The Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities(CVCNU) has debunked the recent media report that the wives of vice-chancellors of public universities were planning to go for a fellowship programme in Turkey amidst workers’ strike, saying the claim was totally untrue.
The secretary-general of the group, Prof Yakubu Ochefu, refuted the claim on Tuesday, in Lagos, at a sideline of the maiden edition of the higher education conference organised by the United States Consulate with many VCs as participants.
He said though there was actually a planned trip for a five-day conference in Istanbul, Turkey, it was for the top women officials in the university system from both the academic and non-academic units such as the deputy vice-chancellors, registrars, deans of faculty, bursars and so forth and not the spouses of VCs as the originators of the report had claimed.
He said in the first instance, that there is nothing like a committee of wives of vice-chancellors in existence while that of women leaders, who are senior officers in the system is not only recognised but has been functioning for many decades.
He said the idea and purpose of the group are, among others for fellowship and capacity building activities and funding to prepare and encourage more women, who are qualified and competent to aspire and compete for the higher responsibilities, particularly that of VC’s roles with their male colleagues in the university system.
He said originally and for a long time in Nigeria, only a few women had ever shown interest in the role of a university vice-chancellor let alone aspired to become one, reason the country has only 35 female VCs so far in history.
According to him, Nigerian universities have produced a total of 756 vice-chancellors so far in history and only 35 out of the number are females while the rest are males and such a huge margin is not good enough for the country.
“It is even now that we have 14 of them at the moment and the number is the highest so far in history,” he noted.
Prof Ochefu, who is a former deputy Vice-Chancellor of Benue State University, explained that women leaders going for fellowship programmes, particularly abroad is not new as it has been a practice for many years for the group.
He said even though both the academic and non-academic activities in the nation’s public universities are currently on hold due to the workers’ strikes, the fellowship programme had been on since January and had been scheduled for the group long before the commencement of the strike.
He, however, pointed out that what committees of VCs usually do is to give their spouses, especially wives a session at their annual general meetings to interact and discuss issues that will enhance their support for their husbands and nothing more.
“So, the report that wives of VCs are going abroad for the conference is a falsehood,” he emphasised.