UI VC Race: Olayinka explains use of e-voting, denies allegations of bias

Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka

Prof. Idowu Olayinka, the Vice Chancellor (VC), University of Ibadan, has reacted to a series of allegations levied against him and the irregularities in the process of appointing a new VC for the institution.

Olayinka disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Thursday.

He said due to the tedious process and difficulties encountered in manual voting, his administration as part of its programmes established e-voting in 2019.

“A similar electronic voting platform was utilised for election into various Committees of Senate/Boards and the representatives of Senate on the Council on Monday, 29th July, 2019.

“The electronic voting platform was designed, developed and deployed by students of the University of Ibadan under the supervision of senior members of the academic staff.

“The two elections were adjudged transparent and credible with eligible members being able to exercise their franchise from their location. This has led to increased participation in the electoral process.

“In order to mainstream the electronic voting into the election process in the University, the Congregation/Senate, two very important organs of governance in the University were subsequently  requested to approve the establishment of a Committee on Electronic Voting.’’

Olayinka noted that an11-member panel was set up for the e-voting  saddled with the responsibility of ensuring free and fair elections, while the announcement of election result is by the Registrar as the Chief Returning Officer in his/her capacity as the Secretary to Congregation and Secretary to Senate.

Speaking on the allegations of irregularities in the process and bias in the appointment of the 13th VC, Olayinka said electronic voting was adopted for the election of two members of the Senate to represent that august body on the Joint Council/Senate Selection Board for the appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor on 21st Sept., 2020.

“The turnout was unprecedented with 95% of the eligible voters casting their votes.

“From the foregoing, electronic voting has worked very well at the University of Ibadan since it was first introduced in July 2019 for all the six elections conducted.

“Some of the elections conducted were the 2018/2019 election into the Students’ Union (SU) Executive and the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) elections held on 7th and 14th Dec., 2019, respectively.

“Another is the electronic voting for the selection of a new Provost in July 2020, with a turnout of 90.1% of the eligible voters, the highest ever in the forty-year history of the College.

“One was surprised when two out of the nine candidates who contested the election of two representatives to the Senate on the Joint Council/Senate Selection Board for the appointment of a Vice-Chancellor decided to de-market this premier University on social media.

“In the process, they are inadvertently or deliberately impugning on the integrity of many highly respected individuals who were carrying out administrative assignments for the University.

“Since this matter has already been laid before the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, it is only decent that I do not comment any further at this point on the merit or otherwise of the grievances of the two colleagues who are members of the University Senate.

“The vast majority of members of the Senate are very happy with the outcome of all the elections conducted by electronic voting, including the one held on 21st Sept., 2020.’’

The VC said the University operates on the basis of the Committee System and in recognition of this much-cherished tradition, “I have not in any way influenced the process of voting nor the outcome of the election in any way.’’

NAN reports that since the Sept., 21 e-voting to elect two Joint Council and Senate selection board for the appointment of a new VC for the institution,  there have been a series of allegations and petitions on the outcome of the election. (NAN)