UNILAG Crisis: Pro-Chancellor, Governing Council’s Member Bow Out

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UNILAG

The last is not yet heard of the lingering crisis rocking the 62-year-old University of Lagos, Akoka in Nigeria, following the resignation of key members of the institution’s Governing Council.

Though the Special Visitation Panel set up by the Federal Government to look into the affairs of the university submitted its report to the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, in Abuja on Thursday, two members in the institution have tendered their resignation letters, perhaps to way for resolution of the problem.

The University of Lagos Pro-Chancellor, Wale Babalakin (SAN), who served since May 2017 in the institution resigned his position on Thursday.

Babalakin queried “How can a committee of Vice Chancellors determine the culpability or otherwise of the actions of a Pro-Chancellor and a Governing Council? On the face of it, it is simply wrong! Furthermore, the Vice Chancellors on the panel were drawn from relatively smaller universities who are not likely to have a comprehensive understanding of the procedure contained in the University of Lagos Act (as amended).

“Even Vice Chancellors of state universities were included. As Chairman of the Federal Government negotiation team, I know the challenges faced with the administration of state universities. I only appeared before the panel out of my very great respect for you, sir. My training as a lawyer revealed to me very clearly, that the panel was inappropriate for the assignment.

Again, a member of the Governing Council of the University of Lagos, Mr Bayo Adaralegbe, tendered his resignation letter to the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, on Friday, saying his continued stay as member of the council will dishonour his late father, Prof Adeniji Adaralegbe’s memory.

He said, “Aside a Samsung telephone set, an Ipad device and the sum as sitting allowance per meeting, I did not in any way benefit materially, directly or through third parties from University of Lagos, certainly a rarity by today’s Nigerian standard (unless of course one wants to add the admission of a few candidates that I requested from the university management). Our council took its work very seriously. We served very selflessly, very diligently and worked extremely hard to manage the scarce resources of the university and improve its standing.

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“Dr Babalakin provided very strong moral leadership as Pro Chancellor and Chairman of Council. He kept scrupulously to the promise he made at our maiden council meeting not to bid for or be awarded contracts from the university. He actually did more. By December 2019 he had poured approximately N100m of his own personal resources on different endeavours in the university.

“At the time this situation arose, he was in the process of transferring to the university (at no cost to it) 40 hectares of land he owned in Ogudu, Lagos to address its staff housing problems. Those of us Federal Government appointees followed his strong moral leadership.

“Recent developments have, unfortunately, made my continued stay on the Governing Council of the University of Lagos very untenable. I experienced first-hand, the Vice Chancellor of a university falsifying interview results for the position of Director of Works. Prof Toyin Ogundipe threatened to beat me up during an interview session for the position of Director of Works because I resisted his attempt to falsify interview results.

“It was also in University of Lagos that I experienced a Vice Chancellor attempting to appoint a professor in respect of a discipline that the university did not have a department, did not admit undergraduate or postgraduate students, and through a one-page Memorandum to the Pro-Chancellor that touted the candidate as an ‘agent of change.”