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Govt partisan over report on LASU crisis – SSANU Chairman

By Alade Aromashodu
For over  four months that Lagos State Government set up a Visitation Panel to look into the whole crisis rocking the Lagos State University, LASU, its reports is yet to be submitted. The panel was given six months in the first instance and later extended by two months to give report which elapsed four months ago.

Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, LASU Chapter, has reiterated that it would revolt if the Panel delay its report more than necessary adding that “government is partisan and bias ab initio over the submission of report .”

The Visitation Panel was mandated to probe into the institution’s academic and administrative activities in the last ten year’s and take a critical look into the most recent activities in the school, all within six weeks.

It would be recalled that the five unions in the institution, staged a protest to the Assembly on December 22, 2009, calling for the removal of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Lateef Hussein. The House, which had earlier set up ad-hoc committees on different petitions from the school, felt disturbed that the crisis was getting out of hand.

The five unions, in their presentation at the public hearing, passed a vote of no confidence on the VC, and called for his removal. They accused him of financial impropriety, fiscal recklessness, despotic and dictatorial tendencies, victimisation, high handedness, discrimination and denigrating the certificate issued by the school, among other allegations.

The unions, which were represented by their executives included; LASU chapters of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU); Non Academic Staff Union (NASU); Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU); National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT). Other stakeholders who made presentation  included: LASU Alumni Association, Parents Forum, National Association of Nigerian Students, (NANS) and Concerned Senior Academic Staff of LASU, Nigerian Union of Teachers.

A former VC of the institution, Prof. Abisogun Leigh and Dr. Abubakar Momoh, a lecturer in the school also made presentations.

However, the man at the centre of the storm, Hussein, denied the charges, describing them as “frivolous and unfounded.” While praying for a quick resolution of the crisis, Hussein, said he was out to ensure discipline and encourage good values in order to attain the lofty goals of the institution, adding “we may have stepped on some toes in the process.

He said, he runs the school through the committee system which meets regularly and reports to him.
Chairman of SSANU, LASU Chapter and Treasurer Western zone, Miss Funmi Sessi made this summation in her Lagos office while fielding questions from Vanguard’s Education Weekly. She  urged the government to persuade the submission of the panel’s report saying the world is watching.

The Chairman who believed that the Ministry of Education that suppose to play a supervisory role has abandoned their role said there is no development in the university for the past 10 years noting that the University is just like a glorified secondary school which has been in a standstill.

According to Sessi, the Ministry colluded among themselves in order to impoverish the university stressing that when Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was leaving office, he gave the institution N1 billion for developmental project but none of those projects have been done yet.

The Visitation Panel which headed by Justice Sylva, a renowned academic and constitutional lawyer, Professor Itse Sagay, former deputy governor of Lagos, Alhaja Lateefat Okunnu, Mr. Kaoli Olusanya, Mrs. Moni Okunola as members and a retired permanent secretary, Mrs. Akran as the secretary, Sessi expected to come out with excellent report.

She stressed that SSANU expected the report to be submitted with the same fanfare that was used in constituting them noting that “we want the report to be ceremonially revealed on media, television, radio and newspapers,” saying Lagosians and the world are anxiously waiting for it.

Her words: “A lot of wrong have been done to us psychologically, physically and otherwise, we feel that the truth should be made known to the whole world so that we can forge ahead.

“The university is now in a stage of Comatose and standstill, we implore the panel to reveal the white paper ceremonially for peace to reign.

“We would not entertain a report that would be swept under carpet like Bababunmi, but if it happens that way we would revolt, stressing that “we already known our right and the right will set us free, we want freedom.

“We are not saying for politics purpose but for corrective purpose, we want to learn and others to learn from it so that this corruption will stop on our campus,” Sessi stated.


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