The rubble over the allegation against the acting Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Professor Anthony Elujoba, appears not be dying anytime soon.
It was revealed to Channels TV correspondent by an insider in the institution who preferred to be anonymous that the Acting Vice Chancellor who is under investigation over alleged diversion of 1.4 billion Naira of the university’s fund, is believed to have violated the rule by drawing the remunerations of a substantive holder of his office.
Prof. Elujoba and the university’s Bursar, Aderonke Akeredolu, were on Tuesday in Ibadan quizzed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over the allegation.
He was appointed acting Vice-Chancellor for a period of six months with effect from July 21.
According to the terms and conditions of the appointment as approved by the Federal Government, Prof. Elujoba’s fringe benefits include N120,000 monthly as furniture allowance.
Investigations however revealed that part of the allegations against him in a petition to the EFCC was that he received over seven million Naira as advance payment of the allowance for the five-year tenure of a substantive vice-chancellor.
The petition alleged that the acting Vice-Chancellor and Bursar diverted monies from the university’s Fixed Assets and Endowment Fund, without approval from the Federal Ministry of Education and the Governing Council of the University, to pay themselves unapproved allowances, including the 7 million Naira as furniture allowance to Elujoba.
Prof. Elujoba and Mrs. Akeredolu, who arrived the Iyaganku office of the anti-graft agency in Ibadan at about 5PM on Tuesday, were quizzed for some hours and released on bail.
Before their arrival at the EFCC offices, scores of workers of the university and supporters had besieged the premises in solidarity with the officials.
When contacted, the EFCC Head of Media in the zone, Ayo Oyewole, declined to give details of the allegations against the acting Vice-Chancellor.
However, he confirmed that he was released on bail while further investigation was continuing.
The spokesman of the university, Biodun Olanrewaju, has however defended the accused officials, arguing that the acting vice-chancellor could not have been involved in financial malpractice as he was not in charge of the university’s finances.
“It is the bursar that is in charge of money, not the acting Vice-Chancellor. This is a man who does not even collect hospitality allowances or security vote as collected by other vice-chancellors,” Mr Olanrewaju said.
He said Prof. Elujoba was brought into the university to stabilise the institution at a time of crisis.
“As acting vice-chancellor, he does the same work as any vice chancellor. Forget about the title, he coordinates the affairs of the university just like a substantive vice-chancellor,” he added.
Insinuating that the development had political undertones, Mr Olanrewaju said Prof. Elujoba had already been recommended by the Senate of the institution as substantive vice-chancellor “with overwhelming majority of 295 votes against 8 votes for his opponent”.
The university’s spokesman also defended the loyalty demonstrated for the embattled vice-chancellor by workers at the EFCC office.
“You could see how all union members of the university stormed the Iyaganku office of EFCC in Ibadan to rally round him. That was to show that the man did not steal or embezzle as alleged,” Mr Olanrewaju stated.