By Muyiwa Adekojede
Following the dire scrutiny from the visitation panel charged by the Visitor, President Muhammadu Buhari, the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Dr. Wale Babalakin resigned after an alleged disagreement on Visitation Panel sent to the University of Lagos, Akoka.
Babalakin explained that too many interests were vested in UNILAG problem and that issues were not tackled objectively.
He further highlighted that the reach for him to stand by his principles has come since the Federal Government adjudge hisactions not right.
Later, the Pro-Chancellor explained that the visitation panel was set up to free the Vice-Chancellor of blames and implicate the Pro-Chancellor. Babalakin affirmed that he will not serve as the chairman of the Federal Government Negotiation Team again. He has held this post since January 6th, 2017.
He later highlighted that he has served the University and its system with full heart and intellect. He added that as Pro-Chancellor of the University of Maiduguri and the University of Lagos, he did not receive any allowances and other perks of office.
Babalakin’s resignation came in a letter of resignation to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu dated September 15, 2020.
Babalakin criticized and faulted the terms of reference of the committee, and claimed that were set to meet a predetermined agenda.
He added: “The terms of reference of the Visitation Panel clearly indicated to any discerning person that the Visitation Panel was impaneled to exonerate the Vice-Chancellor and implicate the Pro-Chancellor.”
Babalakin also allegedly declared that the creation of the panel asawkward.
He said: “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).”
“Even Vice-Chancellors of state universities were included. As Chairman of the Federal Government Negotiation Team, I know the challenges faced with the administration of state universities.”
“I only appeared before the Panel out of my very great respect for you, Sir. My training as a lawyer revealed to me very clearly, that the Panel was inappropriate for the assignment.”
“During my appearance, I made it very clear that I was appearing in protest and the Panel, as constituted, could not determine the issues before it. The active participation of the staff of the Ministry of Education in the Panel and their contributions throughout the sittings especially the hounding of witnesses who came to testify against the Vice-Chancellor was enough to show very clearly that the technocrats in the Ministry had a defined agenda.”
“Their 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 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,”
“I have served the university system in Nigeria with my heart and intellect. Amongst other offices, I was:
Pro-Chancellor, University of Maiduguri (2009 – 2013);
Chairman, Council of Pro-Chancellors of all Federal Universities (2009 – 2013);
Chairman, Federal Government Implementation Team of the 2009 Agreement (2009 – 2013);
Chairman, Federal Government Negotiation Team of the 2009 Agreement (2017 till date);\
Pro-Chancellor, University of Lagos (2017 to date).
“These were made possible by a system that provided resources and also ensured proper monitoring of the resources.
“The educational system in Nigeria requires more funding but most importantly, it requires prudent management of the limited resources.”
“It was my determination to ensure that the limited resources of the University of Lagos were properly utilized that motivated me to lead the Governing Council to take the decisions which the Governing Council took.”
In the University of Maiduguri and the University of Lagos, I did not allow the institutions to provide me with food or drinks. I paid for every right or privilege that was conferred on me.”
“Even when I traveled to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, I paid for my ticket and my expenses.”
“I did not obtain any contract from the education sector in my relative long sojourn in the sector.”
“My motivation for my actions is that I had the best education that intellect could provide in Nigeria and abroad. It is my fervent desire that every Nigerian should have the sort of opportunities I had.”
“I remain very grateful to all the members of the Federal Government team on the Governing Council of the University of Lagos, namely: Alhaji Ali Hussein; Rev. Yomi Kasali; Dr. Bayo Adaralegbe; and Dr. Saminu Dagari.”
“It would be very difficult to find a group of more selfless persons than these individuals. It is acutely hurtful that I am leaving before achieving our goal of sanitizing the University of Lagos and turning it to a reference point in Africa and the world, rather than the unenviable poor position it now occupies.”
“Unfortunately, I must stand by principle. In a situation where my employers believe that the actions I took may not be right, the appropriate thing to do is bow out in honor. Sir, may the Almighty Allah continue to bless you.”