Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Federal Government on Wednesday dispatched a Special Visitation Panel to the University of Lagos (UNILAG) in a bid to resolve the management crisis that rocked the school which led to the dissolution of the Governing Council led by Dr Wale Babalakin and the sack of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe.
The Visitation Panel is headed by Prof Tukur Sa’ad, with six other members namely; Barrister Victor Onuoha, Prof Ikenna Onyido, Prof Ekanem Braide, Prof Adamu K Usman, Chief Jimoh Bankole, and Barrister Grace Ekanem, as Secretary.
Minister of Education Mallam Adamu Adamu, who inaugurated the Panel in Abuja, expressed confidence in the ability of the members to achieve the task for which it was constituted.
He reminded the Chairman and members of the panel that they were carefully selected in recognition of their integrity, track records, and antecedents in university management and leadership and asked them not to disappoint the President who appointed them.
He said the terms of the reference are as follows; to look into the report of the Council sub-committee on review of the expenditure of UNILAG since May 2017 and make appropriate recommendations, after affording all those indicted an opportunity to defend themselves;
‘You are expected to examine the steps taken by the Council leading to the removal of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ogundipe, and ascertain whether due process was followed as stipulated in the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Act, 2003, and the principle of fair hearing adhered to.
‘To determine whether the process (if any) leading to the appointment of the Acting Vice Chancellor for the university was consistent with the provisions of the enabling Act; make appropriate recommendations, including sanctions for all those found culpable on the allegations contained in the report as well as other subsequent actions arising therefrom; and
‘Finally, make recommendations that will assist the government to take decisions that would ensure peaceful, stable, and effective administration of the university. You are expected to conclude the assignment and submit a report within two weeks from the day of inauguration.’
He warned them against interference in the activities of the university management and urged all stakeholders and the university community to fully cooperate with the panel and allow it to work unhindered.
He regretted that the face-off between the ex governing council and the Vice-Chancellor lingered for so long, in spite of several interventions by the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Education, many stakeholders and the National Universities Commission (NUC), which culminated in the removal of Prof. Ogundipe as Vice-Chancellor by Governing Council at its meeting of Wednesday, August 12.
The Chairman of the Panel, Prof Tukur Sa’ad, in his response, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, for finding them worthy of the task, and assured him that the panel will stick to its responsibility.
He also promised that they will justify the confidence reposed in them by the President.