife candidate merits it’’, “Give us OAU VC’’, among others.

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The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Chief Owelle Udoji, while announcing the new VC at a news conference had, however, maintained that the council had followed due process in the selection.

When contacted for reaction, the Public Relations Officer of the university, Mr Abiodun Olarewaju, declined comments.

As at the time of filing this report, all commercial buses in the ancient city of Ile-Ife are not working, while all markets are shut.

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