I walked through the main gate of the University of Lagos into its expansive belly sometime in April 1982 and for those 37 plus years, I have remained glued to and consequently appreciative of its values, culture and norms with religious flavor.
In the almost four decades, I have taught Kings and Queens, Governors and Governed and have discharged my duties with the dexterity of an overzealous establishment officer. I have, in those long years seen the University as a second home and a place that has consumed the largest chunk of my productive years.
I have no iota of regrets because the relationship has been constructive and mutually beneficial to the extent that if I have the opportunity of an encore, I shall not hesitate to reinvent and rewrite the history with all its commas and full stops intact because the truth is that the University of Lagos is simply an institution that does not promote mediocrity and indolence.
In UNILAG, there is zero tolerance for impunity. It is in view of the aforementioned that the recent power struggle at the institution is creating room for concern.
What went wrong this time around? Your guess is as good as mine but what is incontestable is that there is power play, egocentricity and intense display of meanness and deft political maneuvering at the highest level of the beloved institution.
One couldn’t have imagined that the fifty seven year old university’s cherished name would be thrown into the murky waters of politics like a derelict babe of strife with little cognizance to its image, its brand and its future. The badge for this bunch of mistakes may be placed on the chest of the Governing Council for daring to tolerate and therefore get enmeshed in the skirmishes.
Like the struggle for the Royal stool in our traditional setting, the position of the Vice- Chancellor usually creates a thick divide in the University with the losers throwing magnanimity aboard while opting for skirmishes, bickering, hatred and intense show of naked disobedience to the authority of the person who is finally selected for the job. This movie like drama would last until the mid-term of the incumbent.
However, like the bull fight in a Roman amphitheater, the emperor watches the game from a comfortable cushion because if he dare descend to the main arena, he might be injured in the process. It is in this regard that a wise Governing Council must keep the politics at arms length and face its assignment in a linear form.
Otherwise, it will find itself playing the role of a pawn in the chessboard and soiling its garment in the long run. This, in my modest opinion is where the present Council of the University of Lagos has gaffed and hence one would advise its henchmen to tow the line of finesse in the similitude of Mr. Afe Babalola, Professor Jerry Gana and the late Dr Gamaliel Onasode who presided over the same council successfully.
The aforementioned, rumpus is more of a routine in all universities all over the world but the reason for the “ silent- shout” in most places is that the leadership is able to differentiate between facts and fictions. The Governing Council that loves itself with not dabble into the noisy terrain. The NUC and other agencies know better because if they have to pay attention to the “unnecessary storms” they may be preoccupied with that for twenty four hours of the day, thereby, ignoring their main assignments.
The profundity of the political intrigues within the system could be comprehended from the willingness of two people to spend a whooping sum of almost one million, six hundred thousand Naira on a newspaper advert, when indeed a letter to the authorities concerned should have sufficed. It should be noted that this amount of money could conveniently pay the salaries of at least three professors in a month. So, who is deceiving who?
The publications in the Guardian Newspaper of Wednesday June 26, 2019 titled “THE UNILAG CRISIS: SAVE UNILAG FROM SINKING” which claims to emanate from concerned stakeholders, in structure, content and substance speaks volumes of the affiliation of the authors. It may not be necessary to request for the identification of these “Stakeholders” because the mood in the University today is that hardly will you come across anyone in the University who is not sympathetic with the Management over the Council and also, there is hardly anyone who doesn’t believe that the procedures are being by passed by the Council. There are two key characteristics of the average UNILAG PERSON that I have known for the almost four decades that I have worked in that system and that is, whatever the situation the procedure must be respected.
Culled From TheGuardian Newspaper