By Adesina Wahab
The face-off between the former Chairman of the Governing Council of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, Dr Wale Babalakin, SAN, and the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, that rocked the university for some months last year has been attributed to the various interpretations given by both sides to the Procurement Act 2007 which led to conflicts in the areas of responsibilities of the Council and the management.
This was contained in the 261-page report of the Visitation Panel set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to look into the affairs of the university from 2016 to 2020.
The Panel, headed by the former Chief of Army Staff, General Martin Luther Agwai, also observed that another major area of disagreement was the interpretation of the University of Lagos Act 1967.
The Panel, which also had as members Mr Olufemi Agunbiade, Mr Agele John Alufohai, Malam Abubakar Maikafi, Mrs Ogochukwu Rose Onuoha, Mr Umar Yahaya and Mr Ashafa Ladan, did not mention specific areas of the Procurement Act and UNILAG Act that caused the said disaffection.
It, however, recommended that, “It is necessary to review and properly interpret the Procurement Act 2007 and the University of Lagos Act 1967 so as to avoid conflicting responsibilities and forestall the possibility of unhealthy rivalry.”
While the panel commended the management and Council in some areas, it lashed them in certain aspects.
For the management, the panel said only 10 out of the 29 income-generating units such as UNILAG Holding, UNILAG Consult etc were shown in the accounting books and called for the blocking of leakages in those areas.
The IGUs generated N34 billion during the period under review.
It also faulted the accounting software being used by the university and that the format of periodic budget performance report presented to the Governing Council has major deficiencies, adding that, “It lacks the critical aspect management information, performance review criteria, and presentation.”
It lauded the management for giving the internally generated revenue of the university a boost, adding, “The leadership quality of the different organs had been laudable over time that has earned it national and international reputation with consequent ranking among the 1000 top universities globally until the 2018 crisis.”
It also advised that the Governing Council should stick to its responsibilities as contained in the extant laws.
On the total amount that accrued to the university between 2016 and 2020, the panel put the figure at N84.18 billion compared to N94.5 billion it got from 2011 to 2015.
Allocation from the Federal Government was N53.25 billion, while the IGR was put at N28.93billion.
Out of the money from the government, the sum of N46.8 billion was for overhead costs, emoluments, and others, leaving a huge gap in the finance of capital projects.
The panel also faulted the inability of the university to meet the benchmark of the National Universities Commission, NUC, in the number of lecturers with doctorate degrees.
While the NUC suggested that not less than 70 percent of university teachers should have P.hD, only 623 lecturers or 37 percent academic staff have the degree.
Out of a workforce of 4,855, only 1,673 are academic while the rest are non-academic.
Of the academic staff, 244 are professors, 188 are associate professors, 388 are senior lecturers, 292 are lecturers 1, 72 are graduate assistants, three are reader/ librarian among others.
It appealed to the government to help the institution build up the capacity of its teachers.