A University is noted for excellence. It is a citadel of character and learning.
By Emmanuel Oladesu
In the university system, teaching, research, service to the community, committee system and its non-negotiable law, the University Act, cannot be compromised. Procedures, due process and other cherished traditions are strictly followed. They give content, form, predictability and reputation to the system. They are the foundation of its permanent integrity.
The Governing Council, led by the Chairman/Pro-Chancellor, is the employer of the vice chancellor. It can hire and fire its employee. But, to prevent arbitrary, the law, which is sacrosanct, cannot be brushed aside.
The University of Lagos Act is the ground norm. Section 17 of the Act (as amended) stipulates the procedure for the removal of the VC.
According to the clause, “if it appears to the Council that there are reasons for believing that the Vice Chancellor, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, the Provost of a College or any other person employed as a member of the academic or administrative staff of the University or a College should be removed from his office or employment on the grounds of misconduct or of inability to perform the functions of his office, the Council shall:
(a) Give notice of those reasons to the person in question,
(b) Make arrangements:
(i) For a Joint Committee of the Council and the Senate to investigate the matter, where it relates to the Vice Chancellor, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, the Provost of a College or the Registrar, and to report on it to the Council; or
(ii) Make arrangements for the person in question or his representative to be afforded an opportunity of appearing before and being heard by the investigating committee with respect to the matter, and if the Council, after considering the report of the investigating committee, is satisfied that the person in question should be removed as aforesaid, the Council may so remove him by an instrument in writing signed on the directive of the Council.”
Were these legal provisions followed before Prof. Toyin Ogundipe was sacked as Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos by the Governing Council presided over by Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN)?
If they were followed, it is the end of an era. The curtains have been drawn on Ogundipe’s tenure. If they were set aside by the polarised Council, it is up to the temple of justice to decide.