Breaking: Babalakin Resigns As UNILAG Pro-Chancellor
Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN) has resigned as the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos state (UNILAG).
This comes a few hours after a Presidential Visitation Panel set up by the President Muhammadu Buhari to look into the crisis that led to the removal of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe submitted its report on Thursday.
The committee was inaugurated on August 26 to look into the leadership crisis in the university.
The Governing Council of the University of Lagos had confirmed the removal of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ogundipe from office, which sparked controversy and law suits in the institution.
The Council said the decision was based on the investigation of serious acts of wrongdoing, gross misconduct, financial recklessness, and abuse of office against Prof. Ogundipe, which he denied.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) was recently replaced with media mogul, John Momoh as the varsity’s Governing council chairman.
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According to Babalakin, there were too many vested interests in the UNILAG leadership issue.
His letter of resignation was addressed to the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, and copied to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Babalakin in his statement thanked Buhari for giving him the opportunity to serve as the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos from May 2017.
He noted that recent events in the institution led to his exit, saying;
Sir, it is noteworthy that all the Federal Government Representatives who are the independent members on the Governing Council voted for the removal of the Vice-Chancellor. After calm had been restored in the University, the Visitor acting within his powers, set up a Presidential Visitation Panel to review the actions taken by the Governing Council.
The Vice-Chancellor (who had been removed from office) and myself were told to recuse ourselves for the duration of the Visitation Panel. I find it difficult to understand how a non-executive Chairman of a Governing Council could be requested to recuse himself during the visitation.
He faulted the terms of reference of the committee, noting that they were set to achieve a predetermined agenda.
The membership of the Visitation Panel is simply inappropriate in the circumstance. How can a committee of Vice-Chancellors determine the culpability or otherwise of the actions of a Pro-Chancellor and a Governing Council?” On the face of it, it is simply wrong!
Furthermore, the Vice-Chancellors on the Panel were drawn from relatively smaller universities who are not likely to have a comprehensive understanding of the procedure contained in the University of Lagos Act (as amended).
Sir, My training as a lawyer revealed to me very clearly, that the Panel was inappropriate for the assignment.
The obvious agenda was to humiliate the Governing Council. Sir, fortunately there is a verbatim recording of the proceedings of the Visitation Panel, and you may wish to direct objective persons to listen to the recording. I am particularly relieved by the comment of the Chancellor of the University, His Royal Highness, Alhaji (Dr) Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Al Amin El-Kanemi CFR on the situation in the University.
In a letter dated 15th September 2020 and addressed to your good self (which I was copied), His Royal Highness stated thus: I have discovered that there are too many vested interests in this matter, who are not approaching the issues objectively. For this reason, I strongly advise that the Visitation Panel should not submit any formal report to the Minister that may hinder my ability to deal with the issues comprehensively.