Okebukola’s age record with us not falsified ― LASU

Authorities of the Lagos State University (LASU) have again faulted a report by an online media outfit alleging that a member of its academic staff and former Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Peter Okebukola of age falsification, saying the report is entirely a falsehood.

The university said there was no ambiguity in any form in the date of birth or the retirement status of Professor Okebukola as in his record with the university nor with any known institution.

The university said this in its reaction to a report by an online newspaper claiming that Professor Okebukola has multiple days of birth records with LASU and therefore not fit as the Chairman of Governing Council of National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) to oversee the appointment of a new vice-chancellor for NOUN and that he had a plan to impose a candidate for the job.

Coordinator, Centre for Information, Press and Public Relations of LASU, Mr Ademola Adekoya, who made a statement to debunk the report available to newsmen at the weekend, said the university would not have reacted to the report having done so before but for the purpose of putting the record straight so as not to mislead the public on the issue referred.

He said LASU management, without doubt, is abides strictly with the rule of law, statutes and conditions of service guiding operations of the university, and that the practice is greatly helping the university to make steady progress, particularly in the recent years.

He said Professor Okebukola, who is the Director of Africa Centre of Excellence at LASU and also Chairman of Governing Council of NOUN, joined the service of LASU from the then Oyo State College of Education, Ilesa and that the date of birth on his record of service forwarded to the university by the college is 17th February 1951.

“So, the university is bound to stand by that date because the Record of Service is the officially recognised record of his past service and also confirmation of the assertion by Professor Okebukola that he was born on 17th February, 1951,” he said.

He said though, based on the foregoing and in compliance with the law and subsisting Conditions of Service guiding senior members of staff of the university as at 2015, Professor Okebukola was due for retirement on the 17th February 2016, being the date he attained the age of 65 years, the new law promulgated by the Lagos State Government on 5th of January, 2016, extending the retirement age of professors in academic circle to 70 years and other lecturers less professorial cadre and non-lecturers to 65 years from 60 years as applicable in other universities nationwide changed the projection in Okebukola’s favour.

Explaining how, he said Professor Okebukola was captured by the provisions of the new law and that apart from him, five other academic and 20 non-academic members of staff of the university including those on terminal leave at the period were also beneficiaries of the new law.

“So, we don’t know the ambiguity in that to warrant the false report by the media organisation,” he stressed.

On the issue of conferment of Distinguished Professor on Okebukola, which the same online newspaper claimed was a sole decision of the vice-chancellor of the university, Professor Olanrewaju Fagbohun, Mr Adekoya said such claim was another falsehood spread by the newspaper.

According to him, no vice-chancellor of any university including LASU has a unilateral power to confer on any individual the rank of distinguished professor.

He said, “It was the university Senate in the exercise of its powers as provided in Section 9:2(f) LASU LAW 2004 (as amended) that recommended to the Governing Council, the conferment of the rank unto Professor Peter Okebukola, hence the approval.”

He said LASU and all members of the university community would not in any way and by any means allow themselves to be derailed in their resolve to take the university to an enviable position in global ranking.

When contacted for reaction, the Director of Press and Public Affairs Unit of NOUN, where Professor Okebukola is the chairman of the governing council, Mr Ibrahim Sheme, said he had no comment to make over the issue.

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