The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), and its non-academic counterpart, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, have criticised the directive of Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, to the Vice Chancellor (VC) of the institution, Prof. Michael Ologunde, to step aside, saying it breached due process.
Makinde, who is the visitor to the university had on Friday directed Ologunde to step aside.
Though the governor did not make public reasons behind his action, The Nation reported that Ologunde was asked to step aside to enable the government investigate some allegations against him. He was alleged to have instigated labour unions to press for their salary arrears of two years prior to Makinde’s tenure.
It was also gathered that Ologunde polarised the students’ union and allegedly used a faction against the Oyo State Government.
But both ASUU and SSANU argued that the governor lacks the power to sack a VC, noting that he can only do that based on the recommendation of the Governing Council which is empowered to recruit, discipline and sack a VC and other principal officers.ASUU held a meeting on Monday morning where a position was taken on the issue.
A statement after the meeting signed by ASUU Chairman, Dr Biodun Olaniran, and Secretary, Dr Toyin Abegunrin, said: “The Union received with shock, the press release dated 16th April, 2021, emanating from the office of the Hon. Commissioner for Education of Oyo State, asking the Vice-Chancellor to step aside. Based on the content of the press release, a congress of the Union was held on Monday (19/04/2021) and resolved as follows:
“(i)that the Union expresses its displeasure at the said press release because it violated the provisions of the University Miscellaneous Act as amended, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology law 2020 and the University conventions;
“(ii)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.
“(iii)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;
“(iv) that as at today, the Governing Council has not been properly constituted in line with law of the university.
“Our union, therefore, requests that, to maintain industrial harmony on campus and the on-going restoration of the image of the university, the above resolutions should be considered with the necessary urgency.”
Meanwhile, the Senate and Congregation on has elected their representatives to the Governing Council.
The development may force the state government to constitute the Governing Council which it believes is technically not in place, according to a reliable source. Though inaugurated, the council has not been meeting because other members from within the internal stakeholders were yet to be elected. It was, therefore, described as not having been constituted.
In the exercise held Monday morning, Senate elected Professors Isiaka Emiola, Samuel Onawumi, Ade Adejumo and Margaret Areo while the Congregation elected Dr Olufemi Ajala and Dr Olawale Olakulehin.
The election, which some analysts described as “hurried,” is expected to force the government to constitute the council to promote autonomy for the institution.
ASUU chairman, Dr Olaniran, told The Nation that the union was not interested in the reason behind Ologunde’s suspension but the office of the Vice Chancellor which is the highest position in the university. He said ASUU was interested in the protection of the process which prevents arbitrariness and guarantees equity for all stakeholders.
But it is not clear how the state government would react to both the position of the unions and election of other members of the council that would enable it to be constituted.