A legal practitioner and Public Affairs Analyst, Barr Utum Eteng, has faulted Governor Ben Ayade over the appointment of Professor Akon Joshua as the acting Vice Chancellor of Cross River University of Technology, saying the Governor was usurping the powers of the Governing Council of the institution.
In an open letter, made available to our reporter in Calabar, Eteng argued that the powers of the Governor as Visitor to the institution do not include singlehandedly appointing VC.
“This letter is intended to let Gov. Ben Ayade know that he has no powers under any Sections of CRUTECH law to single handedly, in the exercise of his Executive power as the Governor of Cross River State, appoint a Vice Chancellor without going through the mandatorily laid down procedure requiring an advertorial calling for interested persons to apply with the governing council as the arrow head. It is mandatory that, such an advertorial has to be taken within the current term of the about-to-leave Vice Chancellor.
“The only statutory responsibility of Gov. Ben Ayade as the Visitor is only to select one person from a list of 2 or 3 names of applicants whose scores are graded in order of performance. It must be noted that the Visitor has the sole discretion as to who to select to be the Vice Chancellor provided it is from the screened and scored list. It will be illegal for him to go outside the list of names submitted, to do so will amount to an abuse of discretion.
“Though a State University, it is well established and acknowledged that CRUTECH is rated among the reputable Universities in Nigeria and should not be reduced to a glorified secondary school where principals of the school are changed at the wimps and caprices of the powers that be.
“Let me repeat for the avoidance of doubt that the office of the University Visitor which you hold as the Governor of Cross River State is a creation of statue and where the University is a Federal University, the Visitor is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The juristic personality of the office of the President/State Governor is different from that of the Visitor, though the President/State Governor as the case may be is different with that of the Visitor as the roles and functions are distinct. The limits of the functions of the Visitor is prescribed holistically in the Establishment Act/Law.
“Governor Ayade has to be properly guided whilst requesting CRUTECH governing council to be abreast with its responsibility to belatedly place an advertorial calling on potential applicants to vie for the position of Vice Chancellor of CRUTECH,” Barrister Eteng postulated, and called on the Governor to apologise to Prof Emmanuel Ingwu whose name was first announced as acting VC about two weeks ago before last week announcement of Professor Akon Joshua as acting VC amidst controversy.