By Kuni Tyessi
The federal government has inaugurated the Presidential Visitation Panel which has been saddled with the responsibility of looking into the crisis rocking the University of Lagos (UNILAG).
This is coming on the heels of the earlier removal of the institution’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, by the university’s Governing Council.
￼The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who inaugurated the panel headed by Prof. Tukur Sa’ad, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday in Abuja, however, warned members against interference with the activities of the university management.
But he urged all stakeholders in the university to fully cooperate with the panel and to allow it to work unhindered.
He said: “I am confident that, as members, you will bring to bear your expertise in university administration in the discharge of this task, in order to bring the institution back to the path of progress and greatness.”
￼The minister, who noted that “councils are to lay down policies while managements are to implement them”, regretted that: “Over the past one year, the ministry has been inundated with complaints and correspondences from the management and the governing council of the University of Lagos as well as the National Assembly, on the lingering governance issues in the institution, including allegations of financial infractions and breach of responsibilities.”
Adamu insisted that like he said about a month ago when he inaugurated the reconstituted governing councils of 13 federal universities, chairmen and members of the council must ensure that they do not interfere with the day-to-day administrative activities of their respective university managements.
Recalling the crisis that bedevilled the university, the minister regretted that: “The face-off has lingered unabated in spite of several interventions by the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Education, many stakeholders and the National Universities Commission (NUC), eventually leading to the removal of Professor Oluwatoyin Temitayo Ogundipe as Vice-Chancellor by the university Governing Council during its meeting of Wednesday, 12th August 2020.”
Adamu, who noted that the university’s “governing council thereafter appointed an acting vice-chancellor to fill the void”, however, regretted that “the decision of the council, instead of stabilising the University of Lagos, only managed to open up a plethora of accusations and counter-accusations”.
“Due process was alleged not to have been followed in the removal and appointment of the vice-chancellor and the acting vice-chancellor, respectively.
“The President and Visitor to the university, after due consideration of the report of the crisis in the university, particularly the polarization and unhealthy relationship between the vice-chancellor and the chairman and pro-chancellor and some members of the governing council, approved the constitution of a seven-man Special Visitation Panel to the institution,” he added.