President Muhammadu Buhari has commended the Senate of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) for its role in resolving the crisis between Dr. Wale Babalakin-led Governing Council and the institution’s management over the removal of Vice Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, last year.
The crisis led to the cancellation of the 2019 convocation scheduled for March 2020. Buhari, who was represented by the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Rasheed Abubakar, at the rescheduled convocation, which featured conferment of honorary degrees on four prominent Nigerians, including Alhaji Muhammadu Indimi, Marketing Communication expert, Biodun Shobanjo, Sir Kessington Adebutu, and the late Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh, said the intervention of UNILAG Senate’s role informed his decision to set up a special visitation panel to investigate the crisis.
He said: “As visitor to this university, I cannot but recollect the recent council-management crisis of 2020. I commend the university Senate for its maturity and decision to send a delegation to me on the matter. Government immediately set up a special visitation panel to investigate the crisis. Recommendations of the panel were promptly implemented to restore peace to the institution. Part of this restoration process necessitated the appointment of a new governing council under the chairmanship of Senator Olanrewaju Tejuoso.”
With the reinstatement of the vice chancellor, President Buhari enjoined the university community to embrace peace, which is the hallmark of nation building and development.
He added that visitation panels set up to investigate federal-owned institutions in February were wrapping up their work and assured that the Federal Government would speedily implement their recommendations.
Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, urged the institution to promote research on peace, unity and economic development.
Zulum also announced plans to partner with the university to get more Borno Indigenes to undergo postgraduate studies at the institution.
While congratulating the graduands, Shobanjo urged them to be passionate in all they do and be ready to break new grounds.
He said: “Irrespective of all the years spent in the university, you have to be able to bring it to bear on society. Textbook knowledge would not suffice, without impacting on people and society daily, because what society will remember you for is what you have been able to make a difference at.
On his part, Adebutu announced the donation of N200 million to the university to improve its internet facilities.
Chairman of Zenith Bank, Mr. Jim Ovia also pledged 3,500 tablets to the institution to support indigent students for virtual learning.
The university also conferred a posthumous award of Emeritus Professorship on late Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, the eighth vice Chancellor of the university, who died in January this year. Ibidapo-Obe had also served as the pioneer Vice Chancellor of the Federal university, Ndufu Alike in Ebonyi State.