LASU Staff Seek Dissolution of VC Selection Committee

0

• Allege c’tte already has predetermined report
• Claim members have been compromised

Gboyega Akinsanmi

The Joint Council and Senate Selection Committee charged with shortlisting candidates for the position of vice chancellor of Lagos State University has already predetermined its report, the institution’s senior staff members have alleged.

Consequently, the staff members have asked the state governor and Visitor to LASU, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to dissolve the selection committee for alleged bias against some candidates contesting for the office.

They made these allegations in separate engagement with THISDAY at the weekend, claiming that the members of the selection committee had a preferred candidate for the position of the vice chancellor.

They also alleged that the selection committee, which comprises representatives of the Senate and Governing Council, had breached the directive of the visitor in its operation, thereby calling for its immediate dissolution.

One of the staff members, who spoke with THISDAY anonymously, explained that what led to the cancellation of the first process was the irregularities and flagrant violation of the guidelines advertised in the newspapers.

He noted that it was on this ground that the governor “investigated and evaluated the whole process. He also discovered some irregularities, which informed his decision to cancel the process in the first place.”

After the cancellation, the source explained why the visitor to the institution called for a fresh process, which according to him, suggested that everything about the first process could no longer stand when the new process commenced.

In specific terms, another senior staff said a fresh process “means there will be a new advert in the newspapers stating the guidelines. A fresh process means there will be a shortlisting. A fresh process, also, means there will be a new interview and a new selection committee in place.”

However, he lamented that the same set of selection committee, which handled the first process, “is in place to implement the new process,” which he said, contravened the directive of the visitor of the institution.

He added that acting in contravention to the visitor’s directive “is a major concern. It is a concern because they already have established open bias against some candidates contesting for the office of vice chancellor.

“The selection committee has shortlisted candidates that are not qualified so that they have their people in the list of shortlisted candidates. The same people are implementing the new process, which the governor directed.

“This is a great concern that the selection committee will not be fair and just if it does not rescue itself from handling the new process. The committee cannot come up with a fair report,” he said.

For instance, the source disclosed that the true outcome of the first process showed that Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello was ranked first, though the selection committee connived together and placed her in the fourth position.”

Under the new process, the source alleged that some members of the selection committee “have been bragging to ensure the emergence of their choice candidate for the position of LASU’s vice chancellor.

In its meeting last week, the source alleged that the selection committee had concluded plans “to shortlist 10 candidates under the new process and resolved to place Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello in the 7th position irrespective of her performance.”

From all indications, the source disclosed to THISDAY that nearly all members of the selection committee “are working to actualise the plan of the immediate past Vice Chancellor, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun. So, the committee cannot be fair in its decision.”

Also, Concerned Staff of LASU has petitioned the governor, alleging that some form of compensation had been given to some Senate members on the committee for acting in line with the predetermined report.

The group, in a petition signed by Olalekan Akinloye and Olatunji Alonge, said: “This account for reasons that the Joint Council and Senate Selection Committee shortlisted candidates that were prima facie unqualified.

“Among the three members of Senate on the Committee, Prof. Olatunde Owolabi has been compensated for his role on the committee by his recent appointment as LASU’s representative on the Governing Council of Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education by the outgoing Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun. His letter was dated 31st December 2020.

“Prof. Babatunde Yusuf’s daughter was recently appointed as an academic staff in the LASU School of Communication. Prof. Barakat Animashaun has been allegedly promised the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) (Administration) when the tenure of the current DVC Admin terminates in July 2021.

“This is compensation for her role on the committee if the desired candidate of both the Chairman of Council and outgoing Vice-Chancellor emerges as the ninth vice-chancellor,” the group said in its petition.

The group also alleged that the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Prof. Adebayo Ninalowo had already been compromised in the selection process.

The group said the council chairman contravened the LASU Law 2004 by unilaterally appointing the three members of council on the Joint Council and the Senate Selection Committee.

The group claimed that the chairman should have allowed the council “to elect its members as stated in LASU Law 2004. This anomaly needs to be corrected at the next meeting of the Governing Council.

“Ninalowo needs to recuse himself from the fresh process. The most responsible thing to do is to reconstitute the Joint Council and the Senate Selection Committee in compliance with the directive of the visitor to the institution in order to start an utterly fresh process devoid of prejudice and rancour.”