Supremacy battle forces UNILAG to postpone convocation

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From Onyinyechi IHEANACHO, Abuja

A supremacy battle between the governing council of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) led by Dr Wale Babalakin (SAN) and the university management over the lined-up programmes for the convocation has resulted in the forced postponement of the event billed to commence on Monday, March 9.

A letter from the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr Sonny Echono through the National Universities Commission (NUC) directed the university to suspend the weeklong convocation.

The letter addressed to the executive secretary, NUC by Echono and titled, “Re-invitation to the 2019 convocation ceremony of the University of Lagos” read in part:

“The attention of the honourable minister has been drawn to the attached copy of the letter dated March 2, 2020, from the pro-chancellor to the effect that the 2019 convocation ceremonies were not approved by the governing council in line with the laws of the university.

“I am to  therefore request that you kindly advise the vice-chancellor to suspend the convocation and ensure full compliance with due process.”

The eventual suspension of the ceremony followed a two-day council meeting where efforts were made to persuade the pro-chancellor who allegedly felt sidelined in the planning of the ceremony.

But at the end of the two-day marathon meeting, which ended around 7:30 p.m. yesterday, members emerged from the venue wearing gloomy looks, while announcing that the ceremony had been postponed to a later date.

The postponement may have altered the plans of graduating students who are getting ready for their national youth service. Besides, the resources expended by the university in readiness for the event may have gone down the drain.

Babalakin, who earlier had a running battle with the university management over contracts and projects’ implementation resulting in the indictment of some serving and retired principal officers of the institution, allegedly faulted the university’s choice of a guest speaker without the knowledge of the council.

He also faulted the action of the management concerning the programmes and they could also not agree on the awardees meant to be conferred with honorary degrees.

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