The acting Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Anthony Elujoba, who is under investigation over alleged diversion of N1.4 billion of the university’s fund, ran into trouble by drawing the remunerations of a substantive holder of his office, investigations by PREMIUM TIMES have revealed.
Mr. Elujoba and the university’s bursar, Aderonke Akeredolu, were on Tuesday in Ibadan quizzed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over the allegation.
He was appointed acting vice-chancellor for a period of six months with effect from July 21.
According to the terms and conditions of the appointment as approved by the Federal Government, Mr. Elujoba’s fringe benefits include N120,000 monthly as furniture allowance.
Investigations however revealed that part of the allegations against him in a petition to the EFCC was that he received over N7 million as advance payment of the allowance for the five-year tenure of a substantive vice-chancellor.
The petition alleged that the acting vice-chancellor and bursar diverted monies from the university’s Fixed Assets and Endowment Fund, without approval from the Federal Ministry of Education and the Governing Council of the University, to pay themselves unapproved allowances, including the N7 million as furniture allowance to Mr. Elujoba.
Mr. Elujoba and Mrs. Akeredolu, who arrived the Iyaganku office of the anti-graft agency in Ibadan at about 5 p.m. on Tuesday, were quizzed for some hours and released on bail.
Before their arrival at the EFCC offices, scores of workers of the university and supporters had besieged the premises in solidarity with the officials.
When contacted, the EFCC Head of Media in the zone, Ayo Oyewole, declined to give details of the allegations against the acting Vice-Chancellor.
He however confirmed that he was was released on bail while further investigation was continuing.
The spokesman of the university, Biodun Olanrewaju, has however defended the accused officials, arguing that the acting vice-chancellor could not have been involved in financial malpractice as he was not in charge of the university’s finances.
“It is the bursar that is in charge of money, not the acting Vice-Chancellor. This is a man who does not even collect hospitality allowances or security vote as collected by other vice-chancellors,” Mr. Olanrewaju said.
He said Mr. Elujoba was brought into the university to stabilise the institution at a time of crisis.
“As acting vice-chancellor, he does the same work as any vice chancellor. Forget about the title, he coordinates the affairs of the university just like a substantive vice-chancellor,” he added.
Insinuating that the development had political undertones, Mr. Olanrewaju said Mr. Elujoba had already been recommended by the Senate of the institution as substantive vice-chancellor “with overwhelming majority of 295 votes against 8 votes for his opponent”.
The university’s spokesman also defended the loyalty demonstrated for the embattled vice-chancellor by workers at the EFCC office.
“You could see how all union members of the university stormed the Iyaganku office of EFCC in Ibadan to rally round him. That was to show that the man did not steal or embezzle as alleged,” Mr. Olanrewaju stated.