By Gabriel Dike
The appointment of a substantive Vice-Chancellor for Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, took a new dimension as four lawyers have sought a court order to stop Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu from approving a new helmsman for the institution.
The four plaintiffs are Sanni Saidi, Yakubu Eleto,, Shittu Akeem and Adeyemi Onikoro, who are Alumnus of LASU, also sought an order of the State High Court at Igboshere to disqualify the three recommended professors for not possessing PhD.
Aside Sanwo-Olu, who is the Visitor to LASU, others listed as respondents include the Attorney General of the state, National Universities Commission (NUC) , Lagos State University, Vice Chancellor of LASU, Governing Council, Prof. Bayo Ninalowo, Mr. Tokan Toriola, Mrs. Anus Esho, Prof. Tunde Owolabi, Prof. Tunde Yusuf and Mrs. A. Animashaun.
In the originating summons, the plaintiffs canvassed that the 6th – 12th defendants (governing council and members) lacks the locus to continue with the process of appointing the substantive vice chancellor for the university.
The lawyers also canvassed that candidates (professors) without PhDs can’t lead the 4th defendants (LASU). The plaintiffs prayed for the determination of seven issues raised, sought for four orders, including a perpetual injunction.
Among the issues the plaintiffs asked the court to determine is whether the candidates without PhD shortlisted for the VC of LASU can lead the university despite the National Universities Commission directives. Also whether professional fellowship is equivalent to academic PhD.
Some of the declaration the lawyers sought include whether the setting up and inauguration of the defendants by the chairman, Governing Council is contrary to the LASU Laws and therefore unlawful, null and void. The summon also averred that the inauguration of the Joint council and Senate selection committee by chairman of council of LASU is a flagrant violation of the provisions of the university Laws.
The plaintiffs sought an order of the court nullifying and quashing the proceedings and report of the defendants for lack of jurisdiction and demanded the removal of the 7th defendants (Prof. Ninalowo) as the chairman of the 6th defendants (governing council) for lack of competence of leading the 6th defendants effectively.
”Restraining the defendants whether by themselves, their privies, servants or agents and or representative from further short listing candidates without PhD’s as substantive VC of LASU proceeding. Restraining candidates without PhD as substantive VC of LASU pursuant to extant Laws of the university.
In his affidavit to support the summons, Eleto averred that representatives of the governing council into the selection committee were not elected by the full council forum but unilaterally selected by the chairman of council.
”I am billed to testify as an interested member of the Alumni body of Lagos State University that the Joint Council/Senate selection committee is fraudulent and disgracing to graduates of the university; my Alma Matter.
”The National Universities Commission has said severally that candidates without PhDs can’t head a university of higher learning. The conduct and attitudes of the selection committee of LASU is disgracing, embarrassing, denigrating of our certificate and image of the university,” he stated in the affidavit