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VC, ASUU at loggerheads over promotion

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VC, ASUU at loggerheads over promotion

FACE-OFF:

Lagos State University (LASU) chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has cried out that the management of the institution is set to arrest some of its members over the allegation of “illegal professorial promotion” against the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun

 

Union: Mgt planning to arrest our members

˜ Management: It’s a figment of their imagination

 

The controversy over the professorial appointment of the Vice-Chancellor of Lagos State University (LASU), Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, has assumed a new dimension.

 

This follows an allegation by the institution’s chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of the management’s orchestrated plans to arrest its members on trumped up charges of burglary and theft of documents. The union had few weeks ago raised the alarm over the professorial promotion of the Vice- Chancellor, and petitioned the Governing Council of the university, alleging that his promotion was illegally backdated. In the allegation levelled against the immediate past Registrar of the university, Mr. Akinwunmi Lewis, ASUU accused him of misinterpreting the content of the decision of the Governing Council on Fagbohun’s appointment as a Professor.

 

But the vice-chancellor, while reacting to the allegation, said about four issues were raised by the union leaders against his person, including allegations of backdated appointment; appointment by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS); non-possession of PhD before his promotion, and lastly that he did not meet the 10-year post professorship qualification before applying for the position of vice-chancellorship of LASU. Fagbohun described the allegation as unfounded and baseless, re  calling that when they circulated that document, the union attached a 2014 Governing Council decision.

 

“They said in the Council decision of 2014 that there was nothing about backdating my professorship. In other words, they said since that decision was taken in 2014, my professorship should have read 2014, and not 2007/2008,” the Vice-Chancellor said. Explaining further, he said the Registrar of the university at that time never knew that he could become the vice-chancellor in 2016, “hence, he could not have started doctoring documents for me in 2014.”

 

According to him, he never knew that he would be vying for vice-chancellorship of LASU in 2016, and so he could not have met anyone to doctor any document for him.

 

“Apart from that, in 2012, I wrote a petition that I was entitled to be promoted as far back as 2007/2008 and that the manner they have implemented the rules was unfair to me,” Fagbohun explained, adding that the same period he moved to the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS). He further said: “I wrote the petition because I wanted to protect my seniority. My seniority ordinarily should go back to 2007/2008, so there is nothing illegal in my petitioning the university and saying I was entitled to have been promoted.

 

 

“The Governing Council took all the petitions and not my own alone. The Governing Council took a decision that they should inform me to go ahead and fill the APER Form for 2007/2008. It was pursuant to that process that they went ahead and when they eventually took my paper they confirmed that this man is worthy of being a professor.” He added: “I had already taken a de-  cision that I should fill the APER Form as at 2007/ 2008. So, it is automatic and I was not the only one that they did that for. In fact, that is the regular practice of the university.

 

The current Dean of the Faculty of Law was also a beneficiary. “What they would say is that when we backdate your promotion to when you ought to have taken it, you would not enjoy financial remuneration, you would only have three months notional remuneration, but your date of promotion would date back to when you ought to have taken it because that is the only way to preserve your seniority. “On March 26, 2012, I got a letter that the Council had considered the report of the Appointment and Promotions Committee, and approved the recommendations.

 

So, to say that the former registrar doctored documents for me to get a chair is a lie. It is just another futile attempt at creating chaos in the university.”

 

However, the union, in its fresh statement issued and signed by its Secretary and Assistant Secretary, Dr. Tony Dansu and Dr. Adeolu Oyekan respectively, noted that the duo, who had earlier been queried by the management for allegedly being in possession of university’s secret document, are currently being monitored by security operatives for possible arrest. But, the university has denied this allegation, describing it as a figment of the imagination of those “peddling it,” saying the university does not believe in lawlessness and that whatever it does usually follows laid-down procedures.

 

The union, in its statement said it was surprised that the vice-chancellor had escalated a “purely internal matter” by engaging the media, adding that such step by the vicechancellor has betrayed the management’s position that all internal mechanisms should be exhausted before externalising issues.

 

ASUU, which confirmed its petition, said it was not directed at the vice-chancellor, but against the immediate past Registrar of the university, Mr. Akinwunmi Lewis. The union also noted that it was not sure the vice-chancellor was referring to its petition in his latest interview on the matter, saying it never raised any issue concerning his appointment by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS); non-possession of PhD, and the 10-year post professorship qualification before applying for the position of vice-chancellorship of LASU.

 

The union accused the former Registrar of misinterpreting the decision of the Council which was taken on May 7, 2014 to promote the vice-chancellor by backdating the promotion to 2008.

 

The statement reads in part: “It is indeed true that our union, on the 1st of June 2018, wrote a petition, with reference number ASUULASU/ GS/16/294 to the Governing Council, urging it to investigate the culpability or otherwise of the immediate past Registrar of the university, Mr. Akinwunmi Lewis, in the wrongful dating of the promotion of then Dr. Olanrewaju Fagbohun to the rank of professor.

 

“In a reminder we sent to the Council in our letter, dated 6th  July 2018 (ref: ASUU-LASU/ GS/16/302), we made an additional prayer, that the former Vice-Chancellor, Prof. John Obafunwa, be also investigated for possible culpability in the matter.

 

“Our reason for sending the petition arose from the observation of some documents that came into the possession of the union from anonymous sources. From the facts available so far, the 9th Governing Council, which preceded the current one, met on the 7th of May 2014 and promoted Dr. Olanrewaju Adigun Fagbohun, a former employee of the university (who withdrew his service from LASU with effect from 16th August 2011) to the rank of Professor of Public Law, effective same date (7th May 2014).

 

 

The Registrar, who also doubled as the Secretary to Council, in conveying the decision of Council to Dr. Fagbohun, put the effective date of his professorial appointment at 1st October, 2008.”

 

The statement added; “Following the petition and specifically on the 23rd of July, 2018, the Secretary and Assistant Secretary of ASUU-LASU, who signed the petition on behalf of the union, were queried for being in possession of copies of the promotion letter of Dr. Fagbohun. “Now, there are claims that the original file copy of the letter is missing at the Faculty of Law, and we are aware that these officers of the union are being monitored by security forces for arrest on trumped up charges of burglary and theft of document.

 

 

The rush to the press is yet another effort to preemptively change the narrative, turn this matter on its head and make the vice-chancellor look like a victim, even as he seeks to silence the union.”

 

But the Acting Head of the university’s Centre for Information, Press and Public Relations, Mr. Ademola Adekoya said the university was neither planning to arrest anyone nor attempting to clamp down on the union. He said the university, following its rules and regulations, had queried the petitioners for possessing documents illegally, and that they owe the vice-chancellor no explanation but the committee that queried them

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