The removal of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, has been condemned by the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Universities, CVCs, who described it as a hatchet job without due process.
The subsequent appointment of an acting Vice Chancellor outside the institution’s three Deputy Vice Chancellors was also condemned by the CVCs.
The view of the CVCs was expressed by its Secretary-General, Prof. Yakubu Ochefu, while fielding questions from newsmen in Abuja on Friday.
He said, “The chairman of the council knows that the tenure of two members of the council has expired, so he waited for the members not to be in council to get the majority vote.
“It is like a hatchet job; we don’t want it to appear like that because of the integrity of the University of Lagos. The integrity is very high and we don’t want council members to degenerate to that situation.
”As it is now, we have a stalemate and it is looking more in favour of the university Senate than the council.”
Recall that UniLag’s Governing Council, under the leadership of Dr Wale Babalakin, SAN, removed Ogundipe on Wednesday, at its meeting in Abuja; allegedly over allegations of infractions and gross misconduct.
The council appointed Prof. Theophilus Omololu Soyombo, of the Faculty of Social Sciences as the acting Vice-Chancellor.
However, the institution’s Senate and all its workers’ unions have condemned Ogundipe’s removal, saying it flouted the university’s regulations and all passed a vote of confidence on Ogundipe, on Thursday; vowing not to recognise the acting Vice-Chancellor.
Insisting that he remains the Vice Chancellor of University of Lagos, Ogundipe urged the public to disregard the news of his removal.
Ochefu stated that the extant law of the university states that if a Vice-Chancellor is removed, one of the deputies should be appointed to act.
He said, “Unilag has three deputies, none of them was appointed as acting vice-chancellor, but somebody else entirely.
“This is going to pose another problem, Senate members will not allow such a person to chair their meeting, because they don’t know him within the context of laws establishing universities.”
Ochefu also called on the Unilag Governing Council to follow due process in the removal of a Vice Chancellor by providing Ogundipe an opportunity to defend himself; noting that though the law establishing universities gave the council the power to hire and fire a Vice Chancellor, it should not be done in an arbitrary process.
He added, “The challenge we have with this particular action is that the university community says the council did not follow due process; indeed, the communication from the embattled Vice Chancellor is clear and it is to that effect.
“In the procedure for removing a Vice Chancellor, you have to set up a joint council/senate committee. The vice-chancellor will be given the opportunity to defend himself; from there, a submission will be made to the council, which will take a decision.”
Ochefu said that the situation in Unilag at the moment is unhealthy for the foremost university insisting that “as CVC, we advise the council to take a step back and allow the process of removing a Vice Chancellor, as established by the law, to take its course.
Noting that fair hearing remained a fundamental human right, Ochefu said, “It is a simple process. If it finds the man guilty, the council can remove him, but it should go through the normal process.”