The vice-chancellor, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe on Monday debunked the claim by the chairman, Governing Council, Dr. Wale Babalakin that the university management did not carry the council along in planning the convocation.
Prof Ogundipe in his reaction to the council’s claim said excerpt of the minutes of January 21 and 22, 2020 indicate the governing council was briefed that the 2019 convocation ceremonies would hold between March 9 and 13.
”Council received and considered C.P. No 2019/20/3b, which contained the nominees for honorary doctorate degree at the 51st convocation ceremonies of the university and the proposed budget estimate.”
He said contrary to what stated in the campus news, the National Universities Commission (NUC) directive to suspend the convocation ceremonies was based on the pro-chancellor, Dr. Babalakin’s letter of March 2, 2020, that the programme of the convocation was not authorised by the council of UNILAG.
According to him, Babalakin’s assertion was debunked on the floor of the council at its meeting of March 4, 2020, when the audio recording of the meeting of January 21 and 22 was played, adding ”records of the minutes of the meetings also showed that the convocation programme was indeed discussed.”
The VC explained that in line with ethos and traditions of the university, the dates and programmes the convocation ceremonies are usually brought to the attention of council after due clearance of the dates has been received from the supervising ministry, which the management did.
On the issue of honorary degree, Ogundipe said in line with extant university regulations, management considered the nominees and forwarded its recommendations to the honours committee of the Senate.
The VC further stated that he brought to the floor of the council at its meeting of January 22 through council paper CP 2019/20/20/3b, the names of nominees and council discussed the issue extensively and Babalakin advised the university to ensure that only deserving individuals were honoured.
Prof Ogundipe revealed that Babalakin suggested the inclusion of late Dr. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh for a posthumous award, which was forwarded to the honours committee for inclusion.
He said the deliberation of the council on the issue of honorary nominees at the meeting was extensive and documented in the minutes of the meeting of council stating, the fact was also corroborated by Dr. John Momoh on the floor of council.”
Said he: ”It would, therefore, appear that there was another version of the tape being referred to in the Campus News released on Monday, March 9.
Ogundipe noted that despite the appeal by Senate at an emergency meeting of March 4 and entreaties by members of council at the governing council meeting for Babalakin to speak to NUC and the ministry to persuade them to allow the convocation ceremonies to hold as planned, the pro-chancellor did not heed the pleas.