Workers Unions of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Ogbomoso have kicked against the “Step-aside” order by the Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, describing the governor’s action as illegal, hasty, cumbersome and incongruous to the order that brought in the current principal officers of the university on February 14, 2019.
In separate statements released by LAUTECH Branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Governor Makinde is urged to immediately reverse the directive and follow due process.
The Pacesetter News reported that Governor Makinde, on Friday, directed that the Vice-Chancellor Prof Michael Ologunde step aside until further notice. The decision was communicated in a letter through the Commissioner for Education, Science, and Technology, Barr. Olasunkanmi Olaleye. The VC was also directed to hand over forthwith to the next principal officer in rank in order to ensure uninterrupted flow of normal activities of the institution.
The Pacesetter News understands that Engr. Makinde’s decision was premised on his allegation that the vice-chancellor instigated the university workers to agitate payment of unpaid salaries.
Recall that Makinde had said he was surprised that workers of the university started agitating payment of outstanding salaries immediately after Oyo state took over ownership of the institution.
LAUTECH ASUU in a statement by its Branch Chairman, Dr. Biodun Olaniran and Secretary, Dr Toyin Abegunrin, described the suspension of the VC as a violation of the laws of the university.
The statement read in part:
“That if there is any perceived misdemeanour on the part of any officer appointed by the law in the university, due process according to the law must be followed to address such.
“That the union acknowledges the power of the visitor to hire and fire on one part and that such power is premised on the recommendation of the governing council according to the extant laws;
“That as at today, the governing council has not been properly constituted in line with the law of the University.
“Our Union, therefore, requests that, to maintain industrial harmony on campus and the ongoing restoration of the image of the University, the above resolutions should be considered with the necessary urgency.”
SSANU during its Special Congress on Sunday unequivocally condemned the VC’s firing and making it clear that only the School Governing Council can unseat the VC and not the governor or the Oyo State Ministry of Education.
Read the outcome of the meeting below:
i. LAUTECH is not an appendage of the Ministry of Education, Science & Technology, Oyo State or the extension of the Office of the Hon. Commissioner of Education, Science & Technology of the State but a statutory body that has its establishment law as may be amended.
ii. The law of the university did not give power to administer the university to the Commissioner but the Governing Council.
iii. The power to appoint and terminate staff appointments is resided in the Governing Council and not the Visitor or his proxies including the Commissioner of Education, Science & Technology.
iv. The University enjoys autonomy in Nigeria, Oyo State inclusive.
v. The purported letter signed by the Commissioner of Education, Science & Technology will have no basis in law and can only generate animosity and innuendos within the university community and between Oyo and Osun States more so, the joint ownership status of the university was just severed in December 2020 and unfortunately, the deposed Vice-Chancellor is a vestige of the arrangement prior to the dismantling of the joint ownership status.
vi. The “step aside” directive is considered hasty, cumbersome and incongruous to the order that brought in the current principal officers of the university on February 14, 2019, and should be reversed in the name of equity, fairness and good conscience and also negated the position of His Excellency on LAUTECH as said in his radio and television broadcast of Saturday, February 20, 2021.
“We would like to remind His Excellency, Engineer Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde that on Saturday, February 20, 2021, on a live radio program anchored by the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State(BCOS), he informed the whole world that he heard on a good note that the Vice-Chancellor incited the Unions on campus to go on strike to demand for the payment of their Eight(8) months outstanding salaries and allowances having paid Eight(8)billion naira to Osun State on the separation of joint ownership.
“The Governor in his final submission reasoned that he will allow the Governing Council to investigate the matter when it resumed work in order of him not to be seen as been despotic and undemocratic in dispensing judgment on the matter and that he will possibly not like a court case on the matter.
“Today, that Council has not officially assumed duty in the university since its inauguration by the Governor on April 1, 2021.
” Can we now ask the Commissioner where he derived the power to order the “step aside” of the Vice-Chancellor when the Visitor he claimed to have directed him has openly declared that such power belongs to the Governing Council?
“Our Union is not interested in who becomes the Vice-Chancellor beyond the fact that we lobbied the last Governing Council to consider and give us a homegrown Chief Executive Officer of the University after more than 25years of existence.” They said.
The union, however, asked Governor ‘Seyi Makinde to do the right thing and rescind the directive and follow the rule of law by letting the Governing council investigate the offences of the VC and also standing by their decision.