The Lagos State University (LASU) chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has called on the institution's Pro-chancellor, Bayo Ninalowo, to step down from his position as chairman of the selection committee for the appointment of a new vice-chancellor.

Sanwo-Olu had earlier ordered the cancellation of the process for the appointment of the ninth vice-chancellor of the institution following allegations of misconduct in the selection process.

In a statement issued by the union on Sunday, the body said Ninalowo could not be entrusted with the task of selecting a new VC given his previous records.

It read: “It is on record that Professor Ninalowo as the Chairman of the 10th Governing Council in 2015, chaired the selection committee that produced Lanre Fagbohun as the 8th vice-chancellor of LASU, before it eventually came to public knowledge that his claim to being a professor of the university since 2008 was spurious.

“The recent controversies confirm the now widespread belief that Professor Ninalowo is incapable of presiding over a transparent process. As the visitor seeks to rebuild confidence in the process by ordering a fresh exercise, it will be incongruous and highly out of place for him to seek to be involved in the corrective process.”

The union also commended Sanwo-Olu for approving the process for the emergence of a new vice-chancellor following the allegations of irregularities that graced the initial process.

The statement continued: “Ordinarily, such a decision, backed by glaring facts and logic, should not have been difficult to take. We are however not unmindful of the peculiarity of our environment, and the outsize role of politics and intrigues on decisions that are supposed to be strictly, or at least mostly decided by transparent, unambiguous procedures. For this, we wish to salute the courage of the governor.

“We are aware of the schemes of certain vested, powerful interests in the university who, exploiting their privileged access to information, sought to preempt the visitor through one of their prominent agents in an otherwise reputable media organisation. They had planted stories of the cancellation of the process, while modifying it to suit their agenda, by hinting that the visitor would choose an acting vice-chancellor, and that he has refused to dissolve the selection committee whose result led to the controversies and subsequent cancellation of the exercise.

“We feel greatly relieved, and appreciate the fact that the decision of the visitor subsequently relayed to the public contains no such misleading, imputed interpretation that could have made a mess of his overall objective of ordering a fresh process. We look forward to the Senate and Council reconvening to properly elect their representatives to the selection committee within the shortest possible time.

“We recognise the powers of the Senate, just like Council, to choose those it deems fit as its representatives on the selection committee in accordance with the university law, including those who served on the previous committee. However, we do not feel it is within the powers of any vested interest, no matter how powerful or desperate, to cherry-pick aspects of a flawed, cancelled process for implementation. We see such (a thing) as an attempt to undermine the visitor's overriding aim of restoring confidence and transparency in the process and making it acceptable to all stakeholders.

“We also hope that the Governing Council will elect its own representatives to the committee under an open process, and carefully develop a clear set of objective, verifiable criteria for the selection of a new vice-chancellor in line with best practices, as opposed to the controversial advert and criteria that have brought embarrassment to the university, government and the good people of Lagos State.”

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