August 25, 2020

[Updated] UNILAG crisis: Politics that almost stalled emergence of acting VC

Anxiety mounts over fate of 13, 000 UNILAG graduates

By Adesina Wahab

The battle for supremacy by contending forces in the crisis rocking the University of Lagos, UNILAG, that stalled the sitting of the Senate of the university on Monday, almost prevented the Governing Council from holding its meeting on Tuesday where the election of Prof. Folasade Ogunsola as the Acting Vice-Chancellor was ratified, an investigation by Vanguard has revealed.

Following the announcement by the Education Minister, Malam Adamu Adamu, on Friday, August 22, that the Chairman of the Governing Council, Dr Wale Babalakin, SAN, and the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, should recuse themselves from official duties, and the setting up of a Visitation Panel to the university among others, the National Universities Commission, NUC, wrote the Registrar, UNILAG, Oladejo Azeez, to perform some official duties.

In a letter with reference number NUC/ES/134/VOL.24/432, signed by Chris J. Maiyaki, the Director, Directorate of the Executive Secretary’s Office, the NUC listed its duties regarding how the Visitation Panel would work.

In paragraphs 3,4 and 5 of the letter titled “Re: Special Visitation Panel to the University of Lagos,” the Commission directed that “The Registrar/Secretary to the Senate as well as Council, shall immediately convene the meetings of the two organs (The Governing Council and The University Senate) of the university to nominate and confirm the appointment of an Acting Vice-Chancellor respectively.

“And the Acting Vice-Chancellor should oversee the affairs of the university pending government’s decision on the report of the special Visitation Panel.

“You are requested to honour and ensure full compliance with the directive of the Visitor, as appropriate.”

It was gathered that on Friday night, Dr John Momoh was told to step in as the Acting Council Chairman.

Based on the development, parties to the crisis started working on how to have the upper hand at the Senate and that informed the memo by Azeez on Monday morning that no auditorium should be made available for the Senate to sit as he was yet to convene a meeting of the Senate.

READ ALSO: Governing Council ratifies Ogunsola as UNILAG’s acting VC

The contending sides were working on members of the Senate to have their preferred candidates emerge the acting VC.

However, by the regulations of the university, one-third of members could call an emergency Senate meeting and as they would form a quorum.

The Senate needed only 80 signatories and eventually, 167 signed to sit and emergency meeting was called.

After Ogunsola emerged and the Council was briefed, Momoh also called for a virtual meeting of the Council to deliberate on the Senate’s decision.

Though only seven members are required to form a quorum, eight agreed to the meeting and took the decision to ratify Ogunsola’s appointment as acting VC of UNILAG.

Meanwhile, everything is set for the Visitation Panel to be inaugurated and do its assignment.

Vanguard News Nigeria