Dr Wale Babalakin has voluntarily terminated his tenure as Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the University of Lagos by resigning the appointment. He also resigned his appointment as Chairman of the Federal Government Negotiation Team on the Agreement reached with university unions.
He gave several reasons which include his allegation that the outcome of the Visitation panel appointed by Visitor to the University and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is predetermined.
Besides, he said there were too many vested interests in the UNILAG matter, hence, making an approach to the issues non-objective. He therefore reasoned that it has come to a stage he must stand by his principles since the Federal Government believed the actions he took may not be right.
He assumed office as Pro Chancellor in May 2017. He assumed office as Chairman of the Federal Government Negotiation Team on the Agreement reached with university unions earlier on January 6, 2017. He resigned both appointments in one letter on September 15, 2020.
Dr Babalakin catalogued Prof Toyin Ogundipe’s eleven sins which ranged from Corruption and financial recklessness through forgery (etc.) to sponsoring or acquiescing in the unconstitutional actions of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Lagos chapter.
Prof Toyin Ogundipe is the incumbent Vice chancellor which he (Babalakin) sacked in a manner many considered inconsistent with due process.
Dr Babalakin also found it difficult to understand how a non-executive Chairman of a Governing Council could be requested to recuse himself during a visitation.
According to him, the Vice-Chancellor could only recuse himself if he were still in office, arguing that implicit in this position is that the Vice-Chancellor was acknowledged as still being in office despite his removal.
In the main, Dr Babalakin found the terms of reference of the Visitation Panel as clearly indicative of a desire to exonerate the Vice-Chancellor and implicate the Pro-Chancellor.
He reviewed the 5 terms of reference and considered some of them ultra-vires the Visitation Panel as constituted as some two items deal with the interpretation of the laws of the land. The appropriate forum to determine the laws of the land is a court of law or a judicial tribunal. It cannot be determined by academics of a different discipline no matter how distinguished.
For all these reasons and more, the Senior advocate chose to throw in the towel.
Truth be told, the learned silk had a turbulent tenure as Chairman of Council of the University of Lagos for three years from 2017 to 2020. Many believed that he sought to operate a unitary, dictator-type relationship in an environment where democracy, debate and dialogue are regarded as sacred norms. He of course, wore his silk all through every discussion even if the issue was to choose what to eat for lunch. Something must give.
As usual, he reeled out his epaulettes of selflessness in service as if to show whoever cared to listen that he came to Unilag made up in his mind to do battle with all ills of society. He came. He saw. But he certainly did not conquer. Thumbs up, he resigned in grace.