By Williams Anuku, Abuja
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute a special visitation panel to look into the immediate and remote causes of events that led to the purported removal of Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe as Vice Chancellor of University of Lagos.
ASUU National President, Biodun Ogunyemi, who made the suggestion on Tuesday, in Abuja, said the Union was also opposed to the sack of Ogundipe by the Wale Babalakin led Governing Council.
Prof Ogundipe was removed by the Wale Babalakin – led council for alleged financial infractions among other issues.
Addressing journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, Ogunyemi said that the union was shocked not because the Vice Chancellor is a saint but because his removal didn’t follow due process.
“The national leadership of ASUU received the news of the purported removal of the vice- chancellor of the University of Lagos by the governing council chaired by Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN) with absolute shock and total disappointment.
“We are shocked not because we regard Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe as a saint but for the fact that all available evidence indicates that he was not taken through the due process.
“In spite of Dr. Babalakin’s spirited efforts to defend the indefensible, it is now clear to all and sundry that there is more to the story coming from the senior member of the bar.
“ASUU fully supports UNILAG Senate’s rejection of Wale Babalakin-led governing council’s ill-informed decision to remove the vice-chancellor.
“We call on Mr. President, as visitor to University of Lagos, to immediately constitute a Special Visitation Panel to look into the immediate and remote causes of the events that led to the purported removal of Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe as VC of UNILAG with a view to bringing all found culpable to book,” Ogunyemi said.
He called on the National Universities Commission to probe all fraudulent practices allegedly committed by “overzealous vice-chancellors who have compromised academic standards and subverting university ethos in the name of the so-called new normal.
He added: “While we salute the courage and resoluteness of many vice-chancellors who have stood their ground in preserving whatever is left of the quality of Nigeria’s university education, our union will not hesitate to expose those who are prepared to sacrifice the system in the name of internally generated revenue.”
Meanwhile, ASUU, may have succeeded in persuading the Federal Government to jettison the idea of Integrated Personnel Payroll and Information System (IPPIS), for University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
Although ASUU strike is still on, Ogunyemi, gave clues to the new understanding they have reached when he said, “following our engagements with the Federal Government over the issues that eventually led to the declaration of the ongoing strike action on 17th March, 2020, government declared that it accepts in principle the University Transparency and Accountability Solution UTAS which is being deployed by ASUU and its researchers for the financial administration of the university’s FG staff monthly payroll and accounting processes.
“In addition, the Federal Government pledged that when fully developed UTAS will be subjected to integrity tests in order to verify its efficacy to see whether this final product will pass the necessary technical attributes test as specified by NITDA”.
ASUU had given a time frame of eighteen months to government to develop, test and deploy UTAS, in keeping with this promise, ASUU is pleased to announce that UTAS is now ready for the “integrity tests” , required of it by government.