Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the University of Lagos, Wale Babalakin, and Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, have been directed to recuse themselves from official duties, pending the outcome of the Special Visitation Panel set up by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Federal Ministry of Education spokesman, Ben Goong, made this known in a press statement on Friday.
We gather that the President gave the panel two weeks to submit its report.
The UNILAG Senate was also asked to reconvene to appoint an acting VC.
The terse statement read, “FG directs Pro-Chancellor/Chairman of Governing Council of the University of Lagos, Dr. B. O. Babalakin and the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin T. O. Ogundipe to recuse themselves from official duties, pending the outcome of the Special Visitation Panel set up by the President. Details shortly.”
The UNILAG’s Governing Council, headed by Babalakin removed Ogundipe at its meeting in Abuja on Aug. 12, over allegations of infractions and gross misconduct.
The council, however, appointed Prof. Theophilus Omololu Soyombo of the Faculty of Social Sciences as the Acting Vice-Chancellor.
However, the institution’s Senate and its staff unions condemned Ogundipe’s removal, saying it flouted the university’s regulations.
They passed a vote of confidence in Ogundipe and vowed not to recognise the acting vice-chancellor.
READ ALSO| UNILAG Suspends It’s 51st Convocation
The FG’s directive is coming a few hours after Ogundipe dropped a lawsuit he filed at the National Industrial Court to challenge his sacking by the varsity’s Governing Council.
The suit, marked NICN/LA/278/2020, had as defendants: UNILAG; the varsity’s Council; its Senate; Pro-Chancellor, Dr Wale Babalakin (SAN); Registrar, Oladejo Azeez; and Soyombo, who was appointed acting VC in the wake of Ogundipe’s controversial sacking.
Ogundipe had filed an ex parte application, which was pending for hearing before the court.
But his lawyers, Messrs Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) and Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN) approached the court on Friday with an application to discontinue the case.
The Notice of Discontinuance, filed pursuant to Order 61(1)(1) of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (Civil Procedure) 2017, simply read, “Take Notice that the claimant doth hereby wholly discontinue this suit against the 1st-6th defendants.”
However, in a statement, titled, “Court did not refuse Prof. Ogundipe’s case,” Adegboruwa explained that the embattled VC took the decision to drop the suit “upon detailed consultation with all stakeholders and his supporters in and outside the University.”
Adegboruwa said, “Prof. Ogundipe directed his lawyers to file a notice of discontinuance of the suit and this has been done on August 21, 2020.
“This is to defer to the authority of the President as the Visitor of the University as Prof. Ogundipe has enough time to challenge his purported removal.”