The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities at the Lagos State University (LASU) has commended the decision of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos to cancel the process for the selection of a new vice-chancellor for the university.
They described the selection process as “flawed, error-ridden, and inevitably controversial.”
They made this known in a statement released on Sunday co-signed by the union’s secretary, Tony Dansu, and the assistant secretary, Adeolu Oyekan.
“Ordinarily, such a decision, backed by glaring facts and logic, should not have been difficult to take. We are however not unmindful of the peculiarity of our environment, and the outsize role of politics and intrigues on decisions that are supposed to be strictly, or at least mostly decided by transparent, unambiguous procedures,” they said.
The officials said they were aware of certain vested, powerful interests in the University who, exploiting their privileged access to information in an attempt to preempt the governor by using the media.
The statement said ASUU recognised the powers of the Senate, just like the Council, to choose those it deems fit as its representatives on the Selection Committee in accordance with the University Law, including those who served on the previous Committee.
“However, we do not feel it is within the powers of any vested interest, no matter how powerful or desperate, to cherry-pick aspects of a flawed, canceled process for implementation. We see such as an attempt to undermine the Visitor’s overriding aim of restoring confidence and transparency in the process and making it acceptable to all stakeholders,” they said.
The officials also said they hope the governing council will elect its own representatives to the committee under an open process, and carefully develop a clear set of objective, verifiable criteria for the selection of a new Vice-Chancellor in line with best practices, as opposed to the controversial advert and criteria that has brought embarrassment to the university.
They also said they hope that the Chairperson of the governing Council and past selection committee, Bayo Ninalowo, would step down from his position and stay away from the new selection process meant to correct the inconclusive one he midwifed.
“It is on record that Professor Ninalowo as the Chairman of the 10th Governing Council in 2015, Chaired the Selection Committee that produced Lanre Fagbohun as the 8th Vice-Chancellor of LASU, before it eventually came to public knowledge that his claim to being a Professor of the University since 2008 was spurious,” they said.
According to them, “The recent controversies confirm the now widespread belief that Professor Ninalowo is incapable of presiding over a transparent process. As the Visitor seeks to rebuild confidence in the process by ordering a fresh exercise, it will be incongruous and highly out of place for him to seek to be involved in the corrective process”.
Canceled selection process
Mr Sanwo Olu officially canceled the selection process for the VC appointment on Friday.
He said a fresh selection process, which would end in 45 days, should begin immediately.
This was contained in a statement signed by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, on Friday.
“Governor Sanwo-Olu was inundated with petitions arising from the selection process of the Vice-Chancellor by the Governing Council. After a thorough evaluation and investigation of the various complaints, Mr. Governor, in his capacity as the Visitor to the University ordered the cancellation of the process,” he said.
Mr Akosile said the outgoing Vice-Chancellor, Olanrewaju Fagbohun, had been directed to convene an emergency Senate meeting to appoint one of the Deputy VCs, who was not a candidate in the cancelled selection process as Acting VC from Monday, January 11 when Mr Fagbohun’s tenure ends.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the ASUU leadership wrote a letter of complaint to Governor Sanwo-Olu over what it described as ‘non-transparent’, the ongoing selection process for the institution’s 9th substantive vice-chancellor.
The letter, dated January 1, 2021, and signed by both the secretary and his assistant, Tony Dansu and Adeolu Oyekan, respectively, also passed a vote of no confidence on Mr Ninalowo.
The union also kicked against Mr Ninalowo’s chairmanship of the selection committee, and urged the governor, who doubles as the Visitor to the institution, to cancel the selection process if the allegations that the selected candidates are unqualified for the job are found to be true.
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