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UNILAG management drags governing council meeting to Abuja



A month after it postponed indefinitely a special governing council meeting earlier scheduled to hold between July 13 and 15, the management of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, has fixed an emergency meeting of the council for August 12 to 14.

However, the university has moved the meeting from its usual venue of the governing council chamber at the institution’s main campus in Akoka, Lagos, to a private hotel in Abuja.

This new development, it was learnt, may not be unconnected with the internal wrangling among stakeholders, especially the perennial conflicts between the chairman of the governing council, Wale Babalakin, and the leadership of the university’s chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

The notice of the meeting signed by the university’s registrar, Oladejo Azeez, and dated August 10, said the emergency meeting was sanctioned by Babalakin in response to a request by the vice-chancellor, Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, via a letter dated July 15, and addressed to the council chairman.

A copy of the notice, obtained by newsmen, noted that council members who could not be physically present at the meeting could participate virtually. It, however, added that such decisions should be communicated to the registrar before 10 a.m.on Tuesday for logistic reasons.

The notice reads in part; “Pursuant to Order 16 of the council standing orders, 2019, and in line with current dispensation of covid-19, members are free to opt for physical attendance or virtual participation in the meeting.

“Please be assured that for those attending physically, the protocol on social distancing will be strictly adhered to.”

Some of the issues listed on the agenda of the proposed meeting include the approval of the university’s 2020 budget estimates, advertisement for needs assessment intervention fund, university’s COVID-19 action plan, outstanding reports of council subcommittees, pending matters and requests, among many others.

The crisis rocking the university over the perennial conflicts between the university management and its governing council’s leadership had in March taken a new dimension when its 2020 convocation ceremony was abruptly cancelled after some activities scheduled to be part of the event had already started.

The cancellation, which was ordered by the National Universities Commission (NUC), Nigerian universities’ regulatory authority, was in response to a directive by the education minister, Adamu Adamu.

Adamu had responded to a letter addressed to the vice-chancellor by the council chairman, accusing the vice-chancellor of failure to share important details of the ceremony with the council.

The development was condemned by relevant stakeholders including graduands, parents, alumni members and workers of the institution.

However, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in the country and the government’s closure of all academic institutions, there had been no avenue for concerned parties to meet formally for resolution of the issues until the aborted council meeting was called in July.

But it was learnt the university has since mailed copies of notification of results electronically to the affected graduands ahead of the ceremony.

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