Dr. Wale Babalakin
Why we allowed Babalakin into campus ― ASUU
NAAT: We are neutral
By Adesina Wahab
After about six months when he was declared persona non grata on the campus by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, the Chairman of the Governing Council of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, Dr Wale Babalakin, SAN, on Thursday came on campus to appear before the Professor Tukur Sa’ad-led Visitation Panel set up by the Federal Government to look into the affairs of the institution from 2017 till date.
This is just as the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, the Non-Academic Staff Union, NASU, and ASUU also appeared before the same panel.
Babalakin, who arrived the Senate Chambers, venue of the sitting of the panel at about 8.45 am, left to wait somewhere since the panel members were yet to arrive.
The panel members arrived at about 8.51 am in a bus belonging to the Yaba College of Technology and Babalakin came back to face the panel at about 8.58 am.
Babalakin, who came out of the Senate Chambers at about 1.08 pm, refused to answer questions posed to him by reporters.
He said since the panel began sitting, nobody had addressed the press about their appearance before it.
“I have only come to make my own presentation before the panel. Nobody has addressed the press about their encounters with the panel since it started sitting,” he said.
ASUU’s position on Babalakin
The Chairman, UNILAG chapter of ASUU, Dr Dele Ashiru, while going to make the union’s presentation before the panel, said Babalakin came on campus in his individual capacity and not as the Chairman of the Governing Council.
“It is gratifying that somebody who played the Lord of the Manor was made to appear before the panel. He came in his individual capacity as Dr Wale Babalakin not as the Chairman of the Council since he has been asked to recuse himself from official duties.
“Our position about him (Babalakin) as a union has not changed. It was passed by a duly held Congress and it is another duly held Congress that can reverse that. We too are making our presentation and defending same before the panel,” he said.
Ashiru, while speaking with the press after his presentation to the panel, said the source of the problem started with the composition of the Governing Council.
“Somebody who is from Ekiti State claimed to be from Rivers State to get appointed into the Council, another who is from Osun claimed to hail from Ekiti State and they are doing what they liked. We have made our point and we hope the panel will do the right thing,” he stated.
SSANU, NASU form JAC
However, two of the three non-teaching staff unions in the university, SSANU and NASU have formed a Joint Action Committee to make their presentation before the panel.
The third non-teaching staff union, the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT, through its Chairman, Comrade Sulyman Lawal, said the body’s position in the matter is to remain neutral.
“We are not in support of impunity and we are not being used by anybody and we won’t be used. We want due process followed in everything and we are not in support of impunity or any form of misconduct,” Lawal said.
In their 14-page memorandum sighted by our correspondent, SSANU and NASU are making case for the panel to retain Babalakin as the Chairman of the Council of the university.
The memo was signed by Olusola Sowunmi; SSANU, UNILAG, Kehinde Ajibade; NASU, UNILAG, Tunde Aderibigbe, SSANU, College of Medicine, Idi Araba and Michael Olofindinran, NASU, College of Medicine, Idi Araba.
To them, Babalakin has improved the welfare of non-teaching staff.
Also, they are appealing to the panel to recommend that academic staff should stick to their mandate and stop delving into matters that are in the purview of non-teaching staff.