The Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Universities in Nigeria has denounced the removal of Professor Olawatoyin Ogundipe as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG).
The committee’s position was made known by Professor Yakubu Aboki Ochefu, the Secretary-General of CVCUN, in an interview with journalists on Friday.
The UNILAG Governing Council had in a statement by Oladejo Azeez, its Registrar and Secretary, said Ogundipe was removed “based on the investigation of serious acts of wrongdoing, gross misconduct, financial recklessness and abuse of office”.
But Ochefu described the development as “a funny situation”, saying due process was not followed in the removal of the UNILAG VC.
He called on the Governing Council of UNILAG to follow due process in the removal and stated that the embattled Ogundipe should be given the opportunity to defend himself.
He said: “It is a funny situation, the VC is saying, ‘yes you have the power to remove me, but you have to do it properly; as far as I am concern as you have not remove me’, the GC is saying, ‘we have removed you.”
Ochefu also faulted the appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor by the institution’s governing council, insisting that one of the Deputy Vice-Chancellors is meant to be appointed in an acting capacity.
“The council has gone ahead to announce a new VC; the extant laws state that one of his Deputies should be appointed to act, UNILAG has three Deputy Vice-Chancellors, none of them was appointed as the acting VC and somebody else entirely was appointed.
“This is going to pose another problem because the Senate will not allow such a person to chair their meeting because they don’t know him within the context of laws establishing Universities,” he said.
However, Wale Babalakin, Pro-Chancellor of UNILAG, insisted that the sacking of Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe as the school’s Vice-Chancellor by the Governing Council was fair and followed due process.
Babalakin stated this at a press conference on Friday while reacting to a statement by the university’s Senate, which said the removal of Ogundipe did not follow due process.
The Pro-Chancellor re-affirmed the school’s Governing Council’s decision and accused Ogundipe of looting the University’s resources.
He said: “The Senate did not have a meeting, because it could not have had one,” he said. “The authority to call a meeting rests with the Vice-Chancellor and, as at the time he called the meeting, he was no longer Vice-Chancellor.
“Most people don’t know what the powers of the Council are vis-à-vis the removal of the Vice-Chancellor.
“I assure you that there was full compliance with the law in the removal of the Vice-Chancellor.”
Babalakin said members of the Council decided to remove Ogundipe because they “want the best for the university”.
“Series of attempts were made to reconcile, but the plain truth is that Professor Ogundipe has been looting the University, and looting it recklessly,” he said. “That’s the plain truth; we shouldn’t hide it,” he said.
Babalakin added: “There is no crisis in Unilag. What you have is a vocal minority benefiting extensively from the resources of the university.”