Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, Vice-Chancellor, Lagos State University (LASU), on Wednesday said that the publication claiming that his Professorship was unduly backdated is unfounded.
The VC also described the allegation as mere provocation by those who do not want peace in the university.
The Academic Staff Union of University, (ASUU), LASU Chapter, on June 1, had written a petition, signed by its Secretary and Assistant Secretary, Dr Tony Dansu and Dr Adeolu Oyekan respectively, to the University’s Pro-Chancellor and Chairman Governing Council.
The union was requesting an investigation to determine the culpability or otherwise of Mr Akinwunmi Lewis, the university’s immediate past Registrar in the wrongful dating of the promotion of Dr. Olanrewaju Fagbohun as a Professor in the Department of Public Law.
ASUU had alleged that Fagbohun was unqualified to have applied to become the university’s Vice-Chancellor, but that the backdating of his appointment enabled him.
“We hope that the Governing council will clarify the seeming contradiction between the 9th Governing Council decision taken on May 7, 2014 and the promotion letter issued to Dr Fagbohun by Lewis on Aug. 28, 2014, ” the union had said.
Addressing journalists in Lagos, Fagbohun said that the attached document circulated by the ASUU on the backdate was a 2014 LASU Council decision on a denied promotion case of 2007/2008 which was reviewed in 2014 and backdated.
” It should be noted that the Registrar at that time never knew that I could become the VC in 2016 to have started doctoring a Council decision for me in 2014.
” I also did not know that I would be vying for Vice – Chancellorship in 2016, so I could not have met anybody to doctor any document for me, ” he said According to him, LASU Council had in 2012 taken a decision premised on a petition he wrote after he was denied professorship in the 2007/2008 promotion.
“After I saw an advert of the university, I wrote a petition that I was entitled to have been promoted dating back to 2007/2008 but the interpretation of the university’s rules on ground was incorrect and unfair,” he said.
The Vice-Chancellor said after he left LASU for the Nigeria Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), the institute gave him a Chair in 2010. ” As a human being, I found it necessary to still push this cause by writing a petition to LASU to protect my seniority, and there is nothing illegal to have petitioned the university to get my entitlement, ” he said.
The Professor said that it was sequel to the petition that the then council sat and responded that he be directed to come and fill an APER Form for 2007/2008 promotion for ratification.
” It was pursuant to this process that council went ahead to confirm that I was worthy of being made a professor. “ASUU did not have the document for these directives as at the time they started circulating the backdating documents, ” he said.
Fagbohun said he was not the only beneficiary of the council’s decision, as there were and have subsequently been other colleagues who have benefited from such decisions. He explained that it was a regular practice of the university, except that the beneficiary would be notified once the promotion was backdated.
“You would not enjoy financial remuneration, but only three months notional remuneration.”
“Your date of promotion would be backdated to when you ought to have taken it because that is the only way to preserve your seniority.
” The processes went through the Appointment and Promotion Academic Committee of the University before the recommendation to the Council for approval. ” It was the crisis bedevilling the University then that delayed the process from 2012 before implementation in 2014,” he said.
The Vice-Chancellor said it was also shocking and laughable that the union was contending that he could have gotten a Chair in NIALS and also LASU because a past VC of the institution, Prof. Jadesola Akande was given a chair by the same institute.
On the allegation that he had no PhD before his appointment in NIALS, Fagbohun challenged ASUU and the public to contact the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile -Ife , faculty of law or postgraduate school for his certificate.
Fagbohun also spoke on the allegation that he did not meet the minimum requirement of 10 years professorship as requested in the advert for applicants for the office of Vice-Chancellor. He said that none of the adverts in the dailies which he saw and upon which he applied had that condition.
The VC also urged media practitioners to always investigate issues before publishing. He said that those behind such scandals are those who saw him as a threat to their bid to violate the laws of the university.
Fagbohun promised to continue working within and maintaining the rule of law because of his background as a legal practitioner.