…the removal of Ogundipe has caused division among the stakeholders of the university
The Governing Council of the University of Lagos on Thursday has announced the appointment of Professor Theophilus Soyombo as the Vice Chancellor.
Following hours after it has removed Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe as the Vice-Chancellor of the university, the governing council appointed Soyombo in an acting capacity.
Ogundipe was sacked after the Council at its emergency meeting held in Abuja accused Ogundipe of grave misconduct and violations, which has erupted crisis among the university’s stakeholders.
Reacting to his “purported removal,” Ogundipe described it a “mischievous disinformation” as “the extant provisions of the law were not complied with” by the council.
Considering the manners in which he was removed, the action of the governing council might have violated the established laws guiding the governing of the university. The law bestows the power to remove a vice-chancellor on the Nigerian president, who is the visitor to the university.
By the provision of the UNILAG Act, the president of the country can remove the vice-chancellor “after due consultation with the Council and the Senate acting through the Minister of Education.” But the spokesperson for the education ministry said “the ministry is yet to be briefed.”
While reacting to the crisis, a member of the governing council who pleaded anonymity, though uncertain said section 18 of the university law should be followed in removing the VC.
However, the council in a statement on Thursday insisted it acted lawfully and that its resolution to remove Ogundipe stands. It then declared Theophilus Soyombo as the provisional head of the university.
“I also wish to use the opportunity to inform members of the public that Council at the said meeting duly appointed Professor of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lagos as Vice Chancellor of the University in an Acting Capacity,” the registrar of the university and council secretary, Oladejo Azeez, said in a statement.
“Members of the public are hereby advised to totally disregard the statement attributed to the said former Vice-Chancellor. The position remains that he was lawfully removed by the Governing Council at a meeting fully attended by all Council members,” he added.
Theophilus Soyombo is a professor of Sociolgy graduated from the University of Lagos with a B.Sc in Sociology in 1977. Thereafter, he bagged his masters degree in Sociology from the University of Essex, England.
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Meanwhile, the University of Lagos chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities has rejected Soyombo’s appointment, while also condemning the purported sack of Professor Ogundipe.
The union’s chairman, Dele Ashiru, maintained Ogundipe remained the university’s acknowledged head.
“His removal is illegal and uncalled for. Our union condemns in the strongest term the purported removal. It is the machination of the pro-chancellor to destabilise this university and our union has been on the forefront of the agitation against a reckless and lawless pro-chancellor,” Ashiru said.
“We reaffirm our confidence in the leadership of Professor Toyin Ogundipe as Vice Chancellor of the university,” the ASUU branch chairman stressed.