LASU ASUU Kicks Against Return Of Lanre Fagbohun





The Return of Lanre Fagbohun, the Immediate Past Vice Chancellor of LASU to the University: Resumption or Assumption of Duty?

The Lagos Zone of our great union, ASUU, has taken note of a statement released by the authorities of the Lagos State University, announcing the return of its immediate past Vice Chancellor, Lanre Fagbohun, as a Professor of Law, “after accumulated leave”. Fagbohun, during whose tyrannical regime the NEC of ASUU declared the Vice Chancellor of LASU an enemy of the union, was until his appointment as Vice Chancellor in 2016, a staff of the National Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Lagos. From all available records, he joined the institute in 2011, after several unsuccessful efforts to become a Professor in LASU.

By convention, practice and regulations, people who served as appointees on leave of absence in an institution are required to return to their parent institution at the end of their tenure, from where they can then properly exit. There are also laid down procedures and regulations for getting appointed into any academic position, especially that of a professor, in a university, LASU not being an exception.

The claimed return of “Professor” Fagbohun to the Faculty of Law is not known to have followed any of the laid down provisions of LASU on appointments and promotions, thus raising yet again the question of legality and propriety for both the institution and the beneficiary of this dubious process.

It is public knowledge that in May 2014, years after leaving LASU, the then Governing Council of the institution promoted Fagbohun to the rank of a Professor of public law, a nonexistent department at the time, in breach of all its own rules. The effective date was put at May 7, 2014. By the time he became VC in 2016, the effective date of that dubious promotion had been altered in a letter signed by the then Registrar to read October 1st, 2008; a date he was yet to obtain PhD, which (according to LASU guidelines for promotion) was a basic requirement for elevation to the rank of professor. It is one strongly suspected case of fraudulent manipulation and alteration of Council decision that the university is yet to investigate till date. In all of it, Fagbohun arrived LASU as Vice Chancellor as a staff of the NIALS on leave of absence, armed with the laughable claim to professorial experience conferred on him by a conniving Registrar.

The issue of Fagbohun’s claim to being a Professor is indeed one out of the many issues submitted to the Visitation Panel constituted by the Visitor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to investigate the affairs of the university. Years after the submission of the report of that panel, the State Government has refused to release it or issue a White Paper on it. In fact, the delay in the implementation of the decision of the Governing Council to recall the officers of ASUU-LASU illegally and vindictively dismissed under Fagbohun, as widely reported, has been hinged by the powers that be in LASU and Lagos State on the need to wait for the release of the White Paper.

We therefore find it very strange that “Professor” Fagbohun, whose tenure, career, character and qualifications for office forms a major part of the work of the Panel is now being rehabilitated into the university as a staff who went on an extended leave, without the possible outcome of the panel’s report.

We also found it disappointing that the irregular and obviously illegal appointment/assumption/resumption of Fagbohun is being done in a way that makes a mockery of due process and applicable regulations in LASU. We had thought that the days of wanton disregard and disrespect for the laws ended with the regime of Fagbohun himself. That assumption now appears mistaken.

Worse still, is the symbolic seal of approval of the top echelons of the university, with the public posture of Fagbohun and the Chairman of the Governing Council. We will like to remind the current Chairman of Council at LASU that a major reason why the preceding Council under Professor Bayo Ninalowo became a rubber stamp for Fagbohun’s illegalities was because of its inability to wean itself of the errors it committed in overlooking the inconsistencies and irregularities in his claim to professorship and qualification for the office of Vice Chancellor. Rather than admit its error, that Council doubled down and became an uncritical clearing house for serial illegalities until it eventually got consumed. It is not too late for the current Governing Council to review the unfolding comedy of errors, allow its relevant organs evaluate Fagbohun as they would do for other job applicants, and take his appointment through the necessary process if found qualified. It is a slightly better way of rehabilitating the “professor”, if he has to be employed by the university. It also helps the Governing Council avoid the suspicion of being hypocritical about its need for a White Paper to decide on matters of appointments and dismissals.

Adelaja Odukoya

Zonal Coordinator, Lagos Zone

19th December, 2023

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