The University of Lagos (UNILAG) chapter of the Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU) has hailed the reinstatement of Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, describing it as a victory for the rule of law.
The Chairman of ASUU, UNILAG Chapter, Dele Ashiru in an interview with Channels Television said the union is also throwing its weight behind the recommendation that a regular visitation panel looks into the allegations leveled against the vice-chancellor and then take appropriate action.
“The decision by the government to reinstate our vice-chancellor is indeed a victory for the rule of law, for due process and for the autonomy of the Nigerian University system. This is why we commend the visitor for taking this bold initiative.
“We hope that this reinstatement will usher UNILAG back to the path of peace, stability, and scholarly progress for which the University is known,” he said.
The Federal Government on Wednesday reinstated Professor Ogundipe as the Vice-Chancellor of UNILAG.
A statement by the Federal Ministry of Education explained that the decision was taken by President Muhammadu Buhari who approved the report of the Special Visitation Panel set up by the Federal Government to investigate the management crisis rocking the institution.
The report approved by President Buhari states that the removal of Professor Ogundipe did not follow due process and the Governing Council should be dissolved.
The University’s Senate and labour unions have also suggested the Vice-Chancellor’s removal contravened the University’s laid down procedures.
The school’s alumni association on Saturday called for the Council to rescind the sack and follow due process.
On Monday, Babalakin, who chairs the Governing Council, maintained that due process had been followed and Ogundipe had been found guilty of gross misconduct and financial misappropriation.
What Babalakin Said?
“First, let me repeat that the Council complied with due process in the removal of Professor Toyin Ogundipe.
“I’ve heard a lot of comments on all media. And these comments ignore a fundamental fact – Ogundipe has not denied any wrongdoing. He has not said that he did not spend N120 million renovating the residence of himself and two of his cronies without mentioning it to anybody. It was discovered. It was not mentioned, it was not prevented and there was no approval. That is patent illegality. And he has not denied it.
“Ogundipe has not denied that he created something very new in the University – the concept of security votes. Or he continued it – I don’t know when it started. But he paid security votes, which is money that requires no account in the University. He has not denied it.
“Ogundipe has not denied that he forged documents, in trying to present a candidate for the Director of Works. He was Chairman of the Committee and he was told to collate results. When he collated results, the second became first, first became second, he never denied it. On the floor of the Council – and it’s in the minutes – he did not have any comments about it.
“Ogundipe has not, till today, been able to present a proper account of the University. Three sets of people have looked at the account, none have said that the accounts represent a fair representation of the University’s financial position.
“In fact, he concealed it until two-and-a-half years after Council came in, when, a (Professor Omoleyinwa) report found out that he had concealed information and had presented what is not a budget as a budget.
“Ogundipe unilaterally sought to appoint a Professor into the University. This is the worst scandal in academia. He sent me a memo that I should approve that the Librarian becomes a professor. I am familiar with University systems. You just don’t become a Professor. You must go through the process and then it comes to the Council for confirmation.”
The Alumni Association of the University of Lagos has advised the school’s Governing Council to revert to the status quo and follow due process in respect of the sack of Vice-Chancellor Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe.
The Alumni Association offered the counsel on Friday after an emergency meeting was held.
“Without prejudice to the general powers of the University Governing Council to appoint and remove a Vice Chancellor under the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Act 2003 (No. 1 2007), and without apportioning any blame to either the Governing Council or the Vice Chancellor, the University of Lagos Alumni is of the view that before the Council can exercise such powers, it must follow due process, particularly as mandatorily provided under section 3(8), (9) and (10) of the Act in the removal of the Vice Chancellor and Section 3(13) in the appointment of an acting Vice Chancellor,” the Alumni Association said in a statement.
“Therefore, the Alumni counsels the Governing Council that the status quo ante the Council meeting of Wednesday, 12th August, 2020, be restored while the Alumni continues with its efforts at ensuring that lasting peace and harmony reign on the Campus as between the Council and the University Management in particular, and all sections of the University community in general, including the Senate, students, staff, all Associations, particularly ASUU, NASU, SSANU, NAAT, etc.”
Some union members at the University of Lagos marched with Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe on Thursday, protesting his sack as Vice-Chancellor.
The University’s Governing Council on Wednesday had announced the removal of Professor Ogundipe as Vice-Chancellor.
However, the union members – from the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), and the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) – asked the Federal Government to rescind the sack.
They gave their position after a Congress held on Thursday at the University.
In a joint communique produced after the meeting, the Unions said “the council violently and most lawlessly violated the law in the said removal of the Vice-Chancellor.”
They added that no notice had been served to Prof. Ogundipe on the allegation against him, no fact-finding mission was set up and no formal report was produced to substantiate the sack.
They concluded that the Professor hadn’t been afforded a fair hearing.
Professor Ogundipe’s sack was announced after a meeting of UNILAG’s Governing Council chaired by the institution’s Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Dr. Wale Babalakin.
The meeting was held on Wednesday at the National Universities Commission (NUC) in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
The Federal Ministry of Education, however, said it is yet to be briefed on the developments at UNILAG.
It, however, affirmed that the university’s council has the power to hire and fire, but that due process must be followed in doing so.
Channels Television learned that seven members of the council voted for Professor Ogundipe’s removal, while four others voted against it; one member voted that the Vice-Chancellor should rather be placed on suspension.
In a memo dated August 12 and signed by the Registrar and Secretary to the Council, Oladejo Azeez, Professor Ogundipe was “lawfully removed by the Governor Council at a meeting fully attended by all members.”
Azeez also announced the appointment of Professor Theophilius Omololu Soyombo of the Faculty of Social Sciences as Vice-Chancellor of the University “in an acting capacity.”
The Deputy Vice Chancellor of University of Lagos, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, has blamed human activities for the water hyacinth at the Ogun River.
He said this while leading a team of researchers from the University for a Field Work.
“Because of human activity going on there is on the increase, you have animals and other things they are working on being dumped in the river.
“You also have construction work going on here and the people throw some of the bamboo inside the river and because of that you have that blocking the pathway which the river is supposed to flow and pass the foot of the bridge.
“With that we have the accumulation of water hyacinth which has formed a mat on the river”, he said
The field work, he says, is to throw light into the phenomenon that led to the accumulation of water hyacinth around the base of the Berger Bridge.
Professor Ogundipe who blamed it on human activities, called for a close watch of what goes on around that area.
The Ogun River flows under the Kara Bridge around Ojodu Berger area of Lagos.
A part of the popular Ogun River suddenly went dry on June 18, 2016.
Unidentified green plants are seen on the river while the water body has given way