Unilag VC’s removal lacks due process – Vice Chancellors tell Babalakin-led council

File: Entrance of University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos State, Nigeria.

The Committee of Vice Chancellors of Universities (CVC) on Friday condemned the controversial sack of the Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos (Unilag), Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe.

According to the committee’s Secretary-General, Prof. Yakubu Ochefu, who spoke to journalists in Abuja, the sack of Ogundipe was without due process.

The CVC also condemned the appointment of an acting vice chancellor outside the university’s three deputy Vice-Chancellors, said Prof. Ochefu.

“The chairman of the council knows that the tenure of two members of the council has expired, so he waited for the members not to be in council to get the majority vote.

“It is like a hatchet job, we don’t want it to appear like that because of the integrity of University of Lagos.

”The integrity is very high and we don’t want council members to degenerate to that situation.

”As it is now, we have a stalemate and it is looking more in favour of the university senate than the council”.

Recall Echotitbits reported that Unilag’s Governing Council headed by Dr Wale Babalakin (SAN) sackee Ogundipe at its meeting in Abuja on Wednesday over allegations of infractions and gross misconduct.

While the Babalakim-led council went ahead to appoint Prof. Theophilus Omololu Soyombo of the Faculty of Social Sciences the Acting Vice-Chancellor, the institution’s Senate and all its workers unions have condemned Ogundipe’s removal, saying it flouted the university’s regulations.

Siting “extant law of the University”, Prof. Ochefu stated thaty if a vice-chancellor is removed, one of the deputies should be appointed to act.

“Unilag has three deputies, none of them was appointed as acting vice-chancellor but somebody else entirely.

“This is going to pose another problem, senate members will not allow such a person to chair their meeting because they don’t know him within the context of laws establishing universities,” he said.

Ochefu however called on the Unilag Governing Council to tow the part of due process, and make room for the Vice Chancellor, Ogundipe to defend himself of allegations leveled against him.

Ochefu, who stressed that fair hearing remained a fundamental human right, also noted that though the law establishing universities gave the council the power to hire and fire a vice chancellor, it should not be done in an arbitrary process.

“The challenge we have with this particular action is that the university community says the council did not follow due process; indeed, the communication from the embattled vice chancellor is clear and it is to that effect.

“In the procedure for removing a vice chancellor, you have to set up a joint council/senate committee.

”The vice-chancellor will be given the opportunity to defend himself; from there, a submission will be made to the council which will take a decision,” the CVC Secretary-General said.