The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has chided the Governing Council of the University of Lagos headed by Dr. Wale Babalakin on how Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe was controversially removed as the university’s Vice-Chancellor on Wednesday 12th of August, 2020 at a meeting held in Abuja.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Mr. Tola Oresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Acting Director, Administration and Programmes on behalf of its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “With bated breath, we received the news of the hasty removal of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe”.
“We have been drawn to the lingering crisis within the topmost hierarchy of the university of Lagos management, occasioned by allegations of mismanagement of funds by certain officials of the university on one hand and the alleged overbearing attitude of the Pro-Chancellor of the institution, which has weighted negatively on free administration of the school that threatens the traditional and symbiotic relationship between the Governing Council, the Senate and the university’s Vice-Chancellor as the Chief Accounting officer of the ivory tower on the other end”.
“We have tried to intervene in the crisis as a concerned Civil Society Organisation and our intervention became necessary considering the primal position the affected university holds as one of the premier universities established shortly after Nigeria’s independence in the 1960s and its impressive array of alumni that cut across all social strata in the country”.
Though we were able to gather some information from a cross-section of the University community representing both sides of the divide, we could not take a stand, specifically because we could not hear the Pro-Chancellor’s side of the story directly as all our attempts including the letter of request were rebuffed on the ground that the university’s law forbade him from discussing the issues with an off-campus organization like ours.
Although, a few of the direct stakeholders including Professors sounded out at Akoka and the College of Medicine Campuses of the institution supported the Governing Council but most of them were on the side of the Vice-Chancellor.
Inasmuch as we are not saying the embattled Vice Chancellor is right or wrong, our major interest is that due process guiding the removal of a Vice-Chancellor must be followed. The fact that the selection of the Acting Vice-Chancellor announced by the Governing Council was not known to the Senate who runs the day to day activities of the University left much to be desired of the whole process leading to the removal of the Vice-Chancellor.
Moreover, the four labour unions of the university namely, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) also kicked against what they described as arbitrary removal of the Vice-Chancellor and even staged a protest on Thursday, 13th of August, 2020 to demand for his reinstatement.
It is a popular saying that whenever two Elephants fight, it is the grass that will always suffer, this is what seemed to be playing out at UNILAG as the administrative impasse within the University of Lagos will no doubt not only affect the majority of undergraduate and postgraduate students of the University but also affect other areas of administration, research and teaching.
CACOL strongly recommends that the way out of this quagmire is the immediate reversal to the status quo and to allow all and sundry especially the primary stakeholders which include all the Unions in the university to agree that due process has taken its course. It is University of Lagos today; it may be another University tomorrow and if the right things are not done now, then it may turn out that the wrong precedents would have been laid for such future rascality and arbitrary hiring and firing of Vice-Chancellors in our citadel of learning.
“It is disheartening that almost a week after the announcement of the sack of the Vice-Chancellor, there has not been an official statement from either the Ministry of Education or the National Universities Commission (NUC). This seemingly conspiracy of silence from the two principal agencies of government who should be in the know concerning the running of the reputable institution of higher learning is loud enough to send the wrong signals to other stakeholders and even members of the public”.
We therefore call on Mr. President who is the Visitor to the University to intervene in the ugly situation playing out at the University now and bring all warring factions to the roundtable with a view to ensuring that lasting peace and harmony reign on the campus, so that the goodwill and the brand the university has built over the years will not be brought to disrepute and the University as a whole will not be irretrievably demarketed.
Mr. Tola Oresanwo
Acting Director, Administration and Programmes, CACOL.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has decried the arrest of the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by the officials of Department of State Services (DSS).
In a release by the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran and signed by its Coordinator, Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo, he stated, “The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, received the news of the arrest of the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mr. Ibrahim Magu by officials of Department of State Services (DSS) with mixed feelings”.
“We can recall that the arrest is coming barely two weeks after the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) reportedly complained to the President, Muhammadu Buhari about Magu’s conduct and advised that he should be relieved of his appointment. The AGF was said to have accused Magu of insubordination and discrepancies in the figures of funds recovered by the EFCC”.
“Though the details of his arrest is still sketchy, we believed that inasmuch as no one is above the law Mr. Magu just like every other citizen of the country can be call to give an account of his stewardship at anytime, our position is that it would have been nice if Mr. Magu was investigated by the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) or other anti corruption agency of government but not DSS that has continually shown bias towards him (Magu) going by the report submitted to the Senate by the DSS which has stalled his confirmation as the Chairman of EFCC for some years now. It is a common knowledge that there had been no love lost between DSS and the person of Mr. Magu. We have also observed that the relationship between EFCC, DSS and Ministry of Justice had been frosty over the years”.
“In view of the above, we hope Mr. Magu would be able to defend himself and come out clean from the myriads of allegations leveled against him. We are also optimistic that he will be given a fair hearing and his rights will be respected.
Since he has demonstrated extra courage in the fight against corruption in the country we hope his arrest is not a case of ‘Corruption fighting back’.”
“A situation where the Acting Chairman of EFCC is ‘invited for questioning’ with a very short notice could cost the fight against corruption serious setback, as well as much embarrassment to the Federal Government and its anti-corruption stance, hence, the need for the various agencies of government to always be mindful of their actions at all times”.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has called on all security agencies and the general public living and operating at Ile Zik Round-about, Ikeja Lagos, to be more vigilant as hoodlums has converted the boat monument into a brothel where unsuspecting victims are lured extorted and raped.
This was contained in a press release issued on behalf of the Centre’s Chairman, Debo Adeniran on Saturday June 20th.
The Centre got wind of these immoral acts through one of its CACOL’s Good Governance, Accountability and Transparency Educators (C-GATE) Units.
According to the CACOL Chairman, “the CGATE Units were created and inaugurated in all Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Developmental Areas(LCDAs) in both Lagos and Osun state to educate the grassroots on how to hold the government accountable and demand transparency through its educators.”
The Chairman expressed worries on the escalation of the nefarious acts perpetrated by the hoodlums in that vicinity during and after relaxation the lockdown.
According to the Mr Adeniran, “report reaching us at one of our C-GATE meetings indicated that this wicked and ungodly act has been persistent underground even before the Coronavirus lockdown and many have fallen prey to the criminals hunt as undergarments, purses, wallets, school bags and one passport picture of a young school girl were found at the suspected crime scene. Although the notoriety of the place had been acknowledged in the recent past, up till this present moment, nothing has been said or done by the law-enforcement agents to detect, investigate and to bring these suspected possible perpetrators of the suspected heinous crimes to book.”
The anti-corruption leader expressed his utmost disappointment towards the security agencies under-performance in curbing street crimes in Lagos, especially during this pandemic crisis.
The CACOL Chairman lamented on the increased rate of crime and sexual violence during this pandemic and urged all security agencies to up their games in bringing it under perpetual check.
According to him, “since the beginning of the pandemic and the attendant lockdown, reports of rape cases have sky-rocketed in all states of the federation, hence the extra vigilance of all security agencies on active duty and the protocol cannot be overemphasized. He urged the authorities to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the capacity of different security agencies are reinforced to ensure maximum protection for the Lagos citizens and that of Nigeria in general.”
The CACOL’S boss therefore demands for an immediate investigation into this demonic and shameful act and diligently prosecute anyone found culpable to ensure that the guilty ones are given deterrent punishment.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has called for self-isolation of the Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, some states’ governors and other dignitaries that attended the last Thursday National Economic Council (NEC) meeting chaired by the Vice President at the Presidential Villa.
In a release issued by CACOL on behalf of the organization’s Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran and signed by its Coordinator, Media and Publications, Adegboyega Otunuga, he averred, “It would be recalled that earlier today, the Senior Special Assistant to the governor of Bauchi state on Media, confirmed that his principal, Bala Mohammed tested positive for coronavirus. This is coming in the heels of revelations suggesting that the governor and former Vice President, Abubakar Atiku’s son, Mohammed Atiku (who has since tested positive and undergoing treatment of the ravaging virus), had met inside an aircraft that headed towards Abuja where he later attended same meeting with other governors and the Vice President. It is therefore imperative that all those at that crucial meeting should be encouraged to go on self-isolation with immediate effect while necessary efforts are made to establish their testing positive or negative.
“Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus on December 31, 2019, there have been nearly 400, 000 (Four Hundred Thousand) cases of affliction with over 18, 000 (Eighteen Thousand reported deaths at the global level while Nigeria has recorded 40 cases, though with only one death reported so far. However, the commendable efforts at prevention and minimization of effects of this virulent epidemic in our shores, seems to have diminished overtime with serious errors of the past resulting into degenerative and sorry state of our public health system, seems to have finally caught up with us as a nation. This has become apparent with dearth of medical facilities and personnel to effectively meet up with the challenge of an outright escalation of the scourge, coupled with inadequate research culture and porous borders dotting our various entry points to the country. This is why CACOL, as an Anti-Corruption coalition is making this clarion call to various tiers of government in the country that, while we commend and appreciate the swift response of the current leadership in the country to the pandemic, we urge the governments and the general public to apprise themselves of the enormity and probable dimensions of this virus and view it with all seriousness it deserves.”
The CACOL Boss added, “Maybe the urgent assignment aside the immediate call of getting all our public office holders to subject themselves to the coronavirus test, is to also restrict the movement of generality of Nigerians within the next couple of weeks so as to motivate all for self-isolation and self-distancing, which could culminate in general assessment of contracting the virus or not. This sort of national emergency would go a, long way in nipping the ravaging menace of the virus in the bud and provide a safer approach towards curtailing it.”
Coordinator, Media and Publications
“LAGOS BUDGET OF PROGRESS AND DEVELOPMENT WORHTY OF EMULATION – THE DEVIL IS IN DIRE NEED FOR TRANSPARENCY AND CITIZENS OWNERSHIP OF BUDGET “
The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has presented the 2108 budget to the State House of Assembly. The budget tagged “ Budget of Progress and Development” proposed N1.046Trillion to be spent for the completion of on-going projects, commencement of new ones and social infrastructural facilities including health, education, transportation, security and welfare schemes to mention a few. The breakdown shows that N699.082Billion would be spent on capital project and N347.039Billion on recurrent expenditure representing 67% and 33% respectively as well as 28.67% increase over 2017 budget. A number of critical narratives are imperative on this budget proposal.
Indeed, it is not praise singing to note and applaud the fact that in the entire country, it only in Lagos that there is a semblance of governance in the country. There are various developmental projects and investment embarked upon by Mr. Ambode, the general improvement in the road network, bridge construction like the Abule Egba flyoversis worthy of commendation. The State plan to explore and refine oil is a huge and golden investment in the future of the State and its citizens. Yet, the 2018 budget demonstrates that the State is not sleeping on its oars. The budget is not just its highest in the history of the State and second only to that of Cross Rivers State Government in the country. However, while most States and even the Federal Government are enmeshed in budget financed by debt, Lagos is sustaining. The State does not also have any notorious case of owing workers or retirees’ pensions.
As much as we identify with the pivot focus of the budget, we believe that a well blessed State like Lagos should also spend more of its budget on social infrastructures. The allocation of less than 12% to education is not acceptable; Lagos should be able to execute the UNESCO recommendation of 26% of its annual budget. The same goes on provision for health, housing and pipe-borne water. It is apposite to equally insist that a State desirous of taking on developmental flight, there two critical projects of the State which this administration is in the best position to execute. The Independent Power Project and Subway Transport System which has been denied the over populated State on the political intrigues can be initiated now. With the State and the Federal Government controlled by the same Party, there should be conscious policy initiatives to implement these projects. In the same vein, the clamour that Lagos should be recognized as a Federal Capital Status should be a major projection in every policy of the State, showing in the Budget what the State loses or can gain with this status.
We are aware that in advanced industrial democratic world, budget is not a ritual of just the Executives and the Legislature but a festival of the entire society. The inputs of social stakeholders, business, labour, informal sectorand civil societies are rarely factor into processes of budget passage in the country and when done, it is conducted shoddily. Lagos should be a leading example in this direction. This is even more important because under democratic governance, the general populace are supposed to owned the budget.
The question of peoples ownership and transparent passage of budget is even more critical for a society like ours where the eternal vigilance of the populace is necessary for budget monitoring and execution. This is in addition to the fact that it serves as veritable tool to block leakages and wastages in the system. Corruption is best resisted when the citizens are aware the project, the cost and time of execution in their various areas. In the same way, citizens’ support can be mobilized for the projects in their constituencies.
It is our fervent hope that Lagos State would take the leap forward to ensure the citizens of the State owned this budget. We call on the State House of Assembly to request that the Executive furnish it of the list of projects contemplated for the Year 2018 and publish same for the entire society to be aware.