LASU: Fresh Disquiet over Pro-Chancellor’s Link to PDP

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*Text Box: Accused of promoting sectional agenda Text Box: *Dust over TETFUND management

By Funmi Ogundare

Ahead of the scheduled emergency Senate meeting today, another crisis of confidence has hit the Lagos State University over alleged political partisanship of the Pro-Chancellor, Professor Adedayo Ninalowo.

A cross section of leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state at the weekend expressed anti-party against the chairman of the governing council who they accused of being “PDP agent shamelessly pursuing PDP agenda”.

This comes on the heels of a fresh strong-worded petition to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu written by a group of Lagos Elders, accusing Professor Ninalowo of fanning the embers of sectional discord with his desperation to impose “two candidates who hail from Ikorodu area like himself in the shortlist of three”.

This is besides an allegation that the attempt of the outgoing Vice Chancellor, Professor Olarenwaju Fagboun, to foist a stooge as successor is “to cover up his tracts in the past five years.”

In a terse statement at the weekend, the university senate’s Principal Assistant Registrar, K. O. Okugbesan, invited the governing board to a meeting to fashion out a new roadmap to shortlist and select a new vice chancellor to take over from Professor Olarenwaju Fagboun whose tenure has ended.

Earlier, in a move widely commended by stakeholders, Governor B Sanwo-Olu had voided the initial shortlist submitted by the university council following widespread complaints of “manipulations and underhand dealings”.

Speaking with THISDAY, a cross-section of APC leaders expressed the opinion that the Pro Chancellor be asked to recuse himself from the new process because “he is one of those actively colluding with PDP to undermine the interest of APC in Lagos State.”

Said a prominent chieftain in Lagos East: “I wonder why Governor Sanwo-Olu continues to allow someone (Ninalowo) who worked openly against us in the last elections and who openly supported the PDP candidate in 2019 to continue to occupy such a strategic position.”

Another APC chieftain based in Ikeja traced the genesis of the confidence crisis to Professor Ninalowo’s role in the bitter APC primaries of 2018 in which he (Pro Chancellor “against the convention of the academic community, openly campaigned for Akinwunmi Ambode’s re-election because Ambode influenced his appointment in 2015 after intense pressure.

“Once the majority of us in APC in 2018 stood our grounds that Ambode was a bad product not deserving second term and Sanwo-Olu became our candidate in 2019, it is open secret that people like Ninalowo worked openly against us by giving support to PDP. Thank God we eventually put them to shame by delivering Sanwo-Olu in that election. In fact, I can confirm to you here that it took the personal pleas and lobby of the Oba of Ikorodu and a banker-Senator to persuade Sanwo-Olu last year to renew his tenure as Pro-Chancellor due to his subversive activities in 2019.

“But like the proverbial leopard that never changes its spot, Ninalowo has continued to work with his PDP allies like General Olarenwaju to undermine APC interests in Lagos.”

In their petition addressed to the Lagos governor at the weekend, the group known as Lagos Elders expressed disgust that under Professor Ninalowo’s watch, a supposedly academic exercise has become a political fiasco.

“Part of the problem with the just voided exercise is that two of the three candidates shortlisted are from Ikorodu area just like Ninalowo. You can see the extent which the Pro Chancellor and his cohorts have carried their impunity. He has never hidden his bias to ensure that an Ikorodu person becomes the VC. Now, assuming that happens, how does that conduce to communal harmony and social justice if the Pro Chancellor as well as the VC are from the Ikorodu division. Ninalowo should be stopped from setting Lagos ablaze!

“It was that desperation that led to qualified persons being disqualified ab initio while those who did not fulfill the criteria clearly spelt out in the newspaper advertorial were granted curious waivers without fear of God.

“To be sure, we don’t have any interest in this matter other than merit and Lagos interest. Let the best person emerge.”

Meanwhile, impeccable sources at LASU told us that some prominent members of the university’s management are already jittery following deluge of petitions sent to the Federal Ministry of Education seeking a forensic audit of TETFUND accounts.