In a bid to decongest classrooms, improve teacher-student ratio, as well as provide conducive atmosphere for effective teaching and learning process in its schools, the Zamfara State Government said it had in the last seven years constructed over 4,000 new classroom structure in primary schools across the state.
The Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (ZSUBEB), Alhaji Murtala Adamu Jangebe, disclosed this while addressing newsmen in Gusau about the activities of the board to transform the state’s education system. The Chairman, who recalled that before the inception of this present administration there were dilapidated structures in the primary schools, hinted that the level of the decayed infrastructure made the construction of additional new classrooms necessary as part of efforts at improving the education sector.
He noted that apart from constructing new 4,000 classroom structures, the Board also procured teaching and learning materials worth several millions of naira to adequately equip the schools in order to ensure that the pupils have quality learning environment. “So far, we have constructed over 4,000 classrooms since inception of this administration in 2011, and we have also procured learning materials valued at several millions of naira and equipped our schools across the state,” Jangebe added.
OAU: ASUU, CONUA disown ‘randy’ lecturer
- More ‘victims’ recount ordeal with embattled Prof.
The sexual harassment scandal rocking the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, is yet to douse, as more damning revelations and verdicts have continued to emerge from, even the unusual quarters.
It is no longer news that the embattled Professor of Management and Accounting, a sexagenarian, Richard Akindele, who was accused by a female student, Ms Monica Osagie, of sexually harassing her in a damning audio recording that has gone viral on social media, has been suspended indefinitely by the Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede-led management of the institution.
But, a new twist to the sexual harassment allegation is that apart from the university’s lecturers’ unions, under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Congress of University Academics (CONUA), declaring their support for the management’s decision, the unions have also distanced themselves from the embattled professor, claiming he is not their member.
Meanwhile, New Telegraph has exclusively gathered from more ex-students of the Accounting Department of the university’s faculty of Administration, who have narrated their ordeal in the hand of the Prof. Akindele either as just their course lecturer or as their project supervisor.
Some of the students, particularly the 2001 set who shared their experiences on the class’ WhatsApp group, said the lecturer was in the habit of threatening female students that they would fail his examination as a ploy to lure them into his ‘trap.’
They also said unlike other courses they took in the department, Akindele was in the habit of arranging separate seats for both male and female students during examinations.
According to one of the female students, who craved anonymity but whose matriculation number started with MAC/2001/****, the embattled lecturer, who she noted taught her Management Theories with Course Title MAC 201, had lied to her that she failed the course.
She explained; “You know this lecturer has a style of announcing the students’ results in his course. Unlike others who would paste the results by their doors, Akindele would ask us to report to the lobby of his office and ask each of the students to come in one by one.
“If you are a male, he would simply tell you your result in few seconds and you go. But if you are a female student he ‘likes,’ the simple thing is that he will tell you that you didn’t do well. He would just say “you scored F” without telling you the exact score.
“So when he told me that, I just went to my brother who was also a lecturer in the Faculty of Social Sciences and when he asked him what happened, the man said my brother should tell me to come to him the following day. Then when I got there the following day, Akindele, just chastised me for reporting him to my brother. At the end of the day, I had an ‘A’ in the course.”
Similarly, another student who was a former students’ union leader on the campus, who graduated from the department in 2002, accused the lecturer of being notorious for such practice, which he described as embarrassing.
The source said; “In fact I have a classmate who was married to another of our classmates but when she went back for MBA programme, the professor pestered her to the extent that the lady had to show him pregnancy before she could be freed from the pressure.”
It would be recalled that following the hues and cries that the incident generated, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, had in a statement on Thursday, last week, confirmed the indefinite suspension of the lecturer over his alleged complicity in the sexual harassment case.
The university’s decision, according to a statement released by its Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mr. Abiodun Olarewaju, had followed the preliminary report of an investigative panel set up to look into the matter by the vice-chancellor.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued by ASUU and signed by its newly elected Chairman, Dr. Adeola Egbedokun, the union said it was satisfied with the prompt response of the management towards ensuring sanity in the system.
“ASUU-OAU, therefore, encourages the Vice-Chancellor and his team not to relent in their efforts to get to the root of the matter and ensure that justice is done and seen to have been done in the matter. The union also admonishes its members to always adhere strictly to the code of conduct guiding their appointment in the university as they carry out their lawful activities,” the statement added.
When probed further on whether the union would refer the embattled lecturer to its Ethics and Grievances Committee for further investigation and action, Egbedokun told New Telegraph that Prof. Akindele had formally signed out of ASUU some months ago, and so is incapable in that wise of taking any action against him.
Also on its part, CONUA, through a short message to New Telegraph by its Chairman, Dr. Niyi Sunmonu, said: “Our position when the news broke was for the university to investigate and establish the veracity of the matter. That has not changed. We went further to state that culpability should be appropriately sanctioned. As for the membership of CONUA for the professor, as I write we’re yet to effect the check off dues of CONUA members. Thank you sir.”
Meanwhile, the matter took yet another dramatic dimension at the weekend, when for the first time, the acclaimed victim, Ms Osagie, who had hitherto assumed anonymous status, unveiled herself to the public.
Ms Osagie, a postgraduate student of Master’s programme in Business Administration (MBA), who had spoken through her counsellor and Executive Director, Women Advocate Research and Documentation (WARDC), Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, accused the university of maligning her, saying she was never invited to appear before the committee set up to investigate the case.
But, the university in its statement said: “Although the Investigative Committee had invited both Prof. Richard I. Akindele and Miss Osagie, only Professor Akindele had appeared before the Committee, while Miss Osagie is yet to appear or make any representation. The report indicated that many other witnesses appeared before the Committee and gave useful evidence. The university is making efforts to ensure that Miss Osagie appears before the investigative committee so that it can hear her side of the case and promptly submit its final report.”
However, in a statement issued by Dr. Akiyode-Afolabi, a former students’ union leader, said Ms. Osagie was compelled to involve third party, who in turn allegedly made the matter public, since the student’s effort to use internal mechanism to address the matter had failed.
Dr. Akiyode-Afolabi wrote: “Contrary to the information coming from the university’s press release, Ms Monica Osagie was never invited by the school management to appear before any panel. We have been in contact with Ms. Osagie and have her instructions to inform the management of her willingness to appear before any panel set up by the university, if and when duly invited.”
She added: “In this case in point, Ms Osagie made efforts to inform senior members of the Faculty of Administrations about her predicament and no one was able or willing to intervene leaving her to resort to self-help in documenting her evidence. This, once again brought into focus the need to strengthen regulations and complaint mechanisms in our institutions, so as not to expose students to unethical advances by randy lecturers.”
When New Telegraph called on the university’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Olarewaju to confirm if truly the acclaimed victim was not invited, he explained that only the committee members could confirm that, and that he would find out and get back to us. But as at the time of filing this report, he is yet to either confirm or deny the allegation.
However, by Sunday morning, a letter inviting Ms Osagie to appear before the panel today, April 24, had surreptitiously emerged from the office of the university’s Dean of Post Graduate College and signed by the university Deputy Registrar and Post Graduate College Secretary, Mrs. A.O. Fadeyibi.
The letter with Ref. No: ADP 15/16/H/1424, entitled: “Re: Investigative panel on alleged harassment of a female student: Detailed audio recording: Request for the presentation of Miss Osagie Monica Oselode,” reads: “I write at the instance of the Provost, Post-Graduate College to invite you to appear before the investigative panel on alleged harassment of a female student detailed in audio recording at its meeting which will come up at 10:00am on Tuesday April 24, 2018.
“Please be informed that on arrival, you are required to call the Secretary to the panel to facilitate your appearance before the panel. Thank you.”
Whistleblowing policy’ll address abuses, corruption on campuses – LASU VC
Since his assumption of office as the Vice-Chancellor of Lagos State University (LASU), the atmosphere and the image of the state-owned university have never remained the same. Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun in this interview with MOJEED ALABI, speaks about the good and the bad of the university, including solutions to the rising cases of financial and moral corruption on Nigerian campuses.
Many things seem to have changed about this university environment in terms of aesthetics and infrastructural development. How have you been able to do this?
I will start by thanking the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode for the various developmental projects executed on the campus that have been consistent with our vision. The state has tarred the entire network of roads on the campus, lighted up the university and changed a whole lot of things. And till now the government has not stopped working. It has continued to support us with huge subvention by providing at least 80 per cent of it. And, that has helped us tremendously to ensure that regularly staff salaries are paid. The government is also supporting the university with funding towards actualising our accreditation exercise. We have also continued to have good relationship with ministries and parastatals, which use our faculties in the area of research to deepen their activities.
For instance, there is a social economic studies being conducted by the state, our Faculty of Social Sciences is very much involved. It is a confirmation of the trust in us by the government. The Ready-Set-Work programme, which is entering its third phase, is another innovation of the state government, which is aimed at deepening the entrepreneurship skills and employability of our graduates.
But, there have been reports of demotion, suspension and dismissal of staffers, which have resulted in various court cases with a particular union on your campus accusing your administration of witch-hunting. How true is this?
Only journalists can independently help our institutions to overcome challenges created by issues like this. The media must come up with editorials and investigative reports to critique the system because we must all protect our value system together. This is because your pen can make or mar institutions, and this is why they say the pen is mightier than the sword.
But, the media doesn’t seem to realise this power. Don’t talk to Fagbohun or any member of my management; meet the security guards, cleaners and students and do your unbiased assessment of our activities. Any institution that fails to instill discipline will definitely have itself to blame.
We need discipline in the country and it must begin with the education sector. Look at the case of Professor O.T.F Abanikanda that you raised, who sued the university because the Governing Council took an action against him. As at today, my knowledge about that case is that the university has engaged a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) to lead our team, and till date the matter is in court.
And, on the allegation that some of those sacked had their cases reviewed, I must let you know that if a decision was taken by the Council, you have a right to complain and seek review of the case. I think about two persons, who were part of those dismissed had their cases reviewed because they wrote to complain.
So, the Council took the decision and did the review of the case. And at the end of the day, if you are still not comfortable with the review, you can go to court. However, we have a situation where some individuals who went to court and while their cases are still subsisting in court, they go to the pages of newspapers to complain.
But I will not join them in doing that because apart from being the vice-chancellor, I am also a Professor of Law. I won’t join such people to undermine the judiciary because the matter is subjudice. You sued that your dismissal is illegal, why don’t you live the adjudicator to do its work? Why are you inciting the public against the institution when your matter is already before the court?
And, you should note that if one union is running up and down to run down the management, what happens to the other unions? Are they on sleeping tablets that they are not doing the same thing? Then you must note that something must be wrong somewhere.
What is your reaction to the rising cases of moral and financial corruption on Nigerian campuses, and particularly the recent OAU saga?
Well, the fact that it is not only OAU that has such challenge, but one of the things you would recall we did on resumption into office is to institute whistleblowing policy because we strongly believe that it is one of the many ways to get information from the students and other members of the university community.
Of course, when we get the information, we quietly investigate. This is why you see that disciplinary actions have been very strict on our campus here and we will continue along that line. That is why I advise other academic institutions to toe the same path because the system assures informants of adequate protection, and due process.
In the case of sexual harassment, there are instances where students are provocatively dressed and they become irresistible to people of opposite sex. Shouldn’t there be dress codes on campuses?
You would also recall that this administration had started out with dress codes. We do not tell our students what to wear, but there is a standard you must meet by not dressing provocatively. We won’t tell you what to wear but we will tell you what not to wear. And we will enforce it. Though, we have some faculties like Law, School of Transport and the College of Medicine which have prescribed dress codes in their own ways, however, we cannot deny the fact that LASU is a subset of a larger Nigerian society where some mischief makers in the system are simply interested in crises because they benefit from such.
At the end of the day, when we discipline students, they go on different platforms to castigate us. Few days back, we started engaging our students on cultism because we have found out that the use of abusive substances is becoming rampant. It will shock you that we had intelligence report towards last convocation when staff members incited cultists to invade the convocation ground. But the students themselves are also enjoying the peace that we have here and they came to report the situation to us.
During the last admission process, LASU could only admit about 4,000 candidates despite the increasing figure of admission seekers in the institution. How do you intend to increase your admission quota?
You would notice that we are aggressively improving our facilities towards ensuring that we can increase our admission quota. We have attracted benefactors, who are complementing government’s efforts in terms of infrastructure development. For instance, The Caverton Helicopters has just donated to us a 500-seater capacity auditorium, which construction work is already ongoing. Also, through the office of the Special Adviser to the President on SDGs, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, we have received a new ambulance and the construction of a primary healthcare centre. All of these are aside the TETFund intervention projects, which we have received our allocations and we are just going through the process of selecting those to be involved. By the time all these are actualised, more access will be opened to candidates subscribing for admission into the university. You may not feel all these until the next one year or thereabouts.
The law establishing LASU did not provide for hostel facilities on campus, but now you are considering building hostels. Has the law been reviewed?
In terms of hostel facilities, I want to assure you that the law establishing LASU, which hitherto was meant to be a non-residential university, has now provided for accommodation. Hence the 6,000 bed space hostel has been approved by the state government. So, we are covered under the law. And in terms of security, the way we are going to be doing it, the experiences of the older institutions like UNILAG, UI and OAU has taught us how to go about it. The model we are putting up doesn’t give the management the responsibility of hostel maintenance; it is a private sector arrangement with PWC serving as the transaction adviser. At least, two companies have been selected to build about 13 of the hostel blocks out of the total number of 16 we are planning to build. I must add that from the starting point, we are concerned with affordability of the hostels to our students.
The university’s Law Faculty used to be very strong, but suddenly it lost NUC and the Council of Legal Education accreditation. What is the situation now?
The truth is that there was a time the university, for two years, could not admit students into the Law Faculty because we lost our accreditation with NUC. Thereafter, NUC came back and gave us full accreditation which is what we have now. But, what we ought to have done at that time was to have gone back to the Council of Legal Education and tell them we have our accreditation back by showing them the papers so that they can send their team for another round of verification or inspection. We failed to do that then, but that is already in process towards rectifying that. So our students are not in any peril.
How far about LASU external system and the backlog of certificates?
We have successfully wound up the external system and almost all the results and certificates have been processed. However, we understand there are still some of the certificate issues that are still pending, but we have retained a director to resolve all them.
What happens to the buildings being used by the external system?
Those buildings, particularly those in Jibowu and Anthony, are not owned by LASU and we have told the owners to do what they want to do with them.
How I broke OAU’s academic record in medicine, by best grad
…won her first scholarship in Primary Four as the best pupil
“In the medical school, women are assumed to be serious and less distracted compared to men. For me, I never saw my gender as a barrier rather as a strength and I got the necessary encouragement I needed as such I wasn’t afraid of the male counterpart.” In my dream in life, I have always yearned to be great, to help people and to find solutions to health problems and challenges that people encounter. “I realised very early in life also that human life is sacred and most noble endeavour to embark upon is saving lives, and I am glad I was able to take that bold step.”
With these words 24-year-old medical graduate of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Olaiya AarinolaBlessing, attributedheracademic prowess and performance to God, hard work, dedication and her focus on her academic work. Olaiya has proved that what a man can do, a woman can do better as she broke the 28-year the university’s record in the just released Final MBChB in Surgery and Medicine with 13 Distinctions in Surgery and Medicine, and 17 awards.
On her academic performance, Olaiya, whose father is a lawyer and mother, a retired head-teacher, hinted that her dedication to her academics had gone a long way to help her academic exploit, even as she recalled that the manifestation of the excellent spirit in her started quite early in life, when she won her first scholarship in Primary Four as the best pupil among her colleagues.
She recounted: “I later graduated from primary school as the best student in 2003 and I proceeded to the Federal Government Girls’ College, Efon-Alaaye, Ekiti State for my secondary school education between 2003 and 2009, where during my sojourn through the college I remained focused and dedicated to my studies.
“For my brilliance, I was appointed Assistant Head Girl and carted away 22 prizes. I was also presented with the award of the most versatile student by the school Principal. And, from there I secured admission to study medicine in 2011 at OAU, where I subsequently graduated with 13 distinctions.”
The third child of family four, Olaiya said she is a firm believer in Jesus Christ, her hobbies are reading, traveling, listening to music and cooking. Olaiya, who declined comments on her love and social life style, as well as her area of specialisation in medical field, said “I plan to further my education and be of great relevance to my country.” Olaiya, who hails from Usin- Ekiti in Ikole Local Government of Ekiti State, said: “I never saw her gender as a barrier, but rather as strength.”
The student, who will be the cynosure of all eyes at the forthcoming graduation of the university, billed for December this year, however, added: “I believe our abilities and capabilities are independent of our gender. A woman can do as much as a man if she is encouraged and motivated.” “Apart from these, I got the necessary encouragement I needed and I was not afraid of my male counterparts,” she had told New Telegraph in an email.
To lead the pack, Olaiya obtained Distinction in Medical Biochemistry and Medical Physiological Sciences in Part Three First MBChB Examination; while in Part Four Second MBChB Examination, she obtained Distinction in Pathology, Distinction in Pharmacology and Distinction in CLI); Part Five Third MBChB Examination (Distinction in Dermatology and Venerology, Distinction in Mental Health and Distinction in Obestrics and Gynecology); Part Six Final MBChB Examination Result (Distinction in Surgery, Distinction in Medicine and Distinction in Community Health). While confirming Olaiya’s outstanding academic performance, the Public Relations Officer for the university, Mr. Abiodun Olarewaju, described her as “a good advertisement of the Obafemi Awolowo University academic standing and well-developed curricula,” which according to him had been designed to deliver the best university education in all spheres.
“What Aarinola Olaiya has done is a good testimony and advertisement of the quality of curriculum we deliver at OAU,” he noted, saying the university is training its students with the best and modern technology that applies in the world. While congratulating the student, Olarewaju hinted that for her intellectual exploit and academic prowess, Olaiya is a worthy ambassador of the university and a symbol of the high level of academic excellence parade by the ivory tower and its products.
He pointed out that OAU, as a leading university in the country, has become a cynosure of all eyes, given its academic standing, saying: “The type of training we give our students is the best in quality and in tune with global standards.”
Olarewaju, who recalled how an alumnus of the university, Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye, recently performed a groundbreaking surgery at the Texas Children’s Hospital in the United States. Olutoye, one of the 22 doctors removed sacrococcygeal teratoma, a rare tumor that appears at the base of a baby’s tailbone and returned the child to the mother’s womb, while 12 weeks after that unprecedented operation, the baby was born normally. According to the university spokesman, that rare feat further shows the quality academic curricular and nature of how the ivory tower trains its students across all faculties and departments.
“The university will not relent on its oars to offer the best form of education in terms of quality and standard,” he added, insisting that Olaiya with her best record has become the best of the best.
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