By Tochukwu Madukwe
Some Professors and academics from Enugu West zone, especially from Awgu, Aninri, Oji, Udi Ezeagu axis, who believe and have been lobbying to be appointed the substantive Vice Chancellor of Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) have been sponsoring and planting some mischievous and false stories on social media platforms to malign the person, office and government of the Enugu State, under Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, create division and confusion in Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) over the appointment of the Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof. Charles U. Ezeh, Acting Vice Chancellor of the University.
These 16 professors, who believe individually that they are already crowned as the VC of ESUT, have had series of meeting at La Nueva Hotel Independence Layout Enugu owned by a businessman from Awgu LGA. One of such meetings was held at the hotel on October 10, 2020 in which a decision was made to make ESUT ungovernable for the Acting VC until one of them is appointed VC of ESUT. What beats the imagination of all well meaning people is that these characters angling and lobbying to be appointed VC of ESUT are the ones spewing and sponsoring falsehoods and attacks against Governor Ugwuanyi and the visitor of the University.
One continues to imagine the kind of leadership they will provide if by omission or commission any of them is appointed VC of ESUT. Since these 16 professors are known now, the state and the security agencies should monitor closely their nocturnal and clandestine activities and hold them responsible for any infraction in the smooth running of ESUT.
One of such stories titled “How Gov. Ugwuanyi is playing Ethnic Politics with ESUT VC appointment” was planted in the popular social media news app called operanewsapp.com, where they alleged that Ugwuanyi was playing and promoting ethnic politics with Eze’s appointment without stating how and when.
The mindset of the writers of this sponsored and malicious article is anchored on mischief, bigotry and divisiveness as they neither have history, convention nor practice behind them. Appointments of Vice Chancellors and Acting Vice Chancellors in ESUT have always been based principally on equity, competence, circumstances on the ground and the Visitor’s discretion. So, apart from appointing the substantive VCs in rotation from amongst the three Senatorial zones, it is on record and verifiable that these underlisted academics have since 1999 acted as Vice Chancellors of ESUT and heaven didn’t fall and nobody accused the university owners, Visitor or Governor of playing or promoting ethnic politics. They include:
1. Prof. T.C Nwodo — Feb, 3rd- August 4th 1999, (6 Months)
2. Prof. Mark Anikpo –‘ 4th August 1999 to February 2, 2000 (6 Months) and,
3. Prof Chidi Ugwu 19th Nov. 2009 to June 21, 2010 (7 Months)
All these acting appointments were all made at a time of little or no emergency. Yet, in the discretion of the appointing authorities/Visitors ( Adewunmi Agbaje, Chimaroke Nnamani and Sullivan Chime) the University needed these stop gap appointments to mitigate certain developments. If these acting appointees who are/were from Enugu East and Enugu West could spend minimum of 6 months at a time of no known emergency in the University, what reason explains the holding of oppositional meetings and labeling Governor Ugwuanyi, who is also the university visitor, “Sectional”, just in a desperate move to remove a barely four months Acting appointee, Prof. Charles Eze; who is acclaimed to be changing the sad narrative in ESUT. Is it because Prof. Charles Eze is from Enugu North, in particular from Nsukka Local Government? Or is it because he is incompetent? If no, had Enugu North group or Nsukka group held any meeting nor labeled HE Sullivan Chime as Sectional in order to push Prof Chidi Ugwu out of office even after spending seven months in office? Why would any right thinking individual from Enugu West (Awgu or Udi) engage in this perfidy barely four months of Acting appointment of Prof Charles Eze?.
Does it not show bad judgment and bad character to malign Governor Ugwuanyi because of the vaulting ambition of some Professors, who ought to know better? It is quite unfortunate that the academics that are always critical of the politicians have become more desperate for powers than the politicians.
For the records, on the assumption of office as the Acting Vice Chancellor by Prof Eze on 22nd May 2020, the situation in ESUT as confirmed by all critical stakeholders was described as that of System and Financial Collapse. The Internally Generated Revenue was depleted with only N18M available and indebtedness of M539 and outstanding staff entitlement of N6Billion; this made it impossible to augment monthly subvention from State Government to pay salary; Lack of fairness and equity in the appointments; selective promotion; gross financial leakages, official academic fraudulence of all kinds, etc. The list of the new management’s achievements in clearing the mess it inherited is numerous and endless, and continues to reverberate in the University Community and need not detain us here.
This was the same university the immediate past Vice Chancellor inherited in a state of sound financial and academic stead just five years ago. Where were the 16 conspiring Professors when all these things were happening? What did they do to prevent or curb the mess? The 16 conspiring Professors did not accuse the Acting VC of non-performance or financial profligacy. Their only grouse against him and Gov. Ugwuanyi is that both of them are from Nsukka. Why this Nsukka phobia? Have they forgotten that Prof. Eze is a substantive Deputy Vice Chancellor?
He is overqualified to be Acting Vice Chancellor. So, why the blackmail of HE Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi over nothing? What should be the greatest preoccupation of the 16 conspiring Professors should be how to support Prof. Ezeh led team in addressing the stinking rots it inherited in ESUT and not to embark on campaign of calumny against Governor Ugwuanyi to appoint substantive vice chancellor from Enugu West zone. When and how the substantive Vice Chancellor will be appointed is at the discretion of the Visitor and Council. The Council and the Visitor know what is happening in ESUT and what must be done to bring ESUT back to stability.
Without mincing word or sounding hyperbolic, Gov. Ugwuanyi is the most fair-minded and equitable governor Enugu State has had since 1999. He has evenly and equitablely distributed developmental projects and appointments across the three senatorial zones unlike before now.
Madukwe writes Agbani road, Enugu State.