Court strikes out case on OAU VC’s appointment

THE Federal High Court sitting in Osogbo, on Monday, declined to grant the prayers of workers of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, in a case instituted against the governing council over the appointment of the acting vice chancellor for the unuversity.

The court, presided over by Justice Babs Kuewumi, said it lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate in the matter.

The workers, in the suit instituted at the Federal High Court, were seeking among other reliefs, the dissolution of the institution’s governing council by the Federal Government.

However, during its proceedings on Monday, the court struck out the case and ordered that it should be taken to Industrial Court for Arbitration.

Apart from approaching the court, the workers had hitherto embarked on massive protests that led to the closure of the university before it was recently reopened for academic activities.

Since the protracted crisis had prevented the OAU from appointing a substantive vice chancellor, the Federal Government, on July 21, 2016, appointed an acting vice chancellor, Professor Anthony Elujoba, to direct the affairs of the university, pending the appointment of a substantive head.

It will be recalled that workers of the university, under the aegis of Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), were challenging alleged non-compliance with OAU Statute VI in the method employed to select the vice chancellor.

They also accused the immediate past vice chancellor of OAU, Professor Bamitale Omole, whose tenure expired on June 24, 2016 of allegedly influencing the outcome of the screening exercise to select his successor.

The challenged screening had produced Professor Ayobami Salami as the vice chancellor, but the development generated controversy, leading to protests from NASU and SSANU members.