The University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, governing council fixed Monday and Tuesday, next week, for an emergency meeting.
This notice was issued by the university’s registrar, Oladejo Azeez, who doubles as the Secretary to the Council. Mr Azeez reportedly sent the notice to all the governing council members on the instruction of the chairman, Wale Babalakin.
According to sources, this is part of the measures aimed at addressing the series of controversies rocking the university.
The recent ‘harvest of queries’ on the campus whereby the governing council chairman instructed the registrar to query some members of the university management including the vice-chancellor, Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, had generated tension among the university staff and management.
Newsmen have also reliably gathered that a team from the National Universities Commission (NUC) is billed to meet with the warring parties at the university on Wednesday, May 15.
The aim of the proposed meeting by NUC, the regulatory agency of the federal government in charge of the university system, is to intervene in the matter, which many said is already degenerating.
ASUU writes Minister, NUC over Babalakin
Meanwhile, the university’s chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has addressed a petition against the council chairman to the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu.
The letter, which was routed through the office of the NUC Executive Secretary, Rasheed Abubakar, urged the Minister to caution the council chairman on what it described as his excesses and disregard for rules and procedures.
The seven-page letter cited various instances where it said Mr Babalakin did not observe the required procedures in taking decisions.
The cat and mouse relationship between the university management led by the vice-chancellor, Mr Ogundipe, and its governing council chairman, Mr Babalakin, had last week, further degenerated.
This was due to the issuance of letters of query to Mr Ogundipe, two of his deputies, among numerous other management members of the institution.
The institution’s chapter of ASUU had instructed its members who were queried to revert to it for guidance and further actions. ASUU described the action of the governing council chairman as obnoxious, vindictive and illegal.
It attacked the school’s registrar, Mr Azeez, who signed the queries on the instruction of the council.
In return, Mr Azeez fired at ASUU, describing the lecturers’ union as a body of liars. It accused the ASUU leadership of insincerity and inconsistency. But ASUU did not allow Mr Azeez to settle down after his response of May 3, before it fired back, describing the governing council’s scribe as a puppet to the council chairman.
ASUU also accused Mr Babalakin of running a ‘one-man show’ and that the Senior Advocate of Nigeria was fond of equating himself to the governing council he leads.
It should be noted that the whole ‘harvest of queries’ is rooted in an audit of the university account of the 18-month period between May 2017 and September 2018.
The chairman of the council’s committee, a lecturer of Chemistry at the Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Saminu Dagari, is said to have presented his report to the council chairman, who in turn, instructed the secretary to the council to issue queries to those indicted by the report.
But ASUU has challenged the power of the council chairman to unilaterally query the affected members of the management, saying the report was yet to be presented for debate at the council.
Some lecturers at the university, who would not want their names mentioned in print due to the sensitivity of the matter, have said the lasting solution to the lingering crises on the campus can only be through a visitation panel to the university.
They urged the education minister to set a high-powered delegation to be peopled by seasoned university administrators, representatives of anti-graft agencies and technocrats, to investigate the whole matter and present its report.
The lecturers, who challenged the council’s probe committee under the chairmanship of Mr Dagari of possible bias, said only an independent team could provide answers to the many questions over the controversies on the campus.
“Both the council and the management have their faults. It is a struggle for power and a war of ego. But such cannot be addressed without adhering to the university’s rules and procedures.
“This is a public service. So, to get the unbiased position, there is a need for visitation panel with terms of reference to cover the whole issues raised by the warring parties,” one of the lecturers said.