By Tunde Oyekola
In a bid to find a lasting solution to the lingering leadership crisis rocking the Osun State University (UNIOSUN), Governor Rauf Aregbesola set up a five-man visitation panel to the university.
The panel is headed by the Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Prof. Adebiyi Daramola, while Prof. Jacob Ladipo, Prof. Omotoye Olorode and Mr. Babatunde Adebayo are members. Mrs. Oluwakemi Kolawole will act as Secretary.
While inaugurating the panel, Governor Aregbsesola had asked it to investigate the basis of the simmering crisis and misunderstanding between the Management and Governing Council in the university with a view to finding a lasting solution to the problem.
WESTERN POST can reveal this weekend that what is at the root of the crisis bedevilling the university is the alleged financial mismanagement rocking the institution.
Specifically, the Governing Council of UNIOSUN had on February 3, 2015 suspended three principal officers of the institution namely the Vice Chancellor, Professor Bashir Okesina, Registrar, Dr Julius Faniran and Bursar, Alhaji Fatai Lasisi, over alleged financial mismanagement, award of unauthurised contracts, inflation of contracts, arbitrary appointment of staff and commencement of some academic programmes without approval by the Governing Council.
Sources hinted WESTERN POST that the three top officers allegedly paid some unapproved allowances to themselves and other staff of the university running to several millions of Naira without the approval of the council.
They were also alleged to have inflated contracts including a borehole contract at the Ikire Campus of the institution and made an advance payment to the tune of 75 percent of the contract sum without approval from the Governing Council.
It was also alleged that the 2015 budget of the institution was presented and defended at the Osun State House of Assembly without the knowledge of the council while TETFUND projects were also allegedly inflated.
While inaugurating the committee at the Executive Chambers of the Governor’s Office in Osogbo on Tuesday, Governor Aregbesola had admonished universities in Nigeria to be problem-solvers rather than creators of problems.
The governor charged the panel to investigate the basis of the simmering crisis and the misunderstanding between the Management and the Council in the university with a view to finding a lasting solution.
He also charged the committee to determine the roles of individuals and groups in the crisis, with a view to recommending appropriate steps to arrest the ugly situation and prevent a reoccurrence in the future.
The panel, according to Aregbesola, will also proffer solutions to addressing the issue of disintegration in relationship between students in the institution with special reference to the Ikire Campus.
He urged the panel to complete the assignment and submit its report within four weeks after the inauguration.
The Governor had said: “As you are aware of late there has been some disquieting dust being raised in the institution. The Ikire Campus was shut until recently. Now, the management and Council are at loggerheads.
“When a university is thrown into crisis, what the non-curricular teaching the students freely take away is the fighting, disorder and disorganisation.Whereas, the ultimate learning they should take away from the university is problem-solving skills, and not crisis-generating capability.
“Worse still, the energy of the combatants will be dissipated in writing petitions, counter-petitions and fighting, instead of positively deploying it to teaching, mentoring young and impressionable minds and conducting researches.
“This unintended consequence of the university system regrettably has been a reoccurring feature in Nigeria”.
He held that universities should direct their research into existential challenges faced by the society, by first solving its own problems, which he described as being similar to those of society.
Aregbesola noted that university can make its environment beautiful, clean, and run it with sustainable resources, which it can easily transfer to the society.
“I find it troubling therefore that our universities are not problem solver but crisis generators. We want to end this and return UNIOSUN on the path of its founding mission,” the governor said.
Aregbesola admonished the committee to be fair and listen to all the sides, noting that they should leave no stone unturned by following the truth and care less about stepping on toes.
Speaking, the Chairman of the panel, Prof. Daramola thanked the governor for giving them the opportunity to serve.
He said the committee would try its best to bring out the truth without any fair or favour and that members of the panel would not be short of courage in the discharge of its duties.