Controversies over Ogundipe’s removal as UNILAG vice-chancellor

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The last has not been heard about the controversies around the removal of Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe as the vice-chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

UNILAG’s governing council on Wednesday announced Ogundipe’s removal after a meeting of the council, which held at the headquarters of the National Universities Commission (NUC) in Abuja presided over by the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Dr Wale Babalakin (SAN).

“The general public is hereby notified that at an emergency meeting held on Wednesday, August 12, and in accordance with the statutory powers vested in it by law, the governing council of the university has removed Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe from office with immediate effect,” UNILAG registrar and governing council secretary Oladejo Azeez said in a statement.

The decision to remove Ogundipe, Azeez said, “was based on council’s investigation of serious acts of wrongdoing, gross misconduct, financial recklessness and abuse of office against Prof Ogundipe.”

Consequently, the council secretary announced that Professor Theophilus Omalolu Soyombo of The Faculty of Social Sciences, the University of Lagos as Vice-Chancellor of the University in an acting capacity.

However, his supposed removal has not come without its own sheer drama.

Hours after his removal was announced by the governing council, Ogundipe urged the public to disregard his supposed removal, saying he remains UNILAG’s vice-chancellor.

A statement he personally signed was published on the university’s website and was shared on its official Twitter handle on Wednesday.

“The purported removal is an illegality and cannot stand as it is in clear violation of the University of Lagos Act as amended by the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Act 2003,” Ogundipe said.

The statement on the school website referred to Ogundipe as the UNILAG’s vice-chancellor even after his purported removal has been widely circulated across media platforms.

The embattled vice-chancellor’s statement remained published on UNILAG website close to about 24 hours after his removal from office.

Despite Ogundipe’s insistence of his position as the school’s vice-chancellor, Azeez maintains that Ogundipe was lawfully removed “by the Governing Council at a meeting fully attended by all council members.

“For the avoidance of doubt, in my capacity as Registrar and Secretary to Council the only custodian of the minutes of Council and the authorising officer on behalf of Council to issue official statements pertaining to all Council Affairs.

“Members of the public are hereby advised to totally disregard the statement attributed to the said former Vice-Chancellor.”

But the UNILAG chapter of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) said the council lacked the power to sack Ogundipe as vice-chancellor.

“This illegal act is a further confirmation of our earlier position that Dr Babalakin is a lawless, egocentric and vindictive pro-chancellor,” Dele Ashiru of ASUU UNILAG said in a statement.

“Our union affirms its confidence in the leadership of Professor Toyin Ogundipe as the vice-chancellor of our great university.”

The country’s education ministry in a statement by its spokesman Ben Goong said it is yet to be briefed on happenings in the school but states that “the council has the power to hire and fire.”

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