UNILAG Pro-Chancellor, Babalakin fault panel and resigned
The crisis at the University of Lagos took a new twist on Thursday as its suspended Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the varsity’s Governing Council, Dr Wale Babalakin (SAN), tendered his resignation.
The resignation came a few hours after the Special Visitation Panel set up by the Federal Government to look into the management crisis rocking the university submitted its report to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu.
Babalakin’s resignation, dated September 15, 2020 was addressed to Adamu and titled, ‘Letter of resignation,’ He said there were too many vested interests in UNILAG case, who were not approaching the issues objectively.
Babalakin who thanked the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, for making him UNILAG pro-chancellor, as well as the chairman of the Federal Government Negotiation Team on the agreement reached with university unions in 2009, from January 6, 2017, till date, said, “Recent events have made my position in these two offices untenable.”
He recalled that he led the governing council of the university to remove the vice-chancellor on allegations of corruption and financial recklessness, forgery and deliberate policy of wrongfully concealing information, among others, pointed out that all the Federal Government Representatives on the governing council voted for the removal of the vice-chancellor.”
The letter read partly, “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.
“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….”
Babalakin, who said it “is acutely hurtful that I am leaving before achieving our goal of sanitising the University of Lagos,” said he was leaving based on principle.
“In a situation where my employers believe that the actions I took may not be right, the appropriate thing to do is bow out in honour,”
Meanwhile the education minister had earlier disclosed in Abuja that the SVP, headed by Prof. Tukur Sa’ad, had turned in its report.
Adamu also on the occasion received the report on the administrative audit of the African University of Science and Technology.
He assured the public that the Federal Government would dispense justice in the UNILAG crisis after scrutinising the panel’s report.
Adamu said, “I am very happy to learn that the panel worked very hard during the two weeks given to it in order to arrive at recommendations which I hope will assist the Visitor in taking an informed decision to solve the lingering crisis.
“The Visitor of the university, after due consideration of the report, will take a decision on the matter as appropriate in order to restore peace and a conducive learning atmosphere in the university of Lagos and the university system as a whole.”
In his remarks, Sa’ad said, “We cannot divulge any content of the report but we are happy that we have completed this work. And we hope this special presidential visitation panel would have made some contributions towards resolving the problem in the University of Lagos and towards preventing similar problems in other universities.”