LASU Crisis: The untold ASUU-LASU perspective
The perennial crisis rocking the Lagos State University, LASU, is far from being over, as the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU in LASU stormed Vanguard corporate headquarters and opened fresh can of worms, vowing to pursue the sack of their members to a logical conclusion. They argued that the Union had been badly represented by LASU authorities, and seized the opportunity to explain their side of the lingering crisis.
Backed by the Zonal and National leadership of ASUU, the Union is seeking for the immediate withdrawal of the doctored Conditions and Schemes of Service (2017), and the immediate circulation of the agreed draft as approved by the Council on October 20, 2016. The ASUU executives also demand the full implementation of the University Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 2012 (UMPA 2012) and an executive bill to the State House of Assembly to facilitate quick passage, among others.
Representatives of the union who spoke through ASUU-LASU Secretary, Dr. Tony Dansu, also submitted to Vanguard a 24-page release. Among other burning issues raised in the release, Dansu outlined 10 grey areas that bordered on the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Lanre Fagbohun and how he administers the affairs of the institution.
Such major areas include: The appointment of non- recommended and non-qualified academics as heads of department, double standard, aiding the registry to manipulate governing council’s decisions, waste of NEEDS Assessment Funds and election of deputy vice-chancellor.
Other allegations levelled against the vice chancellor were the resistance to the reversal of Dr. O. T. F Abanikannda’s professorial chair, appointment of Dr. Kolawole Obayemi as a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Law: A case of maladministration and double standard, fruitless effort of the vice chancellor to renew the appointment of Professor Princewill Alozie against the law of the university and the onslaught of the union.
Fagbohun was also accused of trumped up cases in the university. These include those of Dr. Isaac Akinloye Oyewumi (Chairman, ASUU-LASU), Dr. Adebowale Adeyemi-Suenu (Secretary, ASUU-LASU), Dr. Femi Adeogun (Department of Human Kinetics, Sports and Health Education) and the dismissal of 15 academics which Dansu described as pseudo sanitation. Excerpts:
By Dayo Adesulu
ON appointment of non-recommended and non-qualified academics as HODs
He said: “There are rules guiding the appointment of Heads of Department, HODs, in the university, just like in many other institutions. Significantly, seniority is a factor and appointments are based on the recommendations of the Dean. Where the vice chancellor disagrees with a Dean’s recommendation, he is expected to consult with the Dean for another nomination.
In the first set of appointments of HODs made by Prof. Fagbohun, the university regulations were grossly violated on the basis of sentiments. For example:
- i) In the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, an academic staff who had just applied as a PhD student in the department was appointed HOD above his lecturers and prospective supervisor.
- ii) In the Faculty of Science, only three out of the nine recommended HODs were appointed; six were substituted without any explanation to the Faculty.
iii) In the Department of Insurance where there is a senior lecturer and lecturers at Grade level I, none of them was appointed. The HOD was appointed (imported) from Accounting Department.
Of recent, the current HOD of Philosophy was appointed (imported) from Music and Theatre Arts Department. Yet, there are four lecturers Grade I with Ph.D in the department. Notably, in some other departments in the same university, Lecturers I are HODs (e.g. College of Medicine). Even a Lecturer II is an HOD in the School of Transport of the university.’’
He said: “Before the Governor and Visitor to LASU signed the 70 years retirement age bill for academic staff in the professorial cadre into law in 2016, two professors in the Department of Educational Science and Technology reached their 65 years retirement age – Prof. Peter Okebukola on February 2016, and Prof. (Mrs.) Bolanle Danmole in March 2016. While Prof. Okebukola received his full salary for February, and even March, a month after he was supposed to have retired, that of Prof. Danmole was stopped and accordingly pro-rated for March.
To worsen the situation, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Fagbohun presented papers of Professor Okebukola to the Appointments and Promotions (Academic) Committee of the university at its 112th Statutory meeting of April 29, 2016 for him to proceed on sabbatical leave effective February 15, 2016 (two days before his retirement!). Sabbatical Leave in retirement!! Fortunately, for the vice chancellor, this act of impunity was covered when the Governor signed the 70 years retirement bill in 2016. The bill was as a result of the union’s struggle.
- ii) After a group of individuals got their promotion to the professorial cadre, the Vice- Chancellor quickly changed the rule for the papers of others to be sent abroad for assessment. The reason was to delay the promotion process of this group, because this set included the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman of ASUU-LASU, Drs. Isaac Oyewumi and Adeyemi-Suenu Adebowale, whose dismissals were eventually contrived and masterly executed.”
On aiding the Registry to manipulate Governing Council’s decisions
He said: “The registry of LASU under Mr. Akinwunmi Lewis (Registrar) is known for impunities, which include the manipulation of Governing Council’s decisions. We will cite only four examples out of many during the tenure of the current vice chancellor.
One, a certain Coach Atanda whose appointment was wrongfully terminated as a result of improper interpretation of our regulations by the Registry petitioned the Governing Council. Council in its wisdom ruled that he ought not to have been sacked initially and should be reinstated and paid. In communicating to him, the Registry denied him pay for the five months he was outside. The gentleman died recently.
“Two, one Dr. Oladele Abodoye (Department of Physiology) was employed at LASUCOM when Prof. Obafunwa was Provost; and was placed below his appropriate position. When another Provost assumed duty (Prof. Oshinusi), he petitioned the College and he was properly placed and paid his arrears. When Prof. Obafunwa became vice chancellor, using Mr. Akinwunmi Lewis as Deputy Registrar (Academics Staff Establishment) to bye-pass the then Registrar, the case was re-visited by Prof. Obafunwa.
“The placement of Dr. Abidoye was reversed and he was made to pay back all monies collected as per the salary grade placement. When Prof. Obafunwa left and the current 10th Governing Council called for memoranda from all aggrieved parties, Dr. Abidoye petitioned in 2016. The Council decided in his favour that he should be properly placed and paid accordingly. Rather than implement Council decision and communicate same to Dr. Abidoye, the Registrar, Mr. Akinwunmi Lewis, wrote a letter to LUTH to obtain documents which were ab initio the bone of contention and on which Council had passed a decision. Till date, he has refused to implement the Governing Council decision choosing to pursue the vendetta agenda of his master, Prof. Oladapo Obafunwa. The current vice chancellor has chosen to look the other way.
Three – the new Conditions and Schemes of Service 2017. The Governing Council approved a draft which is the result of collective bargaining with all the Staff Unions. Council directed the Registrar to return same to the Committee for minor editorial work with a deadline of three weeks. Rather than carry out Council decision, the Registrar kept the document for one year; and a completely doctored document with many strange insertions was finally circulated a year after.
Four, Council decided in the case of a guarantor (Prof. F.A.R. Adeleke) to a member who took a bond that he was not liable to pay as the University faltered in its responsibility. Rather than communicate Council decision as taken, the Registrar, as Secretary to Council, wrote Prof. Adeleke demanding that he pays over N1 million. Fortunately, Prof. Adeleke is a member of Council and was aware of the decision taken; and so he petitioned. The Registrar was over-ruled. If he had not been a member of Council, Prof. Adeleke would have had to live with the act of impunity of the Registrar, like others who were helpless.
In all these, the Governing Council appears powerless and unable to call to order the vice chancellor and the Registrar, Mr. Akinwunmi Lewis. Mr. Lewis continues to run the Registry as a crisis-generating arm of the University.”
Deliberate Misinterpretation of the Law to Witch-Hunt Perceived Opposition
He said: “Rules governing the University are being deliberately misinterpreted by the registry under Mr. Akinwunmi Lewis to deal with those perceived to be loyalists of the Union, because the University Administration under Prof. Fagbohun sees ASUU-LASU as opposition.
A clear case is that of retroactive bonding. Many members on training in many instances wrote the University that they are on training for Ph.D programmes. The University failed to respond, but turned round after years to claim they are running the programmes illegally and must, therefore, be bonded retroactively from the date of their admissions, despite the fact that the University failed to sponsor them. Yet, these are staff members who combine training with university assignments. They were not found wanting in their duties as employees of LASU.”
Election of Deputy Vice Chancellors
He said: “The law establishing LASU makes it very clear that there shall be two vice chancellors at every point in time, and there are procedures for electing them. It took the Union a series of letters and agitations on the need for compliance before the vice chancellor conducted elections into these offices. The election of the deputy vice chancellor (Admin) was recently held in October, 2017 close to two years after the assumption of office of the vice chancellor. It was one issue over which the Union and the vice chancellor had very serious disagreement.”
Resistance to the Reversal of Dr. O.T.F. Abanikannda’s Professorial Chair
He said: “O.T.F Abanikannda is a name that has been recurrent in the dirty politics of LASU from the days of Professor Abisogun Leigh as the vice chancellor in the early 2000s. There is no crisis in LASU in the last two decades in which he hasn’t been prominent. It is via this political game that he got elevated from the rank of Lecturer I to Senior Lecturer, and from Senior Lecturer (skipping the rank of Associate Professor) to a Professor, both through illegal means during the tenures of Professors Abisogun Leigh and John Obafunwa respectively. He increased his act of academic terrorism as soon as he became a Professor.
“ASUU-LASU challenged the professorship of Dr. O.T.F. Abanikannda. The 10th Governing Council of LASU under the chairmanship of Professor Bayo Ninalowo set up a committee to investigate the process that made him Professor. This was found to have violated all principles and rules known to LASU books, and global university practices. He was found not prima facie qualified (PFQ) ab initio.
“The vice chancellor made all efforts to arm-twist the Staff Unions to allow the illegal professorial appointment to be sustained, but all pleas (including weeping at a stakeholders’ meeting convened by the vice chancellor on the matter) met the deaf ears of the Unions. It was on the basis of these that the professorial chair of Dr. O.T.F. Abanikannda was withdrawn by the Governing Council, and his rank reversed to senior lecturer about July, 2016.
“Dr. O.T.F. Abanikannda has taken the university to court with the hope of reversing the decision of the Governing Council on this matter. The University Administration under Professor Lanre Fagbohun that is expected to defend the decision of the Governing Council is attending to the case so weakly and secretly too, to ensure that Dr. Abanikannda succeed in reversing the justice done to this case. We have reliable information that the University intends to bungle the case so as to let Dr. O.T.F. Abanikannda get a favourable judgement.”
Appointment of Dr. Kolawole Obayemi as a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Law: A Case of Maladministration and Double Standard
He said: “Prof. John Obafunwa in his days as the vice chancellor appointed one Dr. Kolawole Obayemi as a senior lecturer to the Department of Business Law with only two academic publications. This is the same vice chancellor who had refused to promote old staff members in the same Faculty, who had between 15 and 20 academic publications, with Ph.D, from lower ranks to the ranks of lecturer I and senior lecturer.
The Union had made several presentations for the University to address and correct this questionable appointment but nothing acceptable was done about it. The appointment of this lecturer, who initially claimed to be an indigene of Lagos State from Epe, but after appointment, changed his state of origin to Osun State, was frantically protected and defended by Prof. Lanre Fagbohun. This was not a surprise to the Union, because he was the external expert invited by Prof. Obafunwa’s administration that interviewed Dr. Kolawole Obayemi (with two publications), strangely he found him suitable, and recommended him as senior lecturer above his colleagues in the Faculty of Law who had been stagnated for decade despite having more than adequate publications. Dr. Obayemi’s papers were also never sent out for assessment as required by the rules, beyond the expert interview arranged for him where Prof. Fagbohun served as the expert.”
Fruitless Effort of the Vice Chancellor to Renew the Appointment of Prof. Princewill Alozie against the Laws of the University
He said: “Prof. Princewill Alozie of the Department of Philosophy was a 76 years old professor, seeking a renewal of his contract appointment for the fourth consecutive time, and eighth cumulative year, against the maximum tenure of three years permitted by the rules. The Union met with Prof. Alozie to discuss this development with him informally, with the objective of convincing him to see reason why he should not apply for the eighth time for the renewal of his contract appointment. He however, acted against the advice of the Union.
The Union made a representation to the Appointment and Promotion (Academic) Committee (A & PC) of the University under the Chairmanship of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Lanre Fagbohun, not to violate the law in this wise, but the A & P (Academic) Committee under his chairmanship, went ahead to recommend the renewal of the contract appointment to the Governing Council for approval. The Union petitioned the Governing Council. The 10th Governing Council eventually denied the University A & P (Academic) Committee the approval of the appointment on the strength of the Union’s presentation to her.
- The Onslaught on the Union
The above items are some of the issues the Union observed, and drew the attention of the vice chancellor to. His intolerance of opposition, dissent and checks became the propelling factor (with the aid of some opportunists in the system and aggrieved members who are under suspension from ASUU-LASU) in his project of seeking to annihilate the Union; and to achieve this, the current leadership of the Union has been marked out as one that must be destroyed and eliminated from the system.’’
The Trumped-up Cases: Dr. Isaac Akinloye OYEWUMI (Chairman, ASUU-LASU)
He said: “Dr. Isaac Akinloye Oyewumi was queried based on a petition written by one Abiodun Adebola Jolaosho. The petition titled “save our soul petition against Dr. Isaac Akinloye Oyewumi” alleged that Dr. Oyewumi in 2012 demanded through a third party, the sum of fifty thousand Naira to compute their results, which he (the petitioner) failed to pay; hence he claimed, he had not graduated as at October 6, 2016 when the petition was written. He, therefore, prayed that the vice chancellor should use his good offices to release his result; and investigate the matter.
On getting to the panel, it was discovered that the original petitioner didn’t appear. The person who showed up was a certain Mr. Davies Abiodun Alabi who graduated from LASU in 2013, and whose name appeared on page 47 of the LASU 18th Convocation brochure of 2013. The panel allowed this graduate of the University with a different name to adopt the petition of somebody else, who is seeking the intervention of the University to enable him graduate, in the person of one Abiodun Adebola Jolaosho.
The sittings of panels on the matter went on despite all facts indicating falsehood in the allegation. Noticing victimization, Dr. Oyewumi appeared before the Joint Committee of Council and Senate with his Counsel (as provided in the LASU Law), but the Panel Chair, Mr. Sunny Ajoseh (a former Head of Service of Lagos State and an external member of Council) denied the counsel an opportunity to participate in the sitting, thereby denying Dr. Oyewumi fair hearing.
A pre-determined report of the University Administration was presented to members of the panel to sign, but majority of the panelists refused to sign, claiming the report did not reflect the findings of the panel. On the September 7, 2017, the Chairman of the panel, Mr. Sunny Ajose, hurriedly made a PowerPoint presentation of an unsigned report that was never circulated to Council members till date. There couldn’t be any debate on the matter since there was no report before the Council members. The Chairman of Council, Prof. Bayo Ninalowo, guided the Council to announce the pre-determined verdict of dismissal on Dr. Isaac Oyewumi.’’
Dr. Adebowale ADEYEMI-SUENU (Secretary, ASUU-LASU)
He said: ‘’Dr Adebowale Adeyemi-Suenu was initially accused and queried for altering over 200 results. Later this was reduced to 12, and later 4. It was even discovered that the outstanding four results were of a member of the Department – one Dr. (Mrs.) Modupeolu Fasheke, who never attend Departmental meetings. Hence she was not present at the meeting when decisions were reached and documented that some students who failed her exams should be upgraded.
To the best knowledge of the Union, relying on facts before it, Dr. Adeyemi-Suenu was absolved of the allegation of alteration of result at the level of Sub-Committee of Senate and Council. It was a surprise to the Union on the news that the Chairman of the panel, Mr. Sunny Ajoseh, using a PowerPoint presentation, presented the initial allegation, instead of findings, while the Council hurriedly adopted his recommendation to dismiss Dr. Adeyemi-Suenu in a manner similar to that of Dr. Oyewumi. It is interesting to note that the report of the ICT on the matter showed that similar adjustments were made to results by the immediate HOD before Dr. Adeyemi-Suenu, but the University Administration did nothing about that. The target was our Vice Chairperson.’’
Dr. Femi Adeogun (Dept. of Human Kinetics, Sports and Health Education)
He said: ‘’On that same 7th September, 2017 Mr. Sunny Ajoseh presented a PowerPoint report that was never circulated on the floor of Council, and the Council adopted the recommendations, which consequently led to the demotion of Dr. Femi Adeogun from the rank of Associate Professor to Senior Lecturer.
Dr. Adeogun was queried for surrogacy. Before his query, the University went to press to damage his image as a dishonest person. But on facing a fact-finding panel, he was absolved of the allegation. Few weeks after, he received another query alleging that he bribed a security man to the tune of twenty-five thousand Naira to cover him up on the allegation of surrogacy. At the panel on the trial for bribery, the security man in question (Mr. Busari) appeared before the panel of Senate and Council with a Holy Qur’an. He stated that he is a Muslim, and being a Ramadan period, he could not lie. He then stated unequivocally that he had never met Dr. Femi Adeogun, and that the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Olanrewaju Adigun FAGBOHUN was the one who gave him twenty-five thousand Naira to lie against Dr. Femi Adeogun.
Despite all these revelations, the Governing Council went ahead to demote him. However, Council quickly reversed itself at its next sitting of December 7, 2017, to shield the Vice Chancellor from the possible embarrassing fallout of the case. Dr Adeogun has been reinstated to the position of Associate Professor and even interviewed to move to the rank of a full Professor. As usual this reversal and upliftment will not be announced to the media. However, the issue of the Vice’’ Chancellor (Prof. Olanrewaju Adigun FAGBOHUN) giving twenty-five thousand Naira bribe to a staff to frame up Dr. Adeogun has been swept under the carpet.
See section D(ii) of this write-up wherein the University Administration of Prof. Olanrewaju Adigun FAGBOHUN also offered another bribe of N25,000. This unhealthy development is worrisome.
The Dismissal of 15 Academics: Pseudo Sanitation
He said: ‘’On the 7th of September, 2017, the day the Chair and Vice Chair of ASUU-LASU were pronounced dismissed by the University Administration, thirteen (13) other academic staffers were also pronounced dismissed. This was done to show to the world that the Chair and Vice Chair of ASUU-LASU were not the targets. But the truth the University hid away from the public is that 10 of the 13 academics purportedly dismissed left the system long ago; that is, they were no longer in the service of LASU as at when they were pronounced dismissed. Among these ten is one Dr. Salam whose withdrawal of service was accepted by the University, with a transfer of his pension contributions to his new employer.
Also, Mrs Olubukola Adetoun Oyeniya who resigned from the service while still serving her bond for training was asked to pay six million Naira to the University in lieu of fulfilling her bond. She agreed and offered to pay in four installments, issuing a cheque of 1.5 million naira as first installment. Strangely, the University rejected it, and insisted on a one-off payment. She was pronounced dismissed because she could not cough out six million Naira at a go. The political undertone of Mrs Oyeniya’s dismissal is that she is the daughter of Professor (Mrs.) Omolara BAMGBOYE, a Deputy Vice Chancellor to Professor Obafunwa who later had a grave misunderstanding with her boss (Obafunwa). It is a case of the daughter paying for the ‘sin’ of the mother.