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Disquiet In OOU As Ogun Govt. Fails To Constitute Visitation Panel 15 Years After – Investigation (1)

Daud Olatunji

Rots seem to have been noticed in the first state university in Ogun State, the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, following the alleged failure of the government to constitute a visitation panel in the last 15 years, according to an investigation by PLATFORM TIMES.

PLATFORM TIMES’s investigation revealed that both former Governor Ibikunle Amosun and the current Governor, Dapo Abiodun, did not take stock of the school in the last 15 years.

Despite the commendable performances of past Vice-Chancellors, including Prof. Saburi Adesanya and Prof. Ganiyu Olatunde, who were appointed during Amosun’s tenure between 2013 and 2022, the absence of a visitation panel has raised concerns about accountability and governance within the university. 

Amosun, who governed the state between 2011 and 2019, did not set up a visitation panel until he left office. 

Abiodun, who took over from him in 2019, appointed Prof. Ayodele Agboola as the VC of the institution in 2022 and has yet to set up any panel looking into the activities of the state-owned university.

The system was reported to have begun witnessing a setback as many workers were alleged to have been acting with impunity. 

A source in the academic community, while speaking on the failure to set up a visitation panel, told PLATFORM TIMES, “After so many years, when you did not take stock, how do you even know the performance of the school? Governor Abiodun said he is rebuilding everywhere, but he did not rebuild educational institutions.

Because by now, there ought to have been a visitation panel to come to the university because the last one was in 2009. And it is every five years. 

The school is supposed to have another visitation panel in 2019 maximum as it is done everywhere. But one way or the other, it did not happen.”

Tracing the reasons for the visitation panel, one of the sources told PLATFORM TIMES that the last one was brought to the school following a protest by the students in 2009. 

The source said, “And that was the last visitation panel. Since 2009 till now, there has not been anyone. And that is why people are doing so many things with impunity because the law says every 5 years. Because it is supposed to be like after the tenure of every Vice-Chancellor.

“Now, it means the school has been there for over 15 years without a visitation panel which means that almost three visitations are due and it usually causes unnecessary spending for the government.” 

PLATFORM TIMES further observed that many workers in the OOU were afraid to speak up as a result of fear of repercussion.

Another academic expresses his feeling about the development, saying, the essence of a visitation panel is multilayered.

 According to the source, If there is an industrial crisis by the staff unions, the visitor and Governor of the state can constitute a visitation panel.

“It could also be constituted if there is gross financial misappropriation by the University Management or anything that goes contrary to the enabling laws of the University. 

“Every Tertiary institution of Education has an enabling law that empowers the visitor to act based on anything inimical to his administration.

“ That is why it’s the visitor that approves the Graduation ceremony of the institution of the state where they govern.”

Speaking on the effects of the panel on the institution, the source said most recommendations are swept under the carpet. 

On the implication of the development, the source said, “Not having a visitation panel for a longer period of time denies members of staff a lot of opportunities, ranging from right placement on the job, promotion and largely, infrastructure.

“Many of these visitors pay lip service to proper administration of these Universities. They only come during major University events to rabble-rouse, deceiving people, being clapped for, and they leave. 

“The Vice-Chancellors are left with no option than to ascribe certain achievements of the University to the visitor/governor, if he or she still wants to retain his job.”

Recalled that the last visitation panel was established in 2009/2010 by former Governor Gbenga Daniel’s administration, in response to widespread issues within the institution. 

PLATFORM TIMES reports that since then, the university has not undergone the required comprehensive review of its activities. 

According to the law governing universities, visitation panels are entrusted with the responsibility of conducting thorough assessments, including reviewing academic standards, financial management, infrastructure, and disciplinary cases. However, these crucial evaluations have been put on hold for 15 years at OOU.

PLATFORM TIMES reports that the absence of a visitation panel in 15 years has raised concerns about accountability and governance within the university.

 A source within the academic community expressed dismay at the lack of oversight. 

The sources alleged that the absence of a visitation panel has led to impunity among staff, further exacerbating concerns about the university’s management.

 Efforts to obtain reactions from the university’s Public Relations Officer, Niyi Oduwole, and the state Commissioner for Education, Prof. Abayomi Arigbabu, were unsuccessful. 

Both had yet to respond to the messages sent to their mobile lines, and calls were yet to be answered by them as of the time of filing this report.

PLATFORM TIMES, however, reports that in light of these developments, stakeholders are calling on the Ogun State government to urgently address the situation and fulfill its obligation to ensure accountability and transparency within Olabisi Onabanjo University. 

PLATFORM TIMES observes that failure to do so risks further deterioration of the institution’s standards and reputation.

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