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Why LAUTECH VC Was Suspended

•ASUU, SSANU Kick By Ismaeel Uthman CONTROVERSIES have continued to trail the suspension of the Vice-Chancellor of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Prof. Michael Ologunde by Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde. Ologunde was asked to step aside by Makinde for some allegations which were not made available to the public. The suspension…”
Yusuf
April 24, 2021 8:52 am

•ASUU, SSANU Kick

By Ismaeel Uthman

CONTROVERSIES have continued to trail the suspension of the Vice-Chancellor of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Prof. Michael Ologunde by Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde.

Ologunde was asked to step aside by Makinde for some allegations which were not made available to the public. The suspension was conveyed via a letter signed by the Oyo State Commissioner for Education, Science & Technology, Olasunkanmi Olaleye last Friday.

However, his removal has been generating controversies in the university, while some people have been probing why the VC was suspended.

OSUN DEFENDER observed that Ologunde’s suspension has sent jilters down the spines of Osun indigenes, who circumstances have trapped to remain in LAUTECH after the dissolution of the joint ownership of the institution.

Some of the workers perceived the VC’s suspension as a pointer to the fact that the Oyo State Government is no longer ready to accommodate Osun indigenes working in the university again.

Ologunde is an indigene of Ajagunlase in Ola-Oluwa Local Government Council Area of the State of Osun.

However, investigations by OSUN DEFENDER revealed that Ologunde had been having a running battle with Governor Seyi Makinde since January this year over the running system of the university.

Makinde accused the VC of inciting the unions on campus to go on strike to demand for the payment of their eight months’ outstanding salaries and allowances, having shown readiness to pay N8billion to Osun State in respect of the separation of joint ownership of the institution.

On February 20, 2021, Makinde had stated on the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS) that “LAUTECH is meant to be a citadel of learning. Now that the ownership issue is resolved, we can focus on making it one. So it can also contribute to the economy. We have achieved what could not be achieved by previous administration from the same party.

“The Governing Council of LAUTECH will be in place in the next one week. I believe that very soon, they will be up and running. The current VC instigated the unions that if Oyo state has N8bn, they should have used the money to pay outstanding salaries.

“If this was a military regime, he would have been fired. But we run a government based on the Rule of Law. I said let the new Governing Council come in and let them do their job and they will investigate and do the right thing.”

OSUN DEFENDER gathered that Makinde was also unhappy with Ologunde for not supporting his plan to make LAUTECH a multi-campus university.

Makinde had, after the dissolution of the joint ownership of the institution, reportedly told the VC that he wanted to make the university a multi-campus university, in response to which Ologunde said the governor lacked the power to do such.

Makinde, according to sources in the Agodi Government House of Oyo State, would have sacked the VC but took caution, following a reported threat from Ologunde to seek redress in the courts of competent jurisdiction if he was unjustly removed.

However, Makinde, in an attempt to outsmart the VC, asked him to step aside instead of sacking him, to allow the Governing Council of the university to investigate the allegations levelled against him.

According to some workers in the institution, the VC would not be reinstated, saying that he had been eased out of office permanently.
But both the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), LAUTECH branch, have jointly condemned the suspension of the VC.
SSANU and ASUU stated that Makinde acted ultra vires, as he does not have the power to suspend the VC.

The SAANU members, after an emergency meeting on Sunday, condemned the idea of sacking Ologunde, arguing that only the university’s Governing Council can remove the VC and not the Governor or the Oyo state Ministry of Education.

The communiqué issued at the end of the meeting reads: “LAUTECH is not an appendage of the Ministry of Education, Science & Technology, Oyo State or the extension of the Office of the Hon. Commissioner of Education, Science & Technology but rather a statutory body that has its establishment laws as may be amended.

“The laws of the university did not give power to administer the university to the Commissioner but rather the Governing Council.

“The power to appoint and terminate staff appointments is resided in the Governing Council and not the Visitor or his proxies, including the Commissioner of Education, Science & Technology. The University enjoys autonomy in Nigeria, Oyo State inclusive.

“The ‘step-aside’ directive is considered hasty, cumbersome and incongruous to the order that brought in the current principal officers of the university on February 14, 2019, and should be reversed in the name of equity, fairness and good conscience. It also negated the position of His Excellency on LAUTECH as said during his radio and television broadcast of Saturday, February 20, 2021.”

Also, ASUU in a press statement issued after its congress on Monday said the development violated the provisions of the University Miscellaneous Act as amended, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Law, 2020 and the University conventions.

The statement was jointly signed by the Chairman, Dr. Biodun Olaniran, Ph.D and Dr. Toyin Abegunrin, Secretary, reads in part: “If there is any perceived misdemeanour on the part of any officer appointed by the law in the University, due process according to the law must be followed to address such.

“The Union acknowledges the power of the Visitor to hire and fire on one part and that such power is premised on the recommendation of the Governing Council according to the extant laws; “As at today, the Governing Council has not been properly constituted in line with laws of the University.

“Our Union therefore, requests that, to maintain industrial harmony on campus and the ongoing restoration of the image of the University, the above resolutions should be considered with the necessary urgency.”

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