Education

Controversy Trails UI Senate Election as Race for Vice Chancellorship Hots Up

Things may not be going on smoothly presently at the Premiere University, University of Ibadan as procedures for a new Vice Chancellor to emerge is been surrounded with controversies.

Just recently, election was conducted into the Senate seat of the institution where two members of the congregation Assembly, Professor P.O Olapegba and Professor E.O Ayoola were voted for as Senate Representatives on the Joint Council/Senate Selection Board for the appointment of the next Vice Chancellor of the institution.

Former Director, Distance learning center, University of Ibadan, Professor Oyesoji Aremu came third in the contest.

The election has however been described as a process that lacked transparency and was technically compromised.

Some sources at the institution, who preferred anonymity, alleged that the process was manipulated by some underground forces in favour of the two candidates who came first and second.

Meanwhile, one of the contestant for the Senate seat, Professor A. O. Dasylva, of the Department of English, Faculty of Arts, in a petition he wrote to the Chairman of the institution’s governing council, Mr. Nde Joshua Mutka Waklek, through the office of the Registrar and Secretary to Council of the institution, said the process was fraught with procedural improprieties.

He called for the cancellation of the election and its results and the conduct of a fresh election in order to protect the integrity of the whole process of the appointment of the next Vice Chancellor for the University adding that all those found culpable in the manipulation and electoral infringements should be appropriately sanctioned to serve as a deterrence.

Below is his petition:

This is a letter of protest against the process and outcome of the election of the Senate Representatives on the Joint Council/Senate Selection Board for the Appointment of Vice Chancellor (2020-2025), which held on Monday, 21 September 2020. This objection stems from our conviction that the election was technically compromised, fraught with procedural improprieties, as well as lacking in transparency.

I, therefore, wish to communicate to you and to other respectable members of the University of Ibadan Governing Council that the whole process of the election and its outcome is a far cry from a credible exercise, but a parody and travesty of an election process. It should be rejected in totality. My strong assertion against the election process and is based on certain technicalities and flagrant contraventions of electoral processes which are hereby underlisted:

(1). There was no record of valid nominations, nor any display of valid nominations duly presented to the Senate and the University community. As part of the rules governing electoral process, at the close of nominations, the names of contestants, their proposers and seconders, are usually made available to the electorates and to the general public. This was not the case with regard to the said election. At a formal meeting between the contestants and the electoral committee held on Friday, 18 September 2020, we pointed out this anomaly. The Registrar acknowledged the omission, apologized for it and promised to publish the valid nominations before the election. This was not done as promised, making the nominations to be shrouded in secrecy and the process to be technically flawed and invalidated, ab initio.

(2). It is apparent that the platform for the e-voting was compromised and manipulated. To be sure, there were two windows associated with the platform. One was meant to display the cumulative votes, while the other was to display the actual votes that accrued to each of the contestants. At the beginning of the voting exercise, a request was made for the open display of the voting process, namely the two windows, for close public viewing in order to ensure transparency. Unfortunately, this was not done. Instead, the tellers were given a link through which they could check vote counts. What was accessible through the link was the first window, which displayed the cumulative votes, denying the tellers access to the second window which should display the actual votes accruing to each of the contestants, being the main reason the tellers were there in the first instance.

It is obvious that the motive behind the non-display of the whole voting process for public viewing was fraudulent and instrumental in the manipulation of the outcome of the election process. More so, in the continuation of the election, there was a moment of freeze of the link for about 3 minutes. By the time the link was refreshed, the total vote had jumped from about 100 to 300 plus, defying the known pattern of vote counts. Also curiously, in the initial result declared after the election, Prof. M. K. Akinsola was listed to have polled 50 votes. Moments after, the figure was brought down to 20, making the election to appear as if it was a gaming show of numbers and an unequitable distribution of votes to preferred candidates.

(3). There are credible pieces of evidence that the two candidates who were declared the winners of the election (Prof. Ezekiel Ayoola and Prof Peter Olapegba) were openly and publicly associated with one of the aspirants for the Vice Chancellorship position, i.e. Prof. Kayode Adebowale. The evidence had been in the public domain, leading to demands from some quarters for the two contestants to recuse themselves and withdraw from the contest. For instance, on 8 September 2020, Prof. Francis Offor, who is one of the campaign managers of Prof. Adebowale, made a post on Arts Committee of Friends WhatsApp platform, stating the following: ‘As we are all aware, the process for the election of Senate Representatives to the Selection Board for the Appointment of the Vice-Chancellor has commenced. Having carefully examined all the candidates for this election, it is our enlightened position that the following will serve the best interest of the University:
1. Prof. Ezekiel Olusola Ayola of the Department of Mathematics and

2. Prof. Peter Olamakinde Olapegba of the Department of Psychology.

The same Prof. Offor was in company of Prof. Ayoola during the latter’s campaign visit. The said Prof. Offor also accompanied Prof. Ayoola to campaign in my office, among other staff offices the team visited.

Similarly, in another post on the Faculty of Science platform, the Dean of Science, Prof. Ayodele noted as follows: “Good morning. As promised, our two candidates for selection committee are Prof. Peter Olamakinde Olapegba & Prof Ezekiel Ayoola. Pls campaign for them separately. And never link them formally with Prof Adebowale. Election is on 21 sept. Thanks. Prof. Ayodele.

As has been said, these text messages that implicated Professors Ayoola and Olapegba are in the public domain and are verifiable pieces of evidence to demonstrate that the outcome of the election was predetermined and manipulated in favour of candidates fronting for Prof. Kayode Adebowale. It also shows that the candidates that have been declared the winners are not neutral but are interested parties in the race for the Vice-Chancellorship position. This clearly makes both candidates declared as winners to be incapable of objectivity and transparency.

There was also evidence of camp-voting. For example, Prof Deji Omole, one of the main campaign managers of Prof. Kayode Adebowale, was noted to have encouraged camp voting in his office. Reports went around that some Senate members were invited to Prof Omole’s office and were made to vote in a manner prejudicial to the process. And I, as one of the contestants, got the information, and therefore went to Prof. Deji Omole’s office to verify and challenge the action. Prof. Omole did not deny the allegation, but defended it, maintaining that he was a community leader and that people should, therefore, visit his office at will. Therefore, I have cause to believe that there were indeed cases of multiple voting on single computers which may necessitate a need for forensic checks to determine the traffic and truth of the voting pattern.

Sir, based on the foregoing, I am convinced, as many silent others, that the electoral process was faulty and the election itself was manipulated, technically compromised, and that the so-called declared winners lacked credibility to be transparent. My prayer, therefore, is that the election should be cancelled and its results set aside for a fresh election in order to protect the integrity of the whole process of the appointment of the next Vice Chancellor for the University.

The call for cancellation, and recourse to fresh election will assure all the candidates of fairness, transparency and a level-playing ground. I hereby request the institution of a panel of inquiry to investigate the enlisted allegations. It is also suggested that all those found culpable in the manipulation and electoral infringements should be appropriately sanctioned to serve as a deterrence.”

Similarly, yet another contestant, Professor Adesoji Fasanmade also condemned the process.

Professor Fasanmade in a petition to the chairman of the institution’s governing council, Mr. Nde Joshua Mutka Waklek, through the office of the registrar and secretary to council, described the election and its result as a manipulated one.

Professor Fasanmade maintained that his position is on the basis of several irregularities which raise questions about the validity of the entire process and the results announced.
Citing six major reasons, he called on the Governing Council to set up a committee to investigate the electoral process used in this election.

The major reasons he cited range from failure to display the list of accredited voters and disenfranchisement of some senate members from voting to ‘illegal’ conference voting among others.

He also requested that the entire election and the results released should be nullified, and a repeat election should be organized by an external body adding that the repeat election should be monitored by the Joint Council-Senate Committee whose membership will be agreed to by all candidates for the election.

His petition reads thus:

I am constrained to write this letter of protest as regards the election above which held on Monday September 21, 2020.

My position is on the basis of the following irregularities which raise serious questions about the validity of the entire process and the results announced:

  1. The list (and details) of eligible members of Senate who had been accredited to vote in the election was not displayed (hard copy or electronically) before the election to enable confirmation of details and validation of those eligible to participate in the election.
  2. The list of candidates (along with their sponsors and supporters) confirmed as validly nominated was not displayed (hard copy or electronically) for scrutiny and records of Senate Members/entire University at any time before the elections.
  3. An, as yet, undetermined number of Senate members were disenfranchised from voting as they did not receive the email containing the link to the voting platform on the day of the election. This, despite having received the link for the ‘mock elections’ a couple of days before. When some of such voters enquired about the reason for this from the organisers, they were informed that this was due to ‘errors’ at the point of entering their email addresses. This suggests that email addresses were not uploaded directly, but were entered manually which makes it difficult to exclude ‘selective entry’ of voters’ email.
  4. The distribution of the votes in the final result released does not follow the binomial distribution expected of ‘free and fair’ elections. Indeed, it is unprecedented that the two candidates earlier identified as being ‘candidates’ for a particular applicant would receive 60% of all votes cast, leaving the remaining seven candidates sharing the remaining 40% of votes.
  5. My ‘end-of-voting poll’ suggests that I should have received more than the number of votes ‘allotted’ to me.
  6. There are confirmed reports of ‘conference voting’ in some offices on Campus. This violates the most important principle of ‘e-voting’ which is the enablement of individual voting from individual personal computers. The question begging for an answer is if the voters who undertook conference voting normally go to the said offices to read their emails on a daily basis.

Sir, on the basis of the above, I am constrained to request that you kindly set-up a Council Committee to investigate the electoral process used in this election. I am also constrained to request that the entire election and the results released be nullified, and instead initiate a repeat election to be organized by an external body and monitored by Joint Council-Senate Committee whose membership will be agreed to by all candidates for the election.

Thank you for your kind consideration of my request sir.
Respectfully yours,

SIGNED
Adesoji A Fasanmade
Professor and Consultant Physician
Department of Physiology
College of Medicine, University of Ibadan

Oluwakayode Banjo/Adewumi Faniran

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