Some members of the University of Lagos Senate have berated Chairman of the Governing Council and Pro Chancellor, Dr Wale Babalakin, over the humiliation and removal of the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe.
Ogundipe’s removal was announced on Wednesday after a council meeting at the National Universities Commission headquarters located on Aguiyi Ironsi Way in Abuja.
He was accused of serious acts of wrongdoing, gross misconduct, financial recklessness and abuse of office.
“The general public is hereby notified that at an emergency meeting held on Wednesday, 12th August, 2020 and in accordance with the statutory powers vested in it by law, the Governing Council of the University of Lagos removed Professor Oluwatoyin T. Ogundipe from office as Vice Chancellor of the university with immediate effect.
“This decision was based on Council’s investigation of serious acts of wrongdoing, gross misconduct, financial recklessness and abuse of office against Professor Oluwatoyin T. Ogundipe,” Oladejo Azeez, Registrar and Secretary to Council, said in a statement.
Following the development, Prof Olukemi Odukoya and Prof Bola Oboh in separate messages seen by SaharaReporters on Wednesday said Babalakin’s action must be condemned by all lovers of transparency and good governance.
They vowed to ensure that the situation was challenged and management was protected from any further ‘humiliation’.
“Dear Senate members, the University of Lagos regulation has been stepped on and ridiculed. Babawale Babalakin, the Pro Chancellor, waited for the tenure of Prof. Chukwu and Prof. Familoni to end to call an emergency council meeting.
“Based on the Dagari report, without allowing the VC to defend himself, the Pro Chancellor called for a vote for the removal of the VC.
“I (Prof. Oboh), Prof Odukoya, Prof. Leshi and John Momoh voted against the removal of the VC. Six persons (excluding Babalakin) voted for. Babalakin then went ahead to announce the removal of the VC.
“The procedure for removal of persons in office is clear and this was pointed out to Babalakin several times but he turned deaf ears. He said he will announce the Ag. Vice Chancellor at 5pm. I have excused myself that I need to report to Senate members the shameful act currently ongoing. Please let us arise to fight this,” Oboh said.
Reacting to Ogundipe’s removal and also supporting the call for such ‘ridicule’ not to occur again, Prof Odukoya described the action as unacceptable.
“It is with great regret that I announce to you that the Pro Chancellor has had his way in actualising his machinery to remove the Vice Chancellor.
“At today’s 12th August 2020, emergency meeting of Council in Abuja, Dr Babalakin asked the VC and DVC (DS) to leave the meeting and by vote of 6 to 4 announced that the Vice Chancellor had been removed,” she said.
SaharaReporters had earlier reported that cameras were already stationed at the fifth floor of the National Universities Commission’s Secretariat in Abuja, venue of the meeting, where Babalakin is expected to make the announcement official and possibly name an Acting Vice Chancellor for the institution.
Recall that earlier in March, the Academic Staff Union of Universities at the University of Lagos warned Babalakin not to visit the school’s campus again.
Chairman of ASUU at UNILAG, Dr Dele Ashiru, said that the decision was reached during a congress of the union.
He said, “Dr Wale Babalakin is now a persona non grata on our campus. We don’t want to see him again anywhere in the university. He is no longer needed.”
The union’s position followed the suspension of UNILAG’s convocation ceremony as a result of a disagreement between the Governing Council led by Babalakin and management of the school led by the now removed Vice Chancellor, Prof Ogundipe.