By Gabriel Dike, Lagos
There is tension at the Lagos State University (LASU) Ojo over alleged irregularities and manipulation of the selection process for the appointment of a new vice-chancellor.
Aggrieved LASU stakeholders have petitioned Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, alleging that the Governing Council and the outgoing Vice-Chancellor have manipulated the selection exercise to favour two anointed professors.
The two petitions from Concerned Academic Staff of LASU, dated December 29, and Concerned Alumni of the University, signed by their lawyer, Yakubu Eleto, and dated December 30, pleaded with Governor Sanwo-Olu to cancel the entire exercise because of the observed irregularities before and during the interview.
In its three-page petition, the concerned academic staff of LASU said the decision of the governor in the choice of VC will determine whether LASU can move from this facade of quietness to true peace, or erupt in crisis in the not too distant future.
‘We believe that there is a grand, elaborate plan hatched by the chairman of the council and the outgoing VC to scheme Prof Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello out of the race on the pretext that she didn’t make the top three,’ the petition read.
The academic staff alleged that one of the recommended professors does not have PhD degree, another one is statutorily unqualified ab initio because he did not meet up the 10 years post-professorial experience stipulated in the advertisement for the position.
The group further alleged that the third recommended candidate has not supervised and produced a PhD student in her entire academic career. They recalled that the advert stipulated that a candidate must have made an impact in the areas of international supervision and examination of PhD, and also supervised PhD student.
The LASU workers urged the governor to direct that the process of appointing a new VC should start afresh. They called on Sanwo-Olu to excuse the council chairman from the new process.
The concerned alumni, through their lawyer, based on the irregularities the observed during the selection process, pleaded with the governor to ignore the recommendations made by the council.
‘Our client has, however, noticed the following loopholes which may damage the integrity of the state governor if he goes ahead to make a pronouncement as to who becomes the next VC of LASU for the going process is lacking merit, due process and foist with irregularities,’ Eleto stated.
The lawyer wondered why the council screened out two professors on the ground of not meeting up with 10 years as a professor but shortlisted one with less than 10 years experience as a professor.
‘Some of those allowed to proceed for the interview don’t have PhDs, which will also be a slap to the university if persons like that are allowed to occupy the vacant seat. It will also be a defeat to the quest of a competitive university of our dream.
‘In breach of some conditions in the criteria, the question we now ask is why were some candidates screened out and some left on the list?’
The concerned alumni asked the governor to cancel the selection exercise as was done in the University of Ibadan in 2020 and University of Portharcourt in 2015 based on irregularities.