Oyo school crisis: Investigative panel begins sitting Wednesday

I was not suspended, only embarked on accumulated leave – Provost Provost must leave for peace to reign – Students’ Union

Panel to investigate the crisis rocking the College of Education, Lanlate, will begin a series of sittings, on Wednesday.

Chairman, governing council of the institution, Dr Bisi Ojebola, who disclosed this while speaking with Nigerian Tribune on Monday, expressed optimism that the panel will conclude its investigation within two weeks for the school to be reopened.

The governing council had last week ordered the closure of the college, effective last Wednesday, following two days of protest by students of the institution, that saw some properties destroyed.

The students led by the Students’ Union President, Mr Olaitan Mohammed, had called for the resignation of Provost of the institution, Dr Joseph Adeagbo and Dean of Student Affairs, Mr S. A. Akinteye alleging mismanagement of the institution.

Among others, the students fingered Adeagbo for failing to produce identity card for students despite yearly payment of N1,000; lack of accountability for N8,000 development levy paid yearly with the institution looking unkempt; and non-payment of annual increment salary to lecturers.

In a conversation with Nigerian Tribune, Olaitan warned that the institution could be in for another round of protest should it be discovered that the Provost, Adeagbo, is not sacked from office.

Olaitan said, “I know the state governor will not want another round of protest in the state. The only way for peace is for the Provost to leave the office. The man has been at the helm of affairs for 10 years and within those 10 years, there is no development in the college.

“As an institution that has been existing for 15 years, none of the past or present students can claim to have an ID card despite paying N1,000 yearly for an ID card.

“Students are brutalized by military men because of their inability to show any proof of their studentship. It is very difficult for us as students to present our admission letter.

“It is just like us going to school as secondary school students, not a tertiary institution. We don’t have course form, statement of result.

“The institution does not have a portal that students can access. We pay N8,000 as developmental levy every year yet the school is like a forest. There is no development over the years. There is no fumigation. Bees chase us around the school. We receive lectures with dangerous animals.”

However, Chairman of the institution’s governing council, Dr Ojebola told Nigerian Tribune that the Provost in the eye of the storm had been asked to proceed to his accumulated leave.

Pending the investigation by the panel, the governing council announced that the deputy provost will serve in acting capacity just as an acting Dean of Students Affairs was also appointed.

Ojebola said, “The council decision is that there is need for a panel to investigate what happened and if a panel will investigate what happened, it is just against the practice of fair play and rule of law that the Provost should still be on the seat.

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“We asked him to proceed on his accumulated leave pending when the panel will finish the investigation and we will see the level of culpability or otherwise. The same applies to the Dean of Student Affairs. They both have allegations against them and until it is proved, you cannot say it is true.

“The panel that will invite who alleged as well as the person alleged to have been assaulted. It is about fair play, justice, following due process.

“The position of the council is that the destruction visited on the college is uncalled for. Students will have still made their points and the council will still have addressed it.

“Since it got to that stage and they went to destroy the Provost’s house, asking him to go on leave is for his protection because we felt his life is not safe.

“The panel will assemble witnesses and will start sitting on Wednesday and by the grace of God, the panel should finish its job within two weeks.

“We can’t shut the college indefinitely. They were off for Covid-19. We are looking at reopening the college in two weeks time.

“Everybody mentioned will be invited to give their own side of the story.”

When Nigerian Tribune contacted the man in the eye of the storm, Dr Joseph Adeagbo, he knocked out reports that he had been suspended, pointing out the only proceeded on his accumulated leave as approved by the governing council.

On appearing before the panel, Adeagbo noted the panel was yet to sit and he had not been invited.

“As the person concerned in the matter, I will not be able to speak. You know the directive of His Excellency that we have to seek permission before we speak to the press on certain things.

“But what I can say is that I have not been suspended. The Provost requested for part of his accumulated leave. Since I have been there, I have not been able to go on leave. I have my letter approved by the Secretary to the council. The leave is effective November 11

“I am still performing my function as Provost when I am supposed to. If the government or governing council wants me, I still respond. But, man needs to rest.

“I was at the governor’s office last Thursday for budget defence; I presented on behalf of my institution.

“On the protest and agitations, I don’t want to say anything that will jeopardize the committee set up. I don’t want to speak. The truth will prevail in due time. Truth and darkness cannot stay together. I don’t want to speak further, let the committee find out and see themselves.

“When the committee commences their sitting, people will be able to hear and determine everything. As Provost of the College, I requested and was granted part of my accumulated leave.”

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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