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Buhari reinstates Professor Ogundipe as UniLag Vice Chancellor

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the reinstatement of embattled Vice Chancellor of University of Lagos, Professor Oluwatoyin T. Ogundipe after careful review of report of…

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the reinstatement of embattled Vice Chancellor of University of Lagos, Professor Oluwatoyin T. Ogundipe after careful review of report of the special visitation panel.

Buhari also said the Governing Council of the University of Lagos Chaired by Dr. B. O. Babalakin should be dissolved.

Following the report, he said the removal of Professor Ogundipe as the Vice Chancellor did not follow due process, a statement signed by Director Press and Public Relations of federal ministry of education, Ben-Bem Goong said.

He further said 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.

Buhari hopes these steps will bring peace, stability, focus and direction to the University.

According to the findings, the Vice Chancellor was not granted an opportunity to defend himself on the allegations upon which his removal was based saying, “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 statement reads.

The Issues

The Council had accused Ogundipe of wrongdoing, gross misconduct, financial recklessness and abuse of office among others, thereby appointing Professor Omololu Soyombo as Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University.

President Buhari had however prior to commencement of work by the panel asked both Professor Ogundipe and Babalakin to recuse themselves from official duties pending the outcome of the report of the special panel.

He also asked the university senate to convene and nominate an acting VC to steer the affairs of the university pending the outcome of the panel, which led to the appointment of Professor of Medical Microbiology, Folasade Tolulope Ogunsola as the acting VC, the first female to attain such position in the history of the university.

Professor Ogunsola’s appointment by the University Senate nullified Professor Soyombo’s appointment as acting VC by the governing council.

The Supremacy Battle

It would be recalled that the University had been enmeshed in leadership and union crises. The Governing Council, led by Dr. Babalakin had last year filed a petition alleging that there were some infractions in the award of contracts which include the on-going library project, among others.

It took the intervention of members of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Procurement who carried out an investigation into the contract award crises.

The supremacy battle between the University management and the Pro-Chancellor, Babalakin further lingered, leading to the postponement of the University’s 51st convocation scheduled to hold in March, 2020.

However, the highlights of the visitation panel’s findings and recommendations approved by President Buhari, who is the visitor to the university are that the removal of Professor Oluwatoyin T. Ogundipe as the Vice-Chancellor did not follow due process and that the Vice-Chancellor was not granted an opportunity to defend himself on the allegations upon which his removal was based.

A statement issued by the Director of Press and Public Relations, Ben-Bem Goong however noted that Professor Ogundipe should accordingly be re-instated.

Also, the findings stated 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 further noted that 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.

Meanwhile, the Chairman, Governing Council of the UNILAG, Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN) had resigned from being the Pro-Chancellor of the institution following his dissatisfaction with the outcome of the visitation panel to the university.

According to him, the outcome of the visitation panel set by the Federal Government was predetermined.

He alleged that there were too many vested interests in UNILAG matter, adding that the issues were not approached objectively.

Babalakin also alleged that the visitation panel was raised to exonerate the Vice-Chancellor and implicate the Pro-Chancellor.