Ex-VCs seek FG, alumni’s intervention
To address the crisis rocking the University of Lagos (UNILAG), former Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Oye Ibidapo Obe, and one-time Vice Chancellor of Caleb University, Prof. Ayodeji Olukoju, have called for the urgent intervention of the Federal Government.
While Ibidapo-Obe canvassed the institution of a visitation panel to look into the conflict, Olukoju said the intervention of a third force at this point was imperative to save the corporate image of the university.
Ibidapo-Obe, who described the situation as “very unfortunate”, said it was avoidable and should not have been allowed to degenerate to the present level.
“This matter has been on for almost one year now and quite a large number of stakeholders had been involved. In fact, we have escalated the discussions higher than us; the thing has escalated to where it is, so we are all embarrassed,” he said.
The former vice chancellor blamed the crisis on lack of communication between the principal actors, particularly the pro-chancellor and the vice chancellor.
He added: “Quite a lot of people have tried to bridge this gap but it has not helped. I feel it has not helped because both parties believe that intervention can only come from Abuja, that it is the powers that be in Abuja that could talk to them but those powers in Abuja decided to keep quiet. And so the crisis escalated.
“Of course both parties could have done things differently, but that is if they communicated but they did not. It’s unfortunate we found ourselves in this phase. It pains me a lot to find the university where I spent 48 years of my life, where I was able to become vice chancellor for seven years to have come to this rather pedestrian and murky situation.”
To salvage the situation, he called on the Visitor to the university to urgently wade in by constituting a visitation panel. Besides, the former VC canvassed the dissolution of the Governing Council in the interest of peace.
“At this time, I think that is what is going to calm things down. Whatever has been done, which is contrary to university rules and regulations, we need to rescind it but that is not to say restoration. Let us try to get the Federal Government to say, ‘listen, I’m not happy with what is happening in Unilag and I’m setting up a visitation panel so that the issues can be addressed’.
“What is happening now has happened this way before and we know the consequences of that on the institution. For me personally, it has been quite an emotional trauma. Let the Federal Government wake up from its slumber and take a decisive action by setting up a visitation panel,” Ibidapo-Obe said.
On his part, Olukoju said the situation should not have gotten to this alarming stage if a third force had intervened on time.
He said the crisis had to do with management. “I mean how to manage human beings. It is possible to handle projects and machinery, but we need to learn how to manage human beings.
“It is unfortunate that we have been hearing conflicting claims; each side is claiming to occupy the high moral ground. I think there should have been a third party that would have intervened in this crisis.”
Olukoju specifically noted that the university’s alumni should have intervened.
“We have a very powerful alumni. The question is what has been the role of the alumni in this crisis? The alumni should have intervened from day one because most of us who are here have had the experience of taking part in the administration of justice here and elsewhere. Two people cannot act or reason the same way. And when you have rules, we have to obey those rules. But beyond the rules, there are informal things you do,” he said.
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