The vice-chancellor of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Michael Ologunde, is set to step down from his position.
This is despite the government breaching the university’s autonomy law on the appointment and dismissal of the embattled VC.
An official of the institution made this known to PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview on Tuesday evening.
This newspaper reported that the state governor, Seyi Makinde, on Friday, ordered Mr Ologunde to ‘step aside’ over reasons not stated in a letter seen by PREMIUM TIMES.
According to the letter signed by the state’s commissioner for education, science and technology, Olasunkanmi Olaleye, the VC was asked to hand over to the principal officer next to his rank.
The directive has triggered controversy on campus as major unions like the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) have called on Mr Makinde to reverse the VC’s removal.
PREMIUM TIMES understands that Mr Makinde violated the provisions of the University Miscellaneous Act as amended, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Law 2020 and the ‘university conventions’ that if there is any perceived misdemeanour on the part of any officer appointed by the law in the University, due process, according to the law, must be followed to address such.
Also, the universities’ autonomy law, which has been domesticated across state universities, did not give the power to remove a VC to the Visitor.
The power to suspend or remove him resides in the governing council of the University, who will recommend such to the visitor. In the absence of the Governing Council (like LAUTECH), the Senate of the university takes charge.
‘VC agrees to step down’
This newspaper reached out to the embattled VC but he did not respond to calls and text messages on the subject matter.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the institution, Lekan Fadeyi, told PREMIUM TIMES that the VC is set to step aside.
“If the government has said he should step down, he would be glad to ‘step aside’ for investigation of allegations against him.”
Asked what the allegations were, he simply said “I don’t know the allegations because I don’t have a copy of the letter.”
On the failure of the government to follow established rules, Mr Fadeyi said “I am not in the position to blame the government or the VC. The step aside order is enough opportunity for the VC to clear himself. The law-abiding VC we have, has complied.”
What the law says
The universities (Miscellaneous provisions) (AMENDMENT) ACT 2003 gives details on how a VC should be appointed and removed.
Section 3 of the law, states as follows:
“The Council shall select and appoint as the Vice-Chancellor one candidate from among the three candidates recommended to it under subsection (3) of this section and thereafter, inform the Visitor.’’
“The Vice-Chancellor may be removed from office by the Visitor after due consultation with the Council and the Senate acting through the Minister of Education.
“When the proposal for the removal of the Vice-Chancellor is made, the (Governing) Council shall constitute a joint committee of Council and Senate consisting of –
“(i) three members of the Council one of whom shall be the Chairman of the committee, and (ii) two members of’ the Senate, provided that where the ground for removal is infirmity of the body or mind, the Council shall seek appropriate medical opinion.
“The Committee shall conduct investigation into the allegations made against the Vice-Chancellor and shall report its findings to the Council.
“The Council may where the allegations are proved remove the Vice-Chancellor or apply any other disciplinary action it may deem fit and notify the Visitor accordingly provided that a Vice- Chancellor who is removed shall have right of appeal to the Visitor.
“There shall be no sole administration in any Nigerian University. In any case of a vacancy in the office of the Vice- Chancellor, the Council shall appoint an acting Vice- Chancellor on recommendation of the Senate.
“An acting Vice-Chancellor, in all circumstances, shall not be in office for more than 6 months”.
In the case of LAUTECH, the school has no governing council that could recommend the institution’s VC removal to Mr Makinde.
The Senate, which should take charge by convention, did not also recommend such.
Even when confronted with this, Mr Makinde justified his actions through his spokesperson, Taiwo Adisa who told PREMIUM TIMES that “the Visitor takes over the affairs of LAUTECH to strengthen things. There is nothing that says the Visitor is powerless as a governor.”
He, however, said the VC’s offences “are not meant for public consumption. He knows what he did wrong.”
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