A fresh crisis is presently brewing at the Lagos State University (LASU, Ojo over the professorial appointment of incumbent vice chancellor, Prof Olanrewaju Fagbohun.
Members of the institution’s Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) who have been at loggerheads with the management had queried Fagboun’s elevation to the professorial cadre saying it was allegedly back-dated to qualify him for the vice chancellorship position.
The union in a petition to the governing council, which was jointly signed by the secretary, Dr Tony Dansu and assistant secretary, Adeola Oyekan had demanded clarification in the seeming contradiction between its decision of May 7, 2014 and the letter of promotion issued to Fagboun on August 28, 2014.
Essentially, the union demanded an investigation to determine the culpability or otherwise of the university’s immediate past registrar, Mr. Akinwunmi Lewis, in the wrongful dating of Fagboun’s promotion letter as a professor in the department of public law.
ASUU had alleged that Fagbohun was unqualified to have applied to become the university’s vice chancellor, but that the backdating of his appointment enabled him.But the vice chancellor while dismissing the allegation, described it as mere provocation by some disgruntled elements out to disrupt the existing peace in the university.
Prof Fagboun clarified that the attached document being circulated by the academic union on the alleged backdating was a 2014 LASU council decision on a denied promotion case of 2007/2008, which was reviewed in 2014 and backdated. “It should be noted that the registrar at that time never knew that I would become the VC in 2016 to have started doctoring council’s decision for me in 2014. I also did not know that I would be vying for vice chancellorship in 2016, so I could not have met anybody to doctor any document for me.
“The governing council had in 2012 taken a decision premised on a petition I wrote after I was denied professorship in the 2007/2008 promotion. After I saw an advert of the university, I wrote a petition that I was entitled to have been promoted dating back to 2007/2008 but the interpretation of the university’s rules on ground was incorrect and unfair,” he said.
The vice chancellor said after he left LASU for the Nigeria Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), the institute gave him a Chair in 2010. ” As a human being, I found it necessary to still push this cause by writing a petition to LASU to protect my seniority, and there is nothing illegal to have petitioned the university to get my entitlement, ” he said.
Fagboun said the council; after deliberating on his petition directed him to fill an APER form for 2007/2008 promotion for ratification. It was pursuant to this process that council went ahead to confirm that I was worthy of being made a professor. ASUU did not have the document for these directives as at the time they started circulating the back dating documents.”Fagbohun said he was not the only beneficiary of the council’s decision, as there were and have subsequently been other colleagues who have benefited from such decisions.
“You would not enjoy financial remuneration, but only three months notional remuneration. Your date of promotion would be backdated to when you ought to have taken it because that is the only way to preserve your seniority. The processes went through the Appointment and Promotion Academic Committee of the university before the recommendation to the council for approval. It was the crisis bedeviling the university then that delayed the process from 2012 before implementation in 2014,” he said.
The vice chancellor also expressed shock over he union’s claim that he could not have gotten a chair in NIALS and also LASU, saying a past VC of the institution, Prof. Jadesola Akande was given a chair by the same institute. On the allegation that he did not meet the minimum requirement of 10 years professorship as requested in the advertorial for applicants for the office of the vice chancellor, Prof Fagboun said none of the adverts in the dailies which he saw and upon which he applied had that condition.