•For refusing to bribe my lecturer, he frustrated my graduation, man alleges
•’He’s a fraud; he left LASU in 2013′
By Gabriel Dike
A bizarre scenario is playing out at the Lagos State University (LASU).
A man, Alabi Davies Abiodun, has petitioned the university authorities, alleging that a lecturer demanded money from him to have his results processed. The aftermath of the incident has prevented him from graduating, according to a petition.
But some insist that the petitioner was insincere, as he graduated from the institution in 2013.
The petitioner, it was alleged, goes by two different names. The name Abiodun Adebola Jolaosho, was used in his petition, while Alabi Davies Abiodun, was the name he claimed when he appeared before a panel probing the incident. The same name also appeared in the 2013 convocation brochure.
In his January 2016 petition, the man appealed to the LASU Vice Chancellor, Prof. Lanre Fagbohun, to intervene in his case to enable him graduate. Copies of the petition were sent to Governor Akinwumi Ambode, the Deputy Governor, Attorney-General of Lagos State, Special Adviser on Education to the Governor and chairman of the governing council of LASU.
In the petition to the VC, the alleged student’s name was signed as Mr. Abiodun Adebola Jolaosho. But when he appeared before the Prof. M.A. Ikhariale administrative panel, the same student allegedly claimed that his name was Mr. Abiodun Davis Alabi, prompting the lecturer to challenge his identity, as he was said to have graduated successfully in 2013.
Indeed, in the 2013 convocation brochure, the name of one of the successful graduates was listed on page 47 as Alabi, Davis Abiodun.
Alabi, a former sandwich student, claimed in the petition that Dr. Isaac Oyewunmi, chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), had demanded N50,000 to process results for 2009, 2010 and 2011. Following the petition, the VC constituted a six-man investigative panel to look into the allegations.
However, Oyewunmi and ASUU kicked against the move, insisting that the panel was not recognised by the University Act. They insisted that the VC should refer the case to the University Council, which would set up a joint council/senate committee to look into the petition as required by the law establishing the institution.
Aside from Alabi, three suspended ASUU members testified in support of the former student and one of them presented a video recording of him and Oyewunmi in which Oyewunmi admitted demanding money from the former student.
At the Ikhariale panel, the petitioner who was admitted in 2003 with matriculation no 03-SW-03-448, told the panel that he chose not to disclose his true identity due to fear for his life and claimed that he was threatened. But Oyewunmi and the union demanded for evidence of such threats. The student also admitted that he graduated in 2013.
In its findings, the panel stated that, owing to an earlier incident that prompted the investigation of the matter by Dr. Abankannda, his result was processed and released in 2016.
“Incontrovertible evidence shows that Dr. Oyewunmi demanded N50,000 from the petitioner for processing of results allegedly swept away by flood,” the panel disclosed.
But in its reaction, ASUU, Lagos Zone and ASUU, LASU branch, picked holes in the panel’s recommendations. They insisted that the administrative panel was not known to the University Act, which contains rules and regulations governing the university, staff and students.
In June 2017, ASUU Lagos Zone, through its coordinator, Prof. Olusiji Sowande, spoke to reporters on the unfolding drama and appealed to Governor Ambode to call the LASU VC, to order. He alleged that the VC had teamed up with some suspended ASUU members loyal to the former VC, Prof. John Obafunwa, to come up with trumped-up allegations against union leaders.
The union also drew the attention of the VC to the what it termed the illegality of the panel and described the action as witch-hunting its leaders who played a key role in truncating the second term bid of Obafunwa, demotion of Dr. O.T.F. Abanikannda from professor to senior lecturer as well as the suspension of some lecturers for anti-union activities.
Oyewunmi said the setting up of the Ikhariale-led panel raised certain pertinent questions, which remained unanswered by the LASU authorities. One of such questions was, can a student graduate twice? He insisted that no student could graduate twice from the same course.
He also wondered why a former student, who graduated in 2013, turned round in January 2016 to petition him and accuse him of demanding money as well as preventing him from graduating.
According to him, it was more bizarre that the university management and the Ikhariale panel were aware that the petitioner used two names and that he graduated in 2013 during the 18th convocation held between February 20 and 21, 2013. He stated that the petitioner graduated with Second Class Lower and was awarded B.Ed Mathematics Education.
In different memos to the VC, Oyewunmi denied the allegation and protested the composition of the panel, which he alleged was peopled by loyalists of the former VC, Prof John Obafunwa, that had also been suspended by ASUU. He said the members of the panel were using the case to settle old scores.
Following pressure mounted by the union, the VC took the case to the Governing Council, which set up a joint committee of the Cuncil and the University Senate to look into the allegation.
Initially, it was said that the panel prevented Oyewunmi from appearing with his lawyer, but after his accusers had given testimony, he was asked to come with one when it was his turn to state his case.
Daily Sun gathered that Oyewunmi, armed with the discovery that his accuser had actually graduated in 2013, appeared before the joint committee. The ASUU chairman received another shocker when the committee refused to accept an important document that would have nailed the petitioner.
Some of the lecturers claimed that Oyewumi’s predicament had confirmed the position of ASUU Lagos zone that the university management was planning to victimise the leadership of ASUU-LASU. The union has urged the Governing Council, Governor Ambode, the House of Assembly and key stakeholders to call the VC to order.
ASUU-LASU and the ASUU Lagos Zone still insist that the Ikhariale-led administrative panel was not known to the University Act.
They also claimed that the video clip by some suspended ASUU members purportedly showing Dr. Oyewunmi begging and prostrating had no such scenes when it was seen by the panel members, union leaders and other staff.
Attempts to get the reactions of the VC, and registrar, Mr. Akinwunmi Lewi, proved abortive, as neither the VC nor the registrar replied text messages on the issue sent to their mobile phone lines.