By Tunde Oyekola, Osogbo
The Governing Council of Osun State University, Osogbo has inaugurated a three-man panel to investigate the school’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Labode Popoola, who was accused of defrauding the institution to the tune of N106 million.
The Non-Academic Staff Union of the University had accused Popoola of financial impropriety.
The union alleged that Popoola had since inception of his tenure in November, 2016, siphoned and mismanaged the state-owned institution’s One Hundred and Six Million, Six Hundred and Seven Thousand, Five Hundred and Ninety-Two naira (N106,607,592.00).
This allegation was contained in a petition letter dated October 18, 2017 and signed by the Chairman and Acting Secretary of NASU, Comrade Isaiah Fayemi and Comrade Dada Kunmi respectively.
The petition letter which was sent to the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of UNIOSUN Governing Council, Mallam Yusuf Ali claimed that “Popoola had been doing everything in his power to discredit, silence and cripple NASU in Osun State University in order to get away with his financial impropriety.”
A copy of the petition letter which was obtained by our correspondent and tittled: “Reasons Why The Vice Chancellor, Prof. labode Popoola Is After NASU,” reads, “Sir (The Governing Council Chairman), we wish to affirm to you that the VC, Prof. Labode Popoola has since inception of his tenure siphoned the sum of Six Million, Six Million, Six Hundred and Seven Thousand, Five Hundred and Ninety-Two (N6,607,592.00) naira to his personal coffer and has mismanaged over One Hundred Million (N100,000,000.00) naira.
” This does not include lopsided awards of contracts, inflation of contracts sum, jettisoning of due process in the award of contracts and turning himself to contractor. ”
“Permit us to say that we are worried that the VC, Prof. Labode Popoola has been able to successfully commit all these under your watch as the Governing Council Chairman going by your antecedents. We are not also surprised because he (VC) has been boasting that he (VC) is in control of the Governing Council under you watch. Sir, his actions so far also confirmed the statement.
“Mr Chairman Sir, we are reliably informed that the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Labode Popoola has written against NASU to the Governing Council for a sole purpose of blackmailing our union NASU. If the VC is not predetermined to unjustly deal with NASU in order to cover-up his dirt, why is he monitoring our congress? Or can’t we gather together again as enshrined in Section 40 of Nigerian constitution of 1999 as
“All these against NASU, he (VC) is doing because he must have been informed that NASU is the only union that can expose his financial impropriety. Sir, NASU members have refused to be intimidated, humiliated, and victimised by the Vice Chancellor or anyone at the corridor of power because our Union stands for truth, justice, equity and operates with facts and figures.”
Meanwhile, NASU has called for the immediate probe of the allegations of fraud leveled against Popoola warning the Governing Council against sweeping the accusations under the carpet.
The petition letter further reads, “We therefore call on the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Mallam Yusuf Ali and the entire members of Council to do the needful and convince the entire staff of the Osun State University that he (VC) is not in control of the Governing Council. The leadership of NASU UNIOSUN branch will be available to stand by the allegations leveled against the Vice
Chancellor even in his presence.
” We use this medium to again call on the Governing Council under your leadership to please make sure that these allegations are thoroughly investigated and are not swept under the carpet because if justice is
prevented at this level, we would not hesitate to take a step forward by reporting to appropriate agency (ies) of the Federal Government of Nigeria. ”
However, upon this petition, it was authoritatively gathered that the university’s Governing Council in its meeting of Friday, 20th October, 2017, constituted a panel to investigate the allegations.
Our correspondent reliably learnt that a three man panel was set up to probe Popoola. The panel will be chaired by a Professor of International Relations from the University of Lagos, Prof Solomon Akinboye while other members are Mr. Awe from National University Commission (NUC) and Egnr. Nurudeen Adeagbo from the Osun state Ministry of Works.
Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor, when contacted by our correspondent simply described the allegations as a situation of “corruption fighting back in the university.”
Popoola also confirmed to our correspondent on the telephone that a panel was set up by the Governing Council to probe the allegations slammed on him by NASU.
In his response to a text message forwarded to him, Popoola said, ” Just do your independent search on Labode Popoola as a person, a Scholar and an administrator. Find out how much Uniosun is worth in cash after years of profligacy and sleaze by the current petitioners.
“Find out how a VC has succeeded without government subvention to pay staff salaries in full before the end of the month, for his 12 months in the saddle.
“Reflect also on what unionism has become in our clime- a tool of cheap blackmail by people who have no business being in the academia. We are dealing with a simple case of corruption fighting back.”
It would be recalled that the immediate past Vice Chancellor of UNIOSUN was also sacked for financial impropriety by the Governing Council of the institution.