The real reason the removed Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, was reinstated has crystalised. Information reaching our newsroom has it that the Prof did not commit any financial infraction that warranted his being removed from office in the first place and this is according to the report of a Special Visitation Panel to the university.
The Director of Press and Public Relations in the Federal Ministry of Education, Ben-Bem Goong, said in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday that the panel’s report was submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari, the university’s Visitor. The President, it said, overruled Ogundipe’s removal by the university’s Governing Council, headed by Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN), dissolved the Governing Council and reinstated the erstwhile Vice Chancellor.
The statement said Ogundipe’s removal did not follow “due process” as he was not granted the opportunity to defend himself over the allegations leveled against him. The panel also faulted the process adopted by the Babalakin-led council in the appointment of Prof. Omololu Soyombo as Acting Vice Chancellor of the university, adding that the process was inconsistent with the provisions of the law on the appointment of an acting Vice Chancellor. It recommended that all allegations levelled against Ogundipe and the management of the university before and after the constitution of the Special Visitation Panel should be referred to the regular Visitation Panel for thorough investigation and necessary recommendations.
“Mr. President, after careful review of the report, has approved all the recommendations of the Panel. Accordingly, Professor Ogundipe is hereby reinstated as the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos. 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 said.
Also, the Chairman of UNILAG chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Dr. Dele Ashiru, has said the reinstatement of Prof. Ogundipe will ensure peace, progress and stability in the institution. Ashiru in an interview described the decision of the Federal Government as a vindication of the union’s position on the “authoritarian and dictatorial tendencies of the Babalakin-led Governing Council”. The union leader praised the Federal Government for upholding the truth, due process and saving the nation’s university system from undue dictatorship.
“It is our conviction that this decision by the Visitor to the university will enthrone peace, stability and progress in our varsity. We thank the Visitor, President Muhammadu Buhari, and the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, for enthroning the rule of law, due process and justice in UNILAG,” he said.