President Muhammadu Buhari has reinstated the embattled Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, who was suspended in August.
The president also dissolved the Governing Council of the university, formerly chaired by Wale Babalakin.
In a statement on Wednesday morning, the spokesperson of the Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Gooong, said the president hopes these steps will bring peace, stability, focus and direction to the university.
According to President Buhari, the initial removal of Mr Ogundipe by the governing council did not follow due process.
“The Vice-Chancellor was not granted an opportunity to defend himself on the allegations upon which his removal was based. He should accordingly be re-instated,” he said.
The president said all allegations made against the vice-chancellor and the management of the university before and after the constitution of the Special Visitation Panel should be referred to the regular Visitation Panel for a thorough investigation and necessary recommendations.
“The process adopted by the Council in the appointment of Omololu Soyombo as Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University was inconsistent with the provisions of the Law relating to the appointment of an Acting Vice-Chancellor. The Governing Council should be dissolved,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the crisis that led to the controversial removal of Mr Ogundipe as the vice-chancellor by the Wale Babalakin-led governing council of the university on August 12.
Mr Ogundipe was removed during a council meeting in Abuja. He was also accused of financial impropriety and gross misconduct.
After Mr Ogundipe’s removal, Theophilus Soyombo was appointed acting vice-chancellor.
Displeased about the move, Mr Ogundipe filed a case at the Lagos Industrial Court pressing the court to annul and set aside his dismissal.
The president, thereafter, appointed a seven-member committee to investigate the controversies in the school.
The crisis between the university’s governing council and the management reached its peak in March when the 2020 convocation, which had earlier been scheduled for March 9 to 12, was suspended.
Following the crisis, the president directed the pro-chancellor and the embattled vice-chancellor of the University of Lagos to step aside, while a special panel investigates the crisis rocking the university.
Two months after its submission, the federal government did not release the report of the UNILAG visitation panel, which was submitted by the chairman of the panel, Tukur Sa’ad, to minister of education, Adamu Adamu, on September 17, 2020.
The government only announced that the vice-chancellor has been reinstated.
He also resigned his position as the chairman of the negotiation committee on the federal government and universities’ workers’ unions.
“The membership of the Visitation Panel is simply inappropriate in the circumstance. 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!,” Mr Babalakin said.
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