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Stakeholders worried as Unilag postpones convocation



Wale Babalakin

Some education stakeholders have expressed worries and called for cordial working relationship between management and governing council of the University of Lagos.

The stakeholders spoke against the backdrop of the recent postponement of the institution’s 51st convocation ceremonies at the instance of the Chairman of council Mr Wale Babalakin.

Babalakin reportedly wrote to the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, urging him to stop the ceremonies, saying they were not approved by the council.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the ceremonies were to begin on Monday, March 9 and end on March 12.

A press conference to announce the convocation had been addressed by the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe.

A former Minister of Education, Prof. Chinwe Obaji, told NAN that there must be mutual respect between the management and council to get things done right.

According to her, the institution is bigger than anybody, adding that pursuit of a common goal for the good of not just the students but the country at large should remain paramount.

Chief Adeolu Ogunbanjo, Deputy National President, National Parent /Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN), called for caution by both parties, saying that an unhealthy working relationship would not give room for growth and development of the institution.

“There is need for both of them to stand as a unit and speak with one voice, pursue a common cause, show respect for each other and forge ahead.

“What has happened is unfortunate and it is the students and their parents that will always suffer it, ” he was quoted by NAN.

A graduating doctorate student, who pleaded anonymity, said the development did not represent the Unilag brand.

According to him, the announcement came as a rude shock because much time and resources had been committed to the ceremony by graduating students.

“This is not well thought out; the feelings of the graduands, their guardians and parents were not put into consideration.

” My family members have come into Lagos for some days now.

“Some others have already come in from different parts of the world for the same occasion, and here we are talking about suspension of the ceremony without any date fixed for it.

“It is indeed worrisome,’’ he said.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Lagos branch, had earlier described the postponement of the convocation as unfortunate.

A statement by the Chairman of the ASUU branch, Dr Dele Ashiru, in Lagos, said the suspension came to the ASUU members as a ‘rude shock.’

“ASUU, Unilag, received with rude shock, the news of the postponement of the 51st convocation ceremonies of the university scheduled for March 9 to March 12, barely four days to its commencement.

“Preliminary investigations by our union reveal that the postponement was occasioned by the pro-chancellor’s unilateral complaint to the Ministry of Education that the 2019 convocation ceremonies were not approved by the council, contrary to available evidence.

“Our union, therefore, condemns in strongest terms this unfortunate, inhuman postponement of these historic convocation ceremonies.

“What has just happened is an evil wind that will blow no one any good, else, how can one explain the postponement of convocation ceremonies without any consideration for the psychological trauma this may cause the graduands, their parents, relatives and the image and reputation of the university.

“This is apart from the huge human, material and financial resources that have been committed to planning the ceremony.

“That the Ministry of Education could also quickly request the executive secretary of the NUC to advise the vice chancellor to suspend the university’s convocation ceremonies without investigating the veracity of the claim is highly depressing,’’ he said.

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