The Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Universities in Nigeria CVC has appealed to the governing council of the University of Lagos to follow due process in the removal of Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe by the council.
Making this appeal during an interview with Voice of Nigeria (VON), the association’s secretary-general, Professor Aboki Ochefu said the embattled don should be given an opportunity to defend himself. While conceding that the law governing universities gives the council the power to hire and fire, he said nothing precludes the employee from defending himself when accused of any wrongdoing.
“The challenge we have here with this particular action is that the council did not follow due process and indeed the communication from the embattled Vice-Chancellor is clear to that effect”
“It is very clear, just like the process of selecting a Vice-Chancellor, you have a selection committee and they will advertise the job and interview the applicants and make a recommendation to the council and the council will appoint one person out of the three applicants. In the procedure of removing a Vice-Chancellor, you also have to set up a joint council Senate committee that will charge the VC, where he will be given the opportunity to defend himself and then from there, the submission will be presented to the council and they will now take a decision” Prof Ocheku said.
He added that “what the university community is saying in UNILAG is that, this process was not followed, a committee was set up charging the Vice-Chancellor with a number of issues, but he was not given the opportunity to defend himself and we believe that here the law has not been properly adhered to”
“It is a simple process, if you find the man guilty, the council can remove him, but they should go through the normal process, which is that of fair hearing,” Prof. Ochefu said.
Speaking on the appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor, he said the appointment is fraught with illegalities as the law was very clear on who should be appointed as a VC when an incumbent VC is removed.
“The council has gone ahead to announce a new VC. The extant laws state that one of his deputies should be appointed to act. UNILAG has 3 deputy Vice-Chancellors, none of them was appointed as the acting VC and somebody else entirely was appointed. This is going to pose another problem because Senate will not allow such a person to chair their meeting because they don’t know him within the context of laws establishing universities” Prof Ochefu said.
He expressed worry over the handling of the matter by the Council chairman, Wale Babalakin, saying procedural matter as such is being trampled upon.