LASU VC In Trouble, Assemblymen Demand His Sack

Hussein, VC LASU.

•Hussein, VC LASU.

Lawmakers at the Lagos State House of Assembly have passed a vote of no confidence  on the Vice Chancellor of the Lagos State University (LASU), Professor Lateef  Hussain.

•Hussein, VC LASU.

They have also advised the State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, to immediatley sack  him.

The Speaker of the House, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, who addressed his colleagues on the  floor of the House on Tuesday said: “from all that the House gathered at the hearing  yesterday (Monday), it became very clear to us that since the present Vice  Chancellor, Prof. Hussain took over the mantle of leadership, a lot has happened.”

Continuing, he said: “It is clear to us that after his initial success, the rest of  his administration has been characterised by falling academic standard, decaying  infrastructure, poor human and material resource management, administrative  ineptitude, poor human relations and victimisation in various forms leading to  exodus of committed members of staff, especially the academic staff.”

While stressing that the House had constantly intervened on issues relating to the  institution, the Speaker added that, “the House at its executive session this  morning (yesterday) decided to pass a vote of no confidence on the VC, Prof.  Hussain.

“The House also decided to call on the visitor, His Excellency Babatunde Fashola  (SAN), Governor of Lagos State, to put in motion necessary machinery for the removal  of the Vice Chancellor immediately.

“The House also decided to call on the visitor to please put in place immediately  machinery to address the requirement for re-accreditation of the courses that have  been denied accreditation and also to ensure no other course is denied accreditation  in the future.”

Prof. Hussain had been accused of misappropriation of funds and highhandedness in  the running of the institution to the detriment of the students and lecturers.

Meanwhile, there are speculations that the National Universities Commission (NUC)  would not accredit 26 more courses in the institution by next month.

The state-owned higher institution had been facing several challenges, part of which  led to the NUC wielding the big stick by refusing to accredit 10 courses in the  school recently. The 10 courses are Law, Economics, Marketing, Chemical and Polymer  Engineering, Accounting, Banking and Finance, Political Science, Sociology, Business  Administration and Management Technology. The University used to run the best law  faculty in the entire country in the 80s.

Some lawmakers had on Monday called for the sack of Hussain, to sanitise the  institution. They took the decision following several accusations against him by  lecturers, heads of departments and deans of faculties of the institution.

A lawmaker, Babatunde Ogala, also stunned the House when he alleged that the school  appointed retired soldiers and those not qualified to head departments and other  sensitive positions.

Part of the accusations is that Hussein misappropriated several billions of naira  granted the school by the state government.

Chairman of the institution’s branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities,  Dr. Kabir Akinyemi, also accused the Vice Chancellor of not approving the promotion  of lecturers since 2005.

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He said that the union had been sending warning signals and calling on interested  persons to save the institution before the NUC finally visited. He said the VC had  successfully driven away qualified lecturers and had appointed his cronies and made  them heads despite the fact that such lecturers were on contract.

For example, he said, the institution’s Director of Academic Planning is not  qualified for the job. But he was appointed and made a level 14 staff with just a  Bachelor of Arts (BA) and barely six years experience for a job that should be  handled by a Professor.

“LASU is the only university where the Director of Academic Planning is a non  academic staff and so grossly inexperienced. Due to poor condition of service, many  of the qualified lecturers have gone for greener pastures,” he said, adding that the  VC appointed non-academic staff as lecturers in the part time arm of the  institution.

While the Faculty of Law only has one professor as against the NUC requirement of  six, the Accounting Department, Dr. Akinyemi said, had no single PhD holder.

Ayo Omotayo, Acting head of Geography Department, said he was very sure that his  department would lose its accreditation next month when the NUC visits. Also to be  affected is the College of Medicine which uses only contract staff. Omotayo accused  the management of the school of administrative high-handedness and incompetence  since 2005.

“Between 2005 and now, LASU has lost all its competent lecturers. Even if the pay  was bad, if you are not encouraged or if you are hounded for speaking the truth,  then you would move to where you can be encouraged,” he said, adding that this was  the reason most lecturers  left the institution in droves.

He also accused the House Committee on Education headed by Hon. Wahab Alawiye-King  of failing in its duties regarding the school. The decay in the institution is also  reflected in the lack of any dedicated library or laboratory.

Denying the VC’s claim that the institution was not well funded, Dr. Olatunji  Abanikannda, a lecturer in the institution, said the funds were either  misappropriated or not prioritised.

“All the problems of the institution are self-inflicted by the VC. What happened to  those who grew with LASU? The rules of the school were never obeyed by the Vice  Chancellor,” he said asking what happened to the over N2.5 billion made available to  the institution recently. Besides, the government had given the institution N17  billion.

When asked for his reaction, Professor Hussain only blamed the institution’s senate  and governing board for its problems. He also blamed external regulators for the  delay in the promotion of the lecturers.

But he was quickly reminded by the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji,  that he had the power to influence promotions. The Speaker also said he was  disappointed that despite giving the VC a soft landing before, he had refused to  adhere to the advice of the lawmakers.

Prof. Hussain should have been sacked long ago in the wake of the crises occasioned  by allegations of fraud levelled against him by lecturers, non academic staff and  students of the institution.

He had survived till now due to the intervention of some of the stakeholders of the   university.

—Eromosele Ebhomele

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