There was confusion in the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, community, on Wednesday following the counter-reports with one claiming the termination of the appointment of the university’s vice-chancellor, Professor Oluwatoyin and the other refuting the claim.
While the university’s registrar, who also doubles as the secretary to the governing council, Mr Oladejo Azeez, signed the former report announcing the dismissal of VC by the governing council at its emergency meeting earlier on Wednesday in Abuja, the vice-chancellor signed the latter on behalf of the management, refuting the report of his sack about two hours later.
The registrar in his memo, titled: “Notice to the general public on the removal of the vice-chancellor of the University of Lagos, stated in conclusion that “The vice-chancellor was removed based on council’s investigations of serious acts of wrongdoing, misconduct and financial recklessness and abuse of office by Prof Oluwatoyin T. Ogundipe.”
But in the counter-memo signed by the vice-chancellor, refuting the claim of his sack, Professor Ogundipe, said inter-alia that “His purported removal is an act of illegality and cannot stand as it is in clear violation of UNILAG Act as amended by the universities (miscellaneous provisions) amendment Act, 2003.
He asked both members of the UNILAG community and the general public to disregard the information, noting that he is still the vice-chancellor of UNILAG.
The spokesperson of the Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Goong, reacting to the University of Lagos (Unilag) crisis, has said that the Council has the power to “hire and fire” anybody.
However, the various stakeholders in the university community, including the university’s senate, lecturers and non-academic staff, as well as students have reacted on both claims.
They said they were yet to understand the real position as regards the counter-reports.
They also said they were not believed yet that the vice-chancellor had been removed as nothing, according to them, warrants his removal.
They said they had confidence in his person and his style of leadership since he came on board as the vice-chancellor of the university two years ago, adding that his administration follows due process in all its activities.
The two Senate representatives in the governing council of the university, Professors Olukemi Odukoya, and Bola Oboh, in different statements, blamed Babalakin for Ogundipe’s purported removal, arguing that governing council did not follow due process.
While noting that Ogundipe was not given an opportunity to defend himself on accusations levelled against his person, they said the action of Babalakin in this regard is tantamount to ridiculing the sitting vice-chancellor and the university management and therefore condemned it entirety.
They said apart from them, two others who are Professor Foluso Ebun Lesi, who is the provost of the university’s college of medicine, Idi-Araba and Mr John Momoh, the National President of university’s alumni association against the removal of the VC at the meeting.
They said but at the end of the day, Babalakin went ahead to announce the removal of the VC, saying six council members had voted in favour of the action.
Also, the chairman of ASUU of the university, Dr Dele Ashiru, said if it was true that the vice-chancellor had been removed, the process of doing so was full of illegality and therefore would not stand.
According to him, ASUU, as a union has confidence in the leadership style of Professor Ogundipe and any attempt to remove him unjustly, would be resisted by the lecturers.
He said, “Babalakin cannot impose anybody on UNILAG and any attempt to do so will be resisted.”
He said the purported removal of the VC was a “further confirmation of the union earlier position that Dr Wale Babalakin is a lawless, and vindictive pro-chancellor.”
On his part, the acting Chairman of SSANU, Mr Olusola Sowunmi, said the union was still studying the two memos and all other events as unfolded on the matter and therefore would need clarifications.
Governing council can hire and fire- Ministry of Education
The spokesperson of Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Goong, reacting to the University of Lagos (Unilag) crisis, has said that the Council has the power to “hire and fire” anybody.
This is just as Goong explained that the ministry is yet to get a proper briefing on the earlier removal of the Vice-Chancellor of University of Lagos, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, by the Governing Council, led by ProChancellor Babawale Babalakin.
Goong emphasised that “due process” must, however, be followed before removing anybody.
“While the Ministry awaits for the proper briefing from the university authorities, it is important to reaffirm that council has the power to hire and fire but that due process must be followed in doing so,” Goong said.