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ASUU To Ambode: Chose Between LASU And Obafunwa

Lagos State University (LASU), in the last four years has been enmeshed in one crisis after the others and with the coming of the new governor of Lagos State, Mr.Akinwunmi Ambode everybody thought that days of crises were over. LASU which is gradually gravitating towards a citadel of unending crisis has further been entangled with more crisis as Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU),Lagos State zone , urged the Lagos state governor, Mr. Ambode to chose between LASU or Vice Chancellor Prof. John Obafunwa.

ASUU Lagos zone comprises all the universities in the south west zone of the country. ASUU made the demand at the LASU during a press briefing to educate the general public about the development in the Lagos state university. ASUU South West zone speaking through its zonal coordinator Dr. Sola Nasir said, if the Visitor of the University loves Obafunwa, he should make a place for him at the state house and ‘certainly’ not LASU. According to him, Obafunwa does no longer belong to the university and he should simply look for something else to do as nobody wants him again as the vice chancellor of LASU. He said since Obafunwa has shown gross incompetence in the management of the institution, he should give way for a competent and credible person to manage the university to glory.

“If at the end of the day, some influential persons influence his return as the Vice chancellor of the university, ASUU will not accept him .There is no how a failed person will continue to fail the university .Obafunwa has done his best, but his best is not good enough for the university. He does not have what it takes to run a purposeful university. He cannot give what he does not have .We want to tell the governor to chose between the state university and the Obafuwa, but for ASUU, it will always chose LASU because it is bigger than every person ” he said. According to Nasir, one of the ways to maintain peace on the campus was for the Visitor, who is the governor to   constitute with immediate effect a visitation panel to look into the affairs of the institution. In addition to that, he said the governor should immediately commence the process for the appointment of a new vice chancellor, though late.

He also called for immediate implementations of the University Miscellaneous Provision Act, 2012 in LASU. Nasir said that the visitation panel when constituted would diagnosis the main problems confronting the institution and the findings would give him a clear understanding of the institution to make policy statement on the administration of the university. “For whatever reason ,the visitor to LASU cannot afford to reject the call by the union for visitation panel because it is on one hand statutorily due, and on other , the artificial earthquake engineered by the out-going university administration has impacted corrosively on the founding pillar of the institution such that the treatment that will bestow a lasting solution must start with thorough and diligent diagnosis .The silence of the office of the visitor is already being misconstrued to the point that vice chancellor and his cohorts are already on the verge of using students particularly from outside, to alter the graveyard peace in the university, while thinking that such a move will ensure his second term” he added.

He said if the present crisis in the university orchestrated by the Vice chancellor was allowed to continue, posterity will hold ASUU accountable to the administration failure, stressing that the union was duty bond to make preventive contributions. “To escape such a historic condemnation ,we will like to appreciate His Excellency ‘s baggage of pressures behind the scene and offer our sincere suggestions towards promoting the fortune of LASU in the comity of universities and we hope he will be kind to listen to us.

We wish to use this opportunity to plead with the Visitor to take step to institute a policy direction which would emanate from visitation to LASU. The visitor should thereafter constitute a Governing Council consisting of experienced men and women of deserved honour, arising from proven integrity and above all ,with clearheaded understanding of purpose and operations of university system. This is the first step towards lasting solution in LASU. Furthermore ,the commencement of the process for the appointment of a vice chancellor is late already .We advise that the process commence immediately and due process without any interference be enforced.

LASU cannot afford to get it wrong again “he added. He accused the vice chancellor of making clandestine moves to use some ill-informed students, mainly from outside LASU to foment additional crisis in the university, saying that the union was ready for such action. Nasir advised students of LASU ,who according to him, are their ally in the restoration of dignity to LASU to focus on their studies as ASUU members were doing all things within their means to ensure a smooth session. “We are waiting for the Vice chancellor ‘heavily induced NANS Zone D and handful of students- in- house to come and ‘whip our members in LASU into his expected line.

We appeal to parents ,guardians and general public to advise these few students not to allow themselves to be used for selfish purpose. The union also uses the opportunity to call the visitor to call the vice chancellor to order so that lasting peace can continue to reign in LASU” he stated. According to Nasir, apart from the vice chancellor’ inability to allow peace to reign on campus by providing pleasant environment for teaching and research ,his incompetence in several aspects of the university administrations and institutionalization of ‘patronage’ and inability to sustain the university erstwhile modest complementation of government funding were some of the major issues at the heart of the LASU crisis. He said that ASUU- LASU has complained severally about the Vice Chancellor, using illegal Budget Monitoring Committee to request for the Needs Assessment Intervention Fund, and thereby denying LASU access to billions of naira allocated and due for collection.

According to him, the Vice chancellor refusal to constitute Budgetary Monitoring Committee for LASU to access those funds for the development was affecting the university growth. “The vice chancellor has not instituted an environment to foster growth in the institution. The problem created by the Obafunwa is not allowing him to access the intervention fund for the development of the university .The intervention fund is five years time bound and if LASU does not access them within the period, it will be lost and since the fund does not require counter funding, there is no reason institution should not access them.

The fund is meant for the development of the university facilities, including the staff, not limited to academic. LASU is not witnessing any serious development because Obafunwa was opposed to working with the community “he said. According to him, LASU has about five billion naira lying waste with the federal government and if these moneys were not accessed in the five years it would be refunded to the federal government. He said, if the N5 billion was accessed it would assist the university to develop the university for better.

The Union accused the Vice chancellor of destroying the university by externalization of purely internal matter for selfish reason. ASUU further accused Obafunwa of maintaining two government tenured apportionments, stating that with the two appointments there was no way one will not suffer and unfortunately the one suffering is LASU. “The Vice chancellor is maintaining two tenure appointment with the state government, the chief medical examiner (Coroner) and vice chancellor Pari passu’’ he stated According to him, Obafunwa various moonlight activities were detrimental to the proper administration of the university and it is time to put a stop to them.

“The vice chancellor runs Final Diagnosis and Rites Limited (a Mortuaries management outfit), Mayo Height Diagnosis Laboratory (within Lagos State University Teaching Hospital LASUTH) and so many others” he said. The union also accused him, of victimizing members of the union and   inappropriately promotion and appointment of his cronies in the universities. According to the union, the appointment of O.T.F Abanikanda as professor with 13 journal articles, promotion of Dr. Olumide Obayemi to senior lecture with only two articles did not follow faculty due process. The Union also said the vice chancellor was interfering with the unions’ activities with the intention of factionalizing ASUU.

“The vice chancellor has been misinforming and misguiding the governing council with the connivance of a willing collaborator in person of the Registrar and the Secretary to the Council ,Mr. Akin Lewis ,who appears to have failed in his duties as custodian of laws and regulations of the university” he said. Nasir further added that perspectives of the chief executive officer (CEO) being banded by the Vice chancellor and some appellate officers of the university do not apply to a university in any sense of its use. According to him, the ethics and practices in university can be summarized to mean committee system, while any incestuous business practice is not only strange but alien to university.

“The university is greater than any individual .The somewhat Obsessive –Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD),that is palpable from the publications of the vice chancellor is very potent danger for LASU and indeed university system .The hue and cries in LASU for over three years and half is more than sufficient to engender a rethink in average ,sensible individual to take look at the slightest probability of vitality in opposing ideas and logic for the higher projection of objective and image of the institution .

Unfortunately, what obtains in LASU is the opposite as demonstrated by the Vice chancellor insistence that the poisonous withdrawal of Ph.D certificate stays, while ‘no vacancy no promotion’ is an irreversible university administrative policy” he said . Also speaking, the chairman of LASU –ASUU Dr. Idris Adekunle said that LASU has suffered for long under Obafunwa and it is time for the state government to find lasting solution to the crisis through the institution of visitation panel. According to him, it is only the visitation panel that will unravel the immediate and remote causes of the problems in LASU, saying that with the panel report the governor will be able make a policy statement on the university.

He said that ASUU was poised to move the institution forward and it has been doing so all these years. According to him, despite the crisis rocking the university, ASUU members were teaching students and have even conducted examinations which many lecturers are presently marking and grading. Idris said the university community has rejected the Vice chancellor Prof. John Obafunwa , that was why they pelted him out of the university with sachet water and since then he not entered his office but he operates from LASUTH. “How can a vice chancellor be administering a university from outside his office. Right now, he has not entered this campus in the last few months, he has been operating from LASUTH .He should have know that the community has rejected him and humble resign for good” he said.

-Titus Eleweke

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