AAUA sacked lecturers, other staff reinstated

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Some members of academic and administrative staff of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA), sacked by state government based on the recommendations of the Visitation Panel set up in 2009 by the administration of the then Governor Olusegun Mimiko have been reinstated.

Their sack was reversed by the Visitation Panel set up in 2017 by Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN)-led administration, which faulted their termination, insisting that the setting up of the 2009 Visitation Panel was done in violation of the extant law of the university.

The state government, under Mimiko’s administration had in 2009 constituted a, eight-member visitation panel, headed by Professor Bamitale Omole, former Vice- Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) to look into the affairs of the university from December 1999 to February 2009.

The government, based on the recommendations of the panel, however, issued a Government White Paper, terminating the appointments of no fewer than seven academic and administrative staff, which also levelled some allegations against the former Vice- Chancellor, Professor Philip Abiodun.

But, dissatisfied with the process that led to the termination of their appointments, the sacked members of staff were said to have submitted memoranda to the 2017 Visitation Panel, challenging their sack, and appealed for reversal of their sack.

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Thus, the State Executive Council (SEC) at one of its meetings, considered the recommendation of the 2017 visitation panel that a Special Purpose Review Committee (SPRC) be set up to look at the issues of the sacked members of staff.

Consequently, a six-member Special Purpose Review Committee, headed by Professor Akinbo Adesomoju was set up, which in its recommendations recommended a reversal of the decision of the 2009 visitation panel as regards the termination of the appointments of the university members of staff.

In the Ondo State Government Official Gazette of July 23, 2020, the Government Printer was directed to issue a Proclamation in the form of Gazette to quit Section 10.0 on page 41 of the Government White Paper in the termination of the officials as a result of the 2009 visitation panel report.

The gazette ordered the reversal of the termination of appointment of Prof. Olu Alo; Dr. Olayiwola Fasoranti; Dr. Olu Adesola Famade; Prof. Akinnawo Olutope , as well as Dr. G.T Akinleye and Mr. G.O Akinkoyi (Admin Officer II), while Mr. P.O. Yabugbe is to be treated as being retired normally after attaining the mandatory age of 65 years. In the case of former Vice-Chancellor, Professor Abiodun, he was cleared of the unproved allegations levelled against him.

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The gazette also faulted the modalities adopted in the dissolution of the university Governing Council by the 2009 visitation panel, noting that the tenure of the Council was four years and could only be dissolved before the expiration of its tenure on an established misconduct on the part of the Council. The government gazette stated: “That the 2009 visitation panel breached the right of fair hearing of the sacked officers in contravention of relevant provisions of the university law.

That from all available documents, oral presentations by the sacked lecturers/staff and examination of their personal files, the Committee observed that the right of the disengaged individuals to fair hearing as enshrined in AAUA Law, 2007 was breached by the 2009 visitation panel on several grounds as clearly indicated in the report.

“That the Committee was also of the opinion that extraneous considerations were responsible for the termination of the appointments of the affected staff of the institution.”

Therefore, the gazette considered and approved the recommendations of the Committee that the official be reinstated without payment of the arrears of their financial benefits. It further stated that the periods of their absence from the university be condoned for the purpose of the determination of their career progression or be termed as leave of absence without pay.

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“Any lecturer or administrative staff member who was not willing to accept the recommended available resolution of the issue without financial consideration should be free to pursue the legal option,” the gazette stated.

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