UNILAG: Soyombo unveils plans as he officially assumes duty
• Says appointment is divine. • Solicits supports of staff, students • We won't support you- ASUU insists
Professor Theophilus Soyombo officially assumed duty as the acting Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos( UNILAG), Akoka, on Wednesday, exactly seven days after he was appointed to the office by the governing council of the university following termination of the appointment of Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, who is alleged of multiple wrongdoings in office.
Ogundipe had just spent two years and eight months out of five years due term when this development occurred and on it as at last Thursday insisted he was still in charge of the affairs of the university.
However, Professor Soyombo, in his address to the university’s staff, most of whom are non- academics and senior staff union members, said his appointment to the office was not only divine but a call to service.
He said he accepted the offer to bringing sanity to the system and moving the university forward and promised to live up to that expectations not only of his principals, staffs, and students but also the outside public.
He thanked workers and students for what he called their overwhelming supports through phone calls and SMS he had been receiving since his appointment and urging their supports and cooperation now that he on seat.
He promised them good welfare and due promotion and that his administration which is expected to last six months would also run open and transparent activities.
He said UNILAG is bigger than individuals and that since everyone who comes in either as a student or worker would one day leave the university, they should, therefore, do the right things so as to leave a good legacy on exit.
While acknowledging that some sections of the university community are aggrieved and not happy about the circumstances that brought him into the position, he said he would engage and continue to engage all sections of stakeholders at individuals and union levels including the Academic Staff Union (ASSU) and the senate so as to bring every stakeholder in and out of the system on the same page.
He said, “UNILAG is known to be the university of the first choice and the nation’s pride and we must all ensure to work together in the atmosphere of peace to make our university continue to fulfil its tripartite mandates of teaching, research and community services.”
He said the significant part of his life he spends in UNILAG right from his undergraduate days over 40 years ago and in addition to 38 to 39 years, he has worked in the system and therefore always work for its progress.
When asked of his position at the press briefing about making him the acting vice-chancellor when the law of the university stipulates an incumbent deputy vice-chancellor, he said it was simply because the two deputy vice-chancellors who would have qualified among the trio there at the moment are yet to be confirmed in that capacity.
“So, anybody outside them can be given the acting vice- chancellor’s position,” he said.
However, more staff unions in the university have today dissociated themselves against their earlier position and now pledged support for professor Soyombo.
It was Non- Academic Staff Union on Tuesday while the senior staff union joined on Wednesday. The two unions said they would work with the acting vice-chancellor and jointly moved UNILAG forward.
But the Academic Staff Union is still insisting with its earlier position, saying the union would not support Professor Soyombo as his emergence according to the union is not known to the law of UNILAG.