By Adebayo Olodan
Come next month (April), a new name is expected to emerge as the headship of Kwara State College of Education, Ilorin as the tenure of the incumbent Provost, Dr Saka Opobiyi would have lapsed after five years in office.
Even before it became public knowledge that the post of the Provost of the college will be vacant in April, some of those interested in the seat were said to have commenced discreet lobbying with political stalwarts and high profile traditional rulers in the state.
At the moment, no fewer than 13 aspirants from three tertiary institutions have indicated interest in the top job and had undergone screening by the Governorship Council of the college, last week.
Initially, there were 15 contenders to succeed Opobiyi but the list was reportedly pruned to 13 by a five-man selection team as specified by the college edict.
The aspirants according to a source within the institution, sat for written and oral test over two days, last week.
Four of those aspiring for the seat are members of the academic staff of the college, while nine others are from the Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete and the University of Ilorin.
Topping the list of those warming up for the seat within the college is the Deputy Provost (Administration), Dr Mukaila Taiwo. Others are; the Dean School of Basic and Remedial Studies, Dr (Mrs) Nimota Ojibara, her School of Science compatriot, Mr. Bolakale Adebimpe and the Director, Computer Information Technology Centre (CITC), Mr. Jimoh Ayinla.
Some of the contenders from KWASU are; Dr Abubakar Laro, who had earlier served as the Principal, COED, Ilorin Model College and later as lecturer, Department of Physical and Health Education of the institution.
the Kwara State University are from KWASU. Also in the race from the same KWASU is one Dr(Mrs) Binta Suleiman who was a former lecturer at Fine Art Department, COED, Ilorin. Mrs Suleiman is said to be married to the younger brother of Duro Suleiman.
Others are the immediate past sub-dean of Students Affairs, Dr. Abdulkareem Yusuf, former HOD English Dept, Faculty of Arts, Dr Abubakar Saheed, Dr (Mrs.) O. Dosumu and Dr Abdulmalik, all from the University of Ilorin.
Meanwhile, this medium gathered last night that the employees of the institution are divided over the choice of candidate for the position.
While a certain percentage of both academic and non-academic staff are said to be clamouring for a candidate from outside the college community, another fraction said for progress to be made, it will be better to pick Opobiyi’s successor from within the institution.
When contacted last night, the Acting Chairman of College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), however asked our reporter to check at the institution today (Thursday) to know the position of the union on the said debate.
“At the moment, I cannot tell you whether we are hoping for a candidate to emerge from within or outside the college. If you want to get where we stand on that, you will need to come down to the school tomorrow (Thursday). Fortunately, we will be holding a meeting tomorrow,” she submitted.
However, speaking on the debate yesterday, an academic staff of the college who craved anonymity said going forward; the selection committee should pick the most suitable among the nine candidates from outside the institution.
“The present Provost has done his bit for the institution but based on the record available before me, external candidates have performed better than those from within. For accelerated development, I will implore the Governing Council to name a candidate from the list of those aspiring from outside the institution,” he divulged.
In his reaction, the Public Relations Officer of the college, Alhaji AbdulWaheed Ayelabegan said it is erroneous for anyone to claim external candidates have performed better as provost than their colleagues selected from within the institution.
“While I will not like to join in the debate of who leads the institution, I however need to correct the misleading information that those that have held the position of leadership from within have performed less compared to those from outside.
“The achievements of the incumbent Provost, Dr Saka Opobiyi is there for all to see. Talk of any sector of administration. Also his predecessors from within such as Toyin Akanbi and one Dr Ibrahim Gbagba all recorded remarkable achievements during their tenure,” Ayelabegan stated.
Meanwhile, this medium gathered last night that members of the committee met yesterday in an alleged bid to shortlists three from the 13 aspirants for the position. Our reporter however could not confirm the names of the three candidates from which the substantive replacement for Opobiyi may emerge, as at the time of filing this report.