The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has endorsed the recommendations of the visitation panel to the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, including the dissolution of the institution’s Adebayo Ninalowo-led governing council.

PREMIUM TIMES had exclusively hinted of this on May 11, a day after the report was submitted by the panel.

Mr Sanwo-Olu, who had been in dilemma since the panel, headed by the Pro-Chancellor of the Ekiti State University and former Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Bamitale Omole, submitted its report on May 10, took the decision on Friday.

Other members of the visitation panel are a former vice-chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Joseph Ajienka; a renowned political scientist, Ayo Olukotun; former Lagos Solicitor-General, Lawal Pedro; former Registrar of University of Ibadan (UI), Olujimi Olukoya, and a director in the state’s public service, Funmilola Olajide, who functioned as the panel’s secretary.

In a statement signed by the commissioner for information, Gbenga Omotosho, the governor listed six adopted recommendations to include governing council dissolution, cancellation of the second selection process, exemption of members of the university’s senate who participated in the failed processes from taking part in the new processes.

The university’s registrar, Olayinka Amuni, has also been asked to embark on compulsory leave pending the conclusion of a new process.

PREMIUM TIMES gathered from reliable sources that Mr Amuni is being punished for allegedly not properly guiding the governing council to adhere strictly to the laws in the selection process in the appointment of the institution’s 9th substantive vice-chancellor.

Also, the panel, in its three-volume report, had recommended the constitution of another “full-fledged visitation panel to the university,” and the governor has also endorsed the recommendation.

Background

Five years after relative peace returned to the university, LASU, again attracted public attention for the wrong reasons.

The seemingly unending controversies over the appointment of a successor for the institution’s 8th substantive VC, Olanrewaju Fagbohun, may have taken over the university’s recent gains which threw it up as Nigeria’s second-best university in the last two years consecutively.

After rejecting the first nominations by the university’s governing council earlier in the year due largely to complaints by some applicants and others, Mr Sanwo-Olu ordered a fresh process by the same selection committee of the governing council.

But the council had consistently ranked a professor of public health and director of the university’s research and innovation unit, Olumuyiwa Odusanya, first in its recommendations.

A former chairperson of the university’s branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Kabir Akinyemi, ranked second in the first exercise, a former deputy vice-chancellor, Sena Bakre, was ranked third.

However, in March, after another round of rigorous selection processes, a fresh recommendation was made to the governor with the best three as Mr Odusanya, who scored 87.94 per cent; a professor of public health at Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto, Mohammed Ibrahim, who scored 80.95 per cent, and a professor of public mental health and incumbent acting provost of the university’s college of medicine, Abiodun Adewuya, with 76.61 per cent, taking first, second and third positions respectively.

There had been allegations of compromise against the governing council, and particularly the institution’s joint senate and council selection committee.

The statement issued by the state government is reproduced below:

SANWO-OLU DISSOLVES LASU COUNCIL

… Governor Adopts Visitation Panel’s Report, Orders Fresh Process for Vice-Chancellor’s Appointment*

… Ag. VC, Management Staff to Elect New Council Members, As Sanwo-Olu Sends Registrar to Council on Compulsory Leave

The Governor of Lagos State and the Visitor to the Lagos State University (LASU), Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, after consideration of the report of the Special Visitation Panel on the appointment of the 9th Vice-Chancellor and by the powers conferred on him by the Lagos State University Law, Cap L69 volume 7, Laws of Lagos State, 2015 (as amended), hereby adopts the recommendations and directs as follows:

(1) The immediate dissolution of the Lagos State University Governing Council and the removal of the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council for flagrant violations of the extant laws and regulations of the University guiding the appointment of a Vice-Chancellor.

(2) Cancellation of the second failed exercise to appoint the 9th Substantive Vice-Chancellor as a result of the flagrant contravention of extant laws, breach of due process, failure and total disregard to follow its own laid down criteria guiding the process for the appointment of a 9th Vice-Chancellor as publicly advertised.

(3) In due course, a new Governing Council for the Lagos State University will be constituted. The reconstituted Council shall conduct a new process for the appointment of the 9th Vice-Chancellor.

(4) Members of the Joint Council and the Senate Committee who participated in the two failed exercises of 2020 and 2021 to appoint a 9th Vice-Chancellor are exempted from further participation in the new exercise for the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor. The Acting Vice-Chancellor and Management of the University are hereby directed to elect new council members from the Senate.

(5) The Registrar and Secretary to Council is to proceed on leave with immediate effect till the end of the process for the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor, having failed to advise the Joint Council and Senate Committee against taking wrong decisions, which were against the provision of the law during the two failed exercises of 2020 and 2021. An Acting Registrar will superintend over the new exercise. The Acting Vice-Chancellor is to forward to the Governor/Visitor through the Surrogate Council (Special Adviser on Education) the list of all the Deputy Registrars of Lagos State University for the purpose of appointing an Acting Registrar for the University.

(6) The Governor/Visitor following the recommendation of the Special Visitation Panel, shall be setting up a full Visitation Panel for Lagos State University immediately.

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