Twenty-four hours after the Governing Council of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) announced the removal of Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe as Vice Chancellor, the Senate of the institution and the four staff unions, yesterday, rejected the decision, describing it as illegal.
The Senate and the four staff unions passed a vote of confidence on Prof. Ogundipe and insisted he remains the vice chancellor as they also distanced themselves from the appointed acting VC, Prof Theophilus Soyombo.
About 11.46am, Prof Ogundipe and Prof Folashade Ogunsola, deputy VC Development (Services) arrived at the venue of the joint congress of the staff unions from Abuja and was received amidst songs and praises.
After the emergency congress, the four staff unions staged protest from the Senate Building to the university main gate during which they denounced the decision of the governing council to sack Ogundipe without following due process.
Addressing newsmen after the Senate meeting, former Dean, Faculty of Law, Prof. Chioma Agomo, said the Senate passed vote of confidence on Prof. Ogundipe and still recognise him as the VC.
“The Senate does not recognise anybody as acting VC. The Senate has lost confidence in the governing council. We called on President Muhammadu Buhari to dissolve the Babalakin-led governing council. The Senate will not accept any surrogate acting VC. The governing council sidelined the Senate. There ought to be a joint Council and Senate committee on the allegations against the VC.
“Yesterday (Wednesday, August 12) was a sad day for us and for me especially, that after working here (UNILAG) for 30 years, council will take a decision without Senate’s inputs. The process of his removal did not follow due process. The Senate, an important arm of the university was ignored in the exercise. The Senate said no to the sack. Prof Ogundipe remains our VC.”
Addressing the congress, Prof Ogundipe, thanked the four staff unions for their support and asked the workers to be hopeful of victory at the end of the crisis.
“I will forever remain a loyal union member. I am Ok and sound. We should be joyful no matter what has happened.”
Chairmen of the staff unions unanimously condemned the illegal removal of Prof Ogundipe as UNILAG VC.
The chairmen who signed the resolution included Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Dr. Dele Ashiru, Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU), Mr. Olusola Sowunmi, Non Academic Staff Union (NASU), Mr. Ajibade Kehinde, National Association Academics of Technologies (NAAT), NASU chairman of College of Medicine (CMUL), Idi-Araba, Mr. Tunde Aderibigbe and SSANU Secretary, CMUL, Mr. Ayo Alli.
The staff unions affirmed absolute confidence in the leadership of Prof Ogundipe and vowed not to recognise anybody appointed as acting VC.
The workers called on the Minister of Education and the Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC) to stop the charade and lawlessness carried out by Dr. Wale Babalakin-led governing council given its potential for causing disharmony and industrial instability in UNILAG.