A Search Committee comprising seven University Court Members has started to look out for Heads of campuses for the constituent Colleges of the University of Sierra Leone as well as assessing the performance of the current Vice Chancellor, Prof. Albert Aiah Gbakima for either his removal or renewal for another four years.
Already, a request from the search committee has been sent to the junior staff, senior staff and academic staff of the constituent Colleges of the University for the Vice Chancellor, Professor Aiah Gbakima. The request sent to one group reads that; following a request to me from the University Search Committee, it would be appreciated if you could answer the following questions in block letters. The questions are: How long have you been in the system, would you advise the University of Sierra Leone search committee to recommend the renewal of Professor Gbakima and to also give reasons.
The Vice Chancellor was chosen by the Chancellor who happens to be the President of the Country. In this case, the Vice Chancellor is to be evaluated by staff of the University and a report of which is to be sent on Monday 18th May, 2009 to the search committee who would present their recommendations to the University Senate.
Apart from the evaluation of the performance of Professor Gbakima, a financial inquiry is presently on going against him and that Committee is chaired by Hon. P.C Bai Kurr Kanagbaro III. The other members are Alie Forna, Alhaji Swarray Deen, chairman NCTA, and the Principal of Grammar School, Akiwande Lasite.
The Search Committee members are: Hon. P.C Bai Kurr Kanagbaro III, Hon Chernoh Ramadan Maju Bah, Akiwande Lasite, Director General Ministry of Education, I. May Parker, and Professor Harry Turay.
The terms for the heads of campuses at Fourah Bay College, IPAM and COMAHS are over. Professor Jonas Redwood Sawyer of FBC has served his two terms and could not be re-appointed so also is for Professor Gevao for COMAHS. For IPAM, they have an acting head of campus.
Applications have not yet been sent out for the various vacant positions but indications are that for FBC, three names have emerged for the post. They are; Professor Joe A.D Alie former Dean of the faculty of Arts and University orator. He is Professor of History. The other is Professor Thomas Nyormah Dean of the Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences. He is a Professor of Chemistry. The third is Professor Ernest Ndomahina, Director of Marine Biology and Oceanography.
For the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM), Professor Ekundayo Thompson has been muted for the job but no name has come up for the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS) as they do not have anybody of professorial status.
Observers are focusing their attention to the candidates at FBC and some have even said the search committee might face a daunting task in the selection of the new head of campus. It is said that political reasons are strongly considered for the post as the three candidates are said to be linked to SLPP. For Prof. Joe A.D Alie, it is said of him that he is an active SLPP supporter, while Prof Nyormah is considered to be a passive SLPP member. Prof Ndomahima according to observers has a contrary characteristic as he enjoys the connection of his father who was APC and has also served as minister.
A critical view has it that political interference in to the activities of the University has hampered its progress. Prof Alie is considered to be the most qualified candidate to be deputy Vice Chancellor of FBC, as he became the first to become a professor and dean. He has also gone through the academic ranks at the University. But observers feared that political interference might lead to the wrong choice. By Ishmael Bayoh