By Alade Aromashodu
THE report of the Visitation Panel set up by the Lagos State Government has been a contentious issue at the Congress of the Academic Staff Union, ASUU, Lagos State University, LASU, Chapter over delay in submission.
The Visitation Panel was set up last year to look into the crisis at the LASU which grounded activities in the institution.
It would be recalled that the plenary session of the Lagos State House ofÂ Assembly was cancelled on October 22, 2009 for public hearing on the lingering crisis. The five unions in the institution, staged a protest to the Assembly, 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.
It was a massive mobilisation by the unions to the Assembly complex as every available space was taken over by union members chanting solidarity songs. 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 presentationÂ 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.Â Â The man at the centre of the storm, Hussein, however denied the charges, describing them as â€œfrivolous and unfounded.â€ 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 â€œwe 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.
The protest, however, prompted the Lagos State government to set up a Visitation Panel that was given three weeks after which they sought for extension of time. The report is not expected to be submitted.
The ASUU Chapter of the institution that met ante-penultimate week had resolved that its congress is seriously waiting for the report of the panel as the National Secretariat of ASUU, is impatiently demanding for this document.
According to the chairman of the ASUU, LASU Chapter, Dr. Kabiru Olusegun Akinyemi, who believed that the panel really worked but may not have submitted their report to the government saying, â€œthey might be putting finishing touches to it, because itâ€™s yet to be made public.
His words: â€œWe were invited, interrogated and they came to campus here, and we took them round the area that needs attention.
â€œI cannot say that they have submitted report because we expected that when such report is submitted, it has to be made public because the issue is in public domain,â€ Akinyemi said.
Kabiru further reiterated that his union hoped that the report ought to have been submitted but at the same time would not condone a situation where it would be kept under the carpet.
He pointed out that if there is a rancour between two parties and the third party intervenes, the onus of that third party is to ensure that there is lasting solution to the rancour.