Suspended Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Toyin Ogundipe, has been recalled to his position following the approval of the report of the Special Visitation Panel which held that his removal by the Governing Council did not follow due process.
This was one of the highlights of Federal Government’s decision on the panel’s report which was submitted on 17th of September.
Another highlight of the government’s decision is the dissolution of the university’s Governing Council, who’s Chairman, Dr. Wale Babalakin had earlier resigned in September.
The government’s position is contained in a press statement released in Abuja today and signed by Mr. Ben-Bem Goong, Director of Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Education.
The statement says:
“President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Visitor to the University of Lagos has approved the Report of the Special Visitation Panel to the University of Lagos.
The highlights of the findings and recommendations approved by Mr. President are as follows:
- The removal of Professor Oluwatoyin T. Ogundipe as the Vice-Chancellor did not follow due process.
- The Vice Chancellor was not granted an opportunity to defend himself on the allegations upon which his removal was based. He should accordingly be re-instated.
- All allegations made against the Vice-Chancellor and the management of the University before and after the Constitution of the Special Visitation Panel should be referred to regular Visitation Panel for thorough investigation and necessary recommendations.
- The process adopted by the Council in the appointment of Professor Omololu Soyombo as Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University was inconsistent with the provisions of the law relating to the appointment of an Acting Vice-Chancellor.
- The Governing Council should be dissolved.
Mr. President after careful review of the report has approved all the recommendations of the Panel.
i) Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe is hereby reinstated as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos.
ii) The Governing Council of the University of Lagos chaired by Dr. B. O. Babalakin is hereby dissolved.
Mr. President hopes these steps will bring peace, stability, focus and direction to the University”.
The statement did not say anything about the setting up of a new Governing Council.
Also, the implication of this statement is that the last has not been heard about the allegations against the Vice-Chancellor, since the Special Visitation Panel has recommended that, “All allegations made against the Vice-Chancellor and the management of the University before and after the Constitution of the Special Visitation Panel should be referred to regular Visitation Panel for thorough investigation and necessary recommendations.”
It will be recalled that President Buhari on Monday approved the constitution of visitation panels to look into the activities of all federal universities in the country. The constitution of the visitation panels, according to the Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Abubakar Rasheed, is in line with the laws that stipulate visitation of public universities once every five years.
The respective panels, which would soon be inaugurated, are expected to tour the universities and bring back a 10-year report, in two separate batches of five years each. The report of each visitation panel will cover the five-year period, 2011 to 2015 and 2016 to 2020.
While Unilag and the other federal universities await the inauguration of their visitation panels, we hope that Professor Ogundipe will quickly get down to work again and build on the peace and harmony within the university community which the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Folashade Ogunsola, has been able to achieve in the last two months.
Epa Ogie Eboigbe, veteran journalist, broadcaster and public affairs specialist writes on, and analyses current and historical issues with a ‘wise pen’.