Scores of Bayelsa youths on Thursday, staged a peaceful protest to demand for the appointment of indigenes into management positions in the Federal University, Otuoke (FUO).
They accused the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Mobolaji Aluko, of marginalising the host state and alleged that none of the principal officers in the institution was from Bayelsa.
The protesters converged on the main campus of FUO in the early hours and locked the gate against staff and students.
They proceeded from the main campus to the administrative buildings area where they were denied entry as the gate had been locked by some security personnel who got wind of the protest.
The protest, though peaceful, caused panic among residents of Otuoke as business operators promptly closed shop apparently for fear that hoodlums could take advantage of the situation to look.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards read: “Bayelsa youths say no to change of principal officers from Bayelsa”, “Registrar is not a Bayelsan. He is short-changing Bayelsans”, “Leave our woman bursar alone’’.
Others read: “We need equal representation in the management of FUO, Otuoke”, “IYC declares war if bursar and librarian are changed” and “VC and registrar must go now, Enough is enough”.
The President, National Union of Bayelsa State Students (NUBSS), Mr Richard Lawyer, who led the action, said that they were using the peaceful protest to send a strong message to Aluko and the school management.
He alleged that the vice chancellor removed the acting bursar, who is an indigene.
He also alleged that Aluko manipulated the retention of his godsons for the post of director, physical planning and development and that of university librarian, who are non-indigenes.
Lawyer said that the people of the state would not accept the arrangement in which principal offices including heads of departments were occupied by non-indigenes.
He said that they were dissatisfied with the way Aluko had been running the university, stressing that the marginalisation of Bayelsa people must stop.
He insisted that the acting bursar from Bayelsa must be retained.
“All sensitive positions in this university are occupied by non-Bayelsans; this not right. And it will not happen in our time.
“What is happening in Federal University, Otuoke will define the future of Bayelsans. But Bayelsa state students, youths and women leaders will resist it.
“We are not happy with the way the VC and his people have been running the affairs of the university. We are warning every one of them who is behind this marginalisation to stop.
“Even if the bursar will be replaced, her replacement must come from Bayelsa,” the students leader said.
However, the Registrar of FUO, Mr David Suowari, who spoke on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, denied and dismissed the allegations of the protesting students.
He said that the university authorities had no hand in the appointment of any principal officers.
Suowari explained that all such appointments were made by the Federal Government.