The Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Dr. Wale Babalakin(SAN), has resigned following alleged disagreement with the Federal Government on the Visitation Panel sent to the university.
He said there were too many vested interests in UNILAG matter, who were not approaching the issues objectively.
But he said it has come to a stage he must stand by his principles since the Federal Government believed the actions he took may not be right.
He said the visitation panel was raised to exonerate the Vice-Chancellor and implicate the Pro-Chancellor.
He said although he appeared in protest before the panel, he made it clear that the panel could not determine the issues before it.
He said he will also not be available again to serve as the chairman of the Federal Government Negotiation Team on the Agreement reached with university unions in 2009.
He has been the chairman of the negotiating team since January 6th, 2017.
He said he had served the university system in Nigeria with his heart and intellect.
He said as Pro-Chancellor of the University of Maiduguri and the University of Lagos, he did not receive sitting allowances and other perks of office.
He said he did not allow the two institutions to provide him with food or drinks.
He said he paid for every right or privilege that was conferred on me.
Babalakin’s letter of resignation to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu was dated September 15, 2020 but it was made public barely a few hours after the submission of the report of the Visitation Panel.
The same letter was copied President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the Visitor to the university.
The letter reads in part: “I would like to thank the President of the Federal of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari for giving me the opportunity to serve as the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos (the “University”) from May 2017 till date.
“I am also grateful that I was considered fit to be the Chairman of the Federal Government Negotiation Team on the Agreement reached with university unions in 2009, from 6th January 2017 till date. I equally want to thank you sir, for your role in recommending me to the President.
“Recent events have made my position in these two offices untenable.
“I led the Governing Council of the University to remove the Vice-Chancellor of the University from office for amongst other reasons: (a)Corruption and financial recklessness; (b)Forgery; (c) Complicity in the collapse of the University library and planned cover up; (d) Deliberate policy of wrongfully concealing information; ( e) Depriving the Faculties in the University of funds; (f)Concealing and distorting finances of the Internally Generating Units of the University; (g)Undermining the academic process and seeking to appoint a Professor by fiat; (h) Siphoning of the University’s funds through dubious contract awards; (i)Undermining the office of the Registrar; (j) Failure to follow due process in organizing the University’s convocation ceremony; and (k)Sponsoring or acquiescing in the unconstitutional actions of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Lagos chapter.
“Sir, it is noteworthy that all the Federal Government Representatives who are the independent members on the Governing Council voted for the removal of the Vice-Chancellor.
“After calm had been restored in the University, the Visitor acting within his powers, set up a Presidential Visitation Panel to review the actions taken by Governing Council.
“The Vice-Chancellor (who had been removed from office) and myself were told to recuse ourselves for the duration of the Visitation Panel.
“I find it difficult to understand how a non-executive Chairman of a Governing Council could be requested to recuse himself during the visitation
“The Vice-Chancellor could only recuse himself if he were still in office. Implicit in this position is that the Vice-Chancellor was acknowledged as still being in office despite his removal.”
Babalakin faulted the terms of reference of the committee, which he claimed, were set to achieve a predetermined agenda.
He added: “The terms of reference of the Visitation Panel clearly indicated to any discerning person that the Visitation Panel was empanelled to exonerate the Vice-Chancellor and implicate the Pro-Chancellor. “For easy reference, the terms of reference of the Visitation Panel are:
To review the report of the Council sub-committee on review of expenditure of the University of Lagos since May 2017 and make appropriate recommendations after affording all those indicted an opportunity to defend themselves;
To examine the steps taken by the Council leading to the removal of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, and ascertain whether due process was followed as stipulated in the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Act, 2003, and the principle of fair hearing adhered to;
To determine whether the process (if any) leading to the appointment of the acting Vice Chancellor for the University was consistent with the provisions of the enabling Act;
To make appropriate recommendations including sanctions for all those found culpable by the special visitation team on the allegations contained in the report as well as other subsequent actions arising therefrom; and
To make any other recommendations that will assist the government to take decisions that will ensure peaceful, stable and effective administration of the University.
“As stated earlier, the Vice-Chancellor was removed for various reasons and not just as a result of the findings contained in the Dagari Report. Items (b) and (c) were directed at the Pro-Chancellor and Governing Council.
“Unfortunately, those items deal with the interpretation of the laws of the land. The appropriate forum to determine the laws of the land is a court of law or a judicial tribunal. It cannot be determined by academics of a different discipline no matter how distinguished. These terms of reference are ultra-vires the Visitation Panel as constituted.”