There was wild jubilation, on Thursday, when Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe returned to his role as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos.
Ogundipe was earlier asked to ‘step aside’ by the Wale Babalakin-led governing council of the university on August 12 pending the outcome of an investigation over allegations of infractions and gross misconduct.
However, Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, had, on Wednesday, announced the reinstatement of Ogundipe after President Muhammadu Buhari approved the report of a Special Visitation Panel.
The report stated that Ogundipe’s removal did not follow due process, leading to his reinstatement.
Babalakin had since resigned his appointment.
Ogundipe was received by members of staff of UNILAG, including top management personnel, at the Senate Building foyer.
Addressing the crowd, Ogundipe commended the Federal Government for its timely intervention in ensuring that peace was restored as quickly as possible in the university.
”Let me start by saying a big thank you to the visitor of this university, President Muhammadu Buhari, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Executive Secretary, NUC.
”I also want to thank all the various labour unions of this university, they have been wonderful. I also thank every member of this university community. It has not been by my power, nor by might, but by the spirit of the Almighty.
”I said something some months ago. I said let there be peace, for our strength in UNILAG is in that peace. Some of us who are working here have put at least five years in this our dear institution. It means you have invested five years here.
“It means that you want the progress of this university and therefore, I am pleading with every one of us, let us fight for that peace and progress of this university.
”We can only achieve this by uniting and working collectively; we can do it, and by doing this, we will take this university to its much-deserved height,” he said.
According to him, the call for peaceful coexistence is not about the academic and the non-teaching staff; it is about UNILAG.
”I want to assure you that we will do everything possible from our side as management to ensure that we support the staff and I want to renew my commitment to UNILAG.
”I have put in over 30 years in the system, so I want to call on everyone to join hands with this management to work together to continue to ensure that our university remains globally competitive.
”Our commitment must be moving this university forward. We may have our differences, but we must strive to put that aside, unite and take this university to its place of priority,” Ogundipe said.
Also speaking, the immediate past acting Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Development Services, Prof. Folashade Ogunsola, said the ceremony was historic.
She commended the Federal Government for its prompt intervention in restoring peace in the institution.
”Today is a day of victory, a day that we celebrate the university system, a day for introspection.
”Why did it happen? It will not happen again. Today is a day we recognise that like the broom you are holding, together we stand and divided we fall. There is no problem with the university that we cannot solve.
”We should not externalise our problems. Today, we welcome back our vice-chancellor and we recognise that despite all the problems, the truth has finally come to bear.
”We also recognise today that no one person is bigger than this our dear institution, and with this, I formally hand over the administration of this institution to the rightful person, the vice-chancellor.
“Let him carry his calabash,” she joked.
On his part, the institution’s Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU), Dr Dele Ashiru, said the victory was neither for ASUU, nor any of the unions, but rather, a victory for the entire members of the university community.
”We have shown that by our collective resolve, there is nothing unattainable.
”I want you to put this ugly incident behind, confine it in the annals of history.
”You can see some of our people holding brooms. Today, we are sweeping impunity, tyranny, dictatorship and divisiveness out of our university.
“And after doing this, it is our conviction that our university is going to be in peace and we will return to the path of progress for which the institution is renowned,” the unionist said.