schools in Lagos
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State

.No, we are working in interest of all – Council chairman 

By Adesina Wahab

Barely six months after it was set up, the Lagos State University of Science and Technology, LASUSTECH, Ikorodu, is now enmeshed in trouble as staff unions, both academic and non-academic, have petitioned the Visitor to the university, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, over some developments in the institution.

They are accusing the Governing Council of breaching the law establishing the university and taking over the role of the Senate of the university on a number of occasions.

In their petition, dated September 26, 2022, which was sighted by the Vanguard, they alleged that the action of the Council and others could lead to the university dying barely six months that it came into being.

The petition was signed by Dr Sanni K.O. Ajasa for the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Olayinka Uthman for the National Association for Academic Technologists, NAAT, Seye Ero-Philips for the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU and Ahmed Ajasa of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Allied Institutions, NASU.

However, in a chat with our correspondent, the Chairman of the Governing Council, Prof. Rasheed Ojikutu, said the Council is working in the best interest of the workers, and likened their case to somebody who is in prison and does not know who is working for him to be freed.

The workers commended Sanwo-Olu for the commitment and interest he showed to get the former Lagos State Polytechnic, LASPOTECH, transmute to LASUSTECH.

“Your Excellency sir, our unions are nonetheless worried that some of those employed to implement the transmutation exercise are currently undermining the process with several contraventions of the law establishing the university. As critical stakeholders in the university, the unions have lent their support to every good intention of the government in the transmutation process. 

“However, this must be seen to be consistent with established law and competitiveness of universities globally. We are not ignorant of the importance of ensuring a successful transmutation of the defunct Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu into the Lagos State University of Science and Technology (LASUSTECH). It is in this spirit that we wish to highlight some identified errors and violations that have been committed and that seem to be ongoing in the implementation by the university Council and the Technical Committee of the state as well.

They listed areas of infringement to include reneging on the agreement that all principal officers of the defunct LASPOTECH be allowed to complete their tenure in the new dispensation, the appointment of a serving public servant as the chairman of the council, the loss of income by senior staff as against the promise that such would not happen among others.

“The most absurd of them all is that the list of courses for the university was advertised through the Office of the Special Adviser on Education hence, undermining the Office of the University Registrar! This is contrary to global practice and a gross violation of the law establishing the university. Sadly, most of the courses advertised were marred with errors which necessary amendments and corrections cannot be effected without the constitution of the University Senate in whose portfolio it belongs,” they alleged.

In his reaction, Prof. Ojikutu said the workers appeared not to be conversant with the workings of a university.

“They talked about the Senate of the university, from the background of the workers, academic staff particularly, the most senior of them were Senior Lecturers in the polytechnic and even if all of them have PhD, can they just transmute to professors and constitute the Senate? In order to bridge the gap, we have gone ahead to get professors from across the country to beef up the colleges.

“Now, we have got at least two professors for each college among who we have former vice chancellors and former deputy vice chancellors. It takes a professor to make another person a professor. The idea is that some of them with the requisite qualifications would in a few years be nurtured to become professors too.

“We are surprised that some of them are saying that we just want to use them to brace the system for a while and they would be discarded. I spoke to a number of them and they said they are also consulting with colleagues in other universities. They are just being misled. If we advertise academic vacancies and throw everything open, many of them won’t have a chance. 

“The governor and the special adviser are doing everything possible to help them and right now, teams from the National Universities Commission, NUC, are in the school to acredit programmes and all the support necessary is being given the school,” he said 

Ojikutu added that the efforts being put into making the school take off properly as a university were already being appreciated as the number of candidates seeking admission there is increasing daily.

Recall that the Lagos State government in February this year got the nod of the NUC to upgrade the former LASPOTECH to a university and the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education to a university of education. 

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