There was a mild drama at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, on Tuesday as the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities the institution organised different rallies in favour and against the suspension of the vice-chancellor, Prof. Olusola Oyewole, by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu.
The suspension order was conveyed in a letter dated May 8, signed by the acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, Hussaini Adamu, and the letter was delivered to Oyewole last Thursday.
The letter whose bromide was sighted by our correspondent directed the suspended vice- chancellor whose tenure ends on May 23, 2017, to hand over the affairs of the institution to the most senior staff.
The embattled vice-chancellor had, last Friday, in compliance with the suspension order by the ministry, handed over to Deputy VC, Academic, Prof. Oluyemisi Eromosele, who was the senior academic member of staff.
Prof. Oyewole, however, shocked the institution’s workers and students when he resurfaced on Monday, May 15 (yesterday) and went straight to his former office and began performing official functions undeterred.
However, things took a different twist on Tuesday when members of NASU and SSANU gathered separately within the campus to express their support and opposition respectively for the embattled VC.
The NASU members had converged in their scores in the open space in front of the Senate Building to catalogue the achievements of Prof. Oyewole and condemned his suspension by the education minister.
On the other hand, the SSANU members organised what they called ‘celebration of the inglorious exit of Oyewole’ at their secretariat, also located within the campus.
A musician was on hand performing, with SSANU members dancing; while fried bean cakes and hot pap were served to the audience.
The chairman of SSANU, FUNAAB chapter, Olurotimi Fasuwon, while addressing the journalists, said: “The event was organised to coincide with the shameful end and unceremonious exit of Prof. Oyewole as vice-chancellor of our once glorious university and to give a dossier of the backwardness which he brought upon the university.”
Fasuwon claimed that his tenure had brought anguish to the staff, and had set the university back by more than 10 years.
He said, “The university had, over the years, enjoyed love, joy and happiness among the various categories of staff. They now live in fear, hate and distrust, courtesy Prof. O.B. Oyewole,” Fasuwon claimed.
However, in contrast to SSANU’s claims, the NASU chairman in the university, Isiaq Odunjo, absolved Oyewole of any misdeeds.
He said NASU organised the solidarity to flay the suspension of the VC, describing it as an illegality.
While Odunjo described the action of the Minister of Education as hijacking the responsibility of the university’s Governing Council, he added that the said letter “is a manifestation of executive lawlessness and abuse of office on the part of the minister.”