The ongoing five-week-old strike and the face-off between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and chairman of the Federal Government renegotiation committee, Dr. Wale Babalakin, took a new twist as the Union, on Sunday, accused him of planning to truncate the industrial action.
Coordinator of ASUU Lagos Zone, Prof. Olusiji Sowande, in a statement, made available to newsmen, said it was worrisome that recent activities of Dr. Babalakin, who is also the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of University of Lagos (UNILAG), “manifests a reckless and disregards not for only the extant tradition of the university but also for its statue.”
Prof. Sowande alleged that Babalakin’s activities, since assumption of office, were best described as ‘autocratic, meddlesome and dictatorial’.
The Union accused him of reinstating the Director of Sports of the institution contrary to the recommendations of Senate committee set up to investigate the various cases of malfeasance against the director.
According to ASUU, the Pro-Chancellor ordered the seal-off of an apartment allocated to the immediate past Registrar without any consideration for the family.
Again, Sowande, in the two-page statement, said contrary to extant laws and established tradition of UNILAG, Babalakin summoned an ‘illegal’ Town Hall meeting on September 26 with the non academic staff and that same day, he overreached his mandate and legal limits by addressing the university Senate in violation of the academic autonomy of the university.
The statement titled, ‘The looming anarchy in the University of Lagos’ disclosed that the latest antics of Babalakin was his invitation to Deans and Heads of Departments for a meeting on Tuesday, December 11 when the Union is on a national strike.
Sownade’s words: ‘’This represents another violation of the university norm and rabid desire to scuttle the ongoing strike by ASUU.
“This meeting is calculated at instigating disaffection, division, discord and disharmony amongst the generality of staff in the university.
‘’In view of the foregoing illegal and untoward activities of an individual whose professional calling is the defense of law and order, but who has suddenly turned a meddlesome interloper an unrepentant law breaker, who lacks the value of intellectual humility and respect for contending views, our Union wishes to put the general public and well-meaning Nigerians on notice that the continuation of Dr. Wale Babalakin as the Pro-Chancellor represents present and future danger to the existence of UNILAG.’’
The zonal coordinator warned that ASUU will resist the real threat to well-being of the university system.
Sowande also stressed that should there be a breakdown of law and order on account of the Union’s resistance in UNILAG, whether now or in the foreseeable future, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council, Dr. Babalakin, should be held responsible.
A national officer of ASUU told newsmen, on Sunday, that Babalakin, who is also the chairman of the Federal Government renegotiation committee with ASUU wanted to break the ongoing strike, starting with his own base, UNILAG.
Efforts to get Dr. Babalakin’s reaction to the allegations proved abortive as he did not pick calls made to his phone.