Why Babalakin resigned as UNILAG pro-chancellor

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The University of Lagos Pro-Chancellor Wale Babalakin (SAN), has resigned following an alleged disagreement with the Nigerian Government on the visitation panel sent to the university.

Babalakin’s resignation came a few hours after the Special Visitation Panel set up by the Federal Government to look into the management crisis rocking the university submitted its report to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu.

In his resignation, dated September 15, 2020, addressed to Adamu and titled, ‘Letter of resignation,’ Babalakin said there were too many vested interests in UNILAG case, who were not approaching the issues objectively.

He recalled that the he led the governing council of the university to remove the vice-chancellor on allegations of corruption and financial recklessness, forgery and deliberate policy of wrongfully concealing information, among others, pointed out that all the Federal Government Representatives on the governing council voted for the removal of the vice-chancellor.

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The letter read partly, “After calm had been restored in the University, the Visitor acting within his powers, set up a Presidential Visitation Panel to review the actions taken by Governing Council. The Vice-Chancellor (who had been removed from office) and myself were told to recuse ourselves for the duration of the Visitation Panel. I find it difficult to understand how a non-executive Chairman of a Governing Council could be requested to recuse himself during the visitation

“The Vice-Chancellor could only recuse himself if he were still in office. Implicit in this position is that the Vice-Chancellor was acknowledged as still being in office despite his removal.

“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, who said it “is acutely hurtful that I am leaving before achieving our goal of sanitizing the University of Lagos,” said he was leaving based on 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 honour,” the letter read.

Furthermore it read: “I would like to thank the President of the Federal of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari for giving me the opportunity to serve as the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos (the “University”) from May 2017 till date,” Babalakin said in his resignation letter addressed to minister for education Adamu Adamu.

“I am also grateful that I was considered fit to be the Chairman of the Federal Government Negotiation Team on the Agreement reached with university unions in 2009, from 6th January 2017 till date. I equally want to thank you sir, for your role in recommending me to the President.”