The management of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, has again changed the venue of its emergency governing council meeting to the conference room of the executive secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) in Abuja, federal capital territory.
The three-day meeting, which is expected to begin at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, had earlier been scheduled to take place at Fraiser Suites on Plot 294, Leventis Close, central business district, Abuja.
An external member of the governing council, who does not want to be identified on the pages of the newspaper, confided in our reporter early this morning about the change of the venue.
The source said; “I already got to Abuja planning to be at the hotel in the morning until another mail came in through the office of the registrar which announced the change of venue to the NUC headquarters.
“The new notice was received at about 8 p.m. on Tuesday.”
Meanwhile, a copy of the new notice, obtained exclusively by PREMIUM TIMES, and signed by the registrar, Oladejo Azeez, is entitled; “Change of Venue of the Emergency Meeting of Council.” The letter is referenced, AD/REG/CAU/38.
It reads in part; “Please, take Notice (sic) that the Venue (sic) of the emergency meeting of council scheduled for Wednesday, August 12th to Friday, August 14th, 2020 has been moved to the executive secretary’s conference room, 5th floor, National Universities’ Commission (NUC), Agunyi (sic) Ironsi Way, Maitama District, Abuja, FCT.”
The memo added that the time, agenda and other arrangements relating to the emergency meeting remain the same. “All inconveniences caused by this change of venue is regretted.”
The decision to hold the council meeting outside the institution had received condemnation from some relevant stakeholders including alumni members and parents, who accused the university of wasteful spending.
Reacting to the development, a graduate of the university’s department of English, Bemigho Awala, urged all concerned parties to be focused on getting general academic activities off the ground by leveraging technology for growth and development.
Mr Awala, who belongs to the UNILAG Alumni Network WhatsApp group, said; “Many private universities in Nigeria have embraced platforms like Zoom, Teams, Moodle to deliver courses to their students and have almost rounded off an academic session, while our public universities have remained in a limbo. This is unacceptable and as a nation, it doesn’t bode well for our national aspirations.”
PREMIUM TIMES had, on Tuesday, exclusively reported that the university would now be holding its governing council meeting in Abuja instead of its usual venue of the governing council chamber at the institution’s main campus in Akoka, Lagos.
This latest development, PREMIUM TIMES is aware, may not be unconnected with the internal wrangling among concerned parties, especially the perennial conflicts between the chairman of the governing council, Wale Babalakin, and the leadership of the university’s chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Some of the issues listed on the agenda of the proposed meeting include the approval of the university’s 2020 budget estimates, advertisement for needs assessment intervention fund, university’s COVID-19 action plan, outstanding reports of council subcommittees, pending matters and requests, among many others.
The crisis rocking the university over the perennial conflicts between the university management and its governing council’s leadership had in March taken a new dimension when its 2020 convocation ceremony was abruptly cancelled after some activities scheduled to be part of the event had already started.
The cancellation, which was ordered by the National Universities Commission (NUC), Nigerian universities’ regulatory authority, was in response to a directive by the education minister, Adamu Adamu.
Mr Adamu had responded to a letter addressed to the vice-chancellor by the council chairman, accusing the vice-chancellor of failure to share important details of the ceremony with the council.
The development was condemned by relevant stakeholders including graduands, parents, alumni members and workers of the institution.
However, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in the country and the government’s closure of all academic institutions, there had been no avenue for concerned parties to meet formally for resolution of the issues until the aborted council meeting was called in July.
But PREMIUM TIMES learnt the university has since mailed copies of notification of results electronically to the affected graduands ahead of the ceremony.