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Rejoinder: Obafemi Awolowo University crisis and falsifiers at work

By Adediwura Alawode

In his article entitled ‘Crisis in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife’, Wumi Raji, an Associate Professor in the Department of Dramatic Arts, OAU, liberally revealed that he belongs to the same depraved universe of those who project and accept falsehood as truth. The ethically deceased inhabitants of that degenerate space are always animated by and drunken with happiness when grossly distorted facts favour them. But when they are at the receiving end of such vile practice, they hang no fire in howling about how their human dignity and rights are battered and violated.

With the practised ease of an inveterate falsifier, Wumi Raji in his long winded(some 2,320 words) waffle, published on Thursday July 14, 2016, on the website of the TheNews Magazine, freely runs the spike of lies through the precious heart of truth. To be sure, some commentators who have written on the OAU crisis since it began stood on the abomasum of glaring facts. So, this drama teacher has an inconsequential few spin doctors to company with. While some of his points on the OAU disaster are not worth the grace of response, I invite you to come with me to the ones that offend truth and decency.

First, Wumi Raji declaimed authoritatively that the ‘Governing Council usurped the role of the Joint Council and Senate Selection Board’ (JCSSB)in the process leading to the appointment of the substantive Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ayobami Salami, on June 6. The position of the JCSSB remains that its duty was never usurped. And this provides a strong rebuttal against the fabrication of people like this university teacher. Because his is not an intellectual mind habituated to the grace of depth and thoroughness, Wumi Rajiin paragraph 10 0f his prolix write-up contradicted himself by saying the same JCSSB which in preceding paragraphs he had told us the Governing Council hijacked its responsibility ‘simply brushed aside the letters [written by some of the candidates who alleged they did not get the information on the venue of the meeting they were invited to] and went ahead with the interaction’.When a person is more amenable to evil, s/he never lacks the resources of contradiction.

The falsehood he assertively projected as truth is the invention of the fevered minds of the leaderships of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) which, though do not have any say in the appointment of a VC, have sworn to disparage the process that threw up Prof. Salami. They settled for this abomination because they have caged their hearts with the insupportable belief that the new VC will not pay them the allowances his predecessor, whom he worked with as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics), owed them. Two of the five shortlisted candidates who lost the office to Prof. Salami see fertile soil in the quixotic quest of the unions and have since been sowing actively therein, aiding the unions in their violent conducts and criminal projection of the lies about the usurpation of the role of the JCSSB.

Second, this Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts, like the two unions he is supporting, cannot differentiate between notice of a court case and a restraining order of court. From the admission of many members of the unions, they had thought the Federal High Court at Osogbo, Osun State, would grant their request for a restraining order against the Governing Council. But they were shell-shocked with a notice for the respondent. From that day on, they took laws into their hands and made the school ungovernable, howling that they abandoned their works so as to help the court enforce an injunction that was given in their circumscribed dream world.

I CHALLENGE HIM AND HIS COVEN OF LIARS TO PUBLISH THE COURT INJUNCTION THAT RESTRAINED THE GOVERNING COUNCIL FROM PROCEEDING WITH THE APPOINTMENT PROCESS IN THE WRONG DATE HE REFERRED TO.

Incredibly, the dissolution of the Governing Council by the Visitor on June 30 was inspired by that falsity, which neither the Minister of Education nor President Buhari bothered to crosscheck. In the advertorial announcing the dismissal of the Prof. Rowland Council, the president ‘ordered’ that the process for the appointment of a new VC be suspended pending the outcome of the court case. But the reality as at the time that ‘order’ was given is that there was no ongoing process to appoint a new VC. There was already a substantive VC who had assumed duty on June 24. The Presidency through the Federal Character Commission had even issued a certificate of clearance to the university Registrar, authorising him to issue a letter of appointment to the person announced by the Governing Council as the VC. The president’s ‘order’ should have been that the unions should go back to their job and await the outcome of their court case. That is the habit of civilised and rational minds.

It is strange to read Wumi Raji celebrate the dissolution of Governing Council without an investigation first to establish the veracity of the allegations whooped against it by NASU and SSANU leaders. It did not even bother this ‘activist’ that it is not the behaviour of decent people to take actions on unsubstantiated claims. It beats the mind that the criminal acts of the union leaders found acceptance in his mind. He saw nothing wrong in those violent people locking up members of the Governing Council in order to prevent them from doing their duties and serve them a court notice their uncultured minds interpreted as a restraining order. And this is a man we spent time at different points in his career fighting the injustices meted out against him! So all his claims to the virtues of justice, fairness, and equity are skin-deep! How he frothed in the mouth with lies in that piece without a pound of conscience is perplexing! Maybe he can no longer call his conscience his!

Wumi Raji was so actively interested in serving lies as truth in his ponderous piece that he joyously invented dates and events. One instance is what he said in paragraph eight: ‘precisely on Friday June 5’. There is nothing precise about that day. The event he credited to that day did not happen at the time and could not have happened because in the calendar that people of conscience and lovers of justice have, ‘June 5’ was a Sunday. I leave you to imagine what this lecturer would have done had a student quoted a page wrongly in his/her essay. Maybe somebody should do him a favour by telling him that some students can score 100%, deservedly, in some courses. This becomes important because this teacher found it hard to believe that Prof. Salami was scored 100% in one aspect of the areas he was assessed in.

Third, being well inured to the weird logic of lie as truth, Wumi Raji asserted that the Governing Council interacted with one of the three candidates who were presented to it ‘on phone’. Again, this untruth is not unique to this teacher. It is the same worn-out invention that NASU and SSANU leaders and their hidden backers have trumpeted again and again to further disparage the process that produced the current VC who walloped the candidate that the like of Wumi Raji cast their lot with. The man they claimed was called on the phone is still alive; anybody can reach him to find out the truth.

And when this chronicler of falsities ask the question, ‘But just why should a simple process of selecting a new Vice Chancellor precipitate so much crisis and give birth to the kind of rancor that we are currently witnessing in Obafemi Awolowo University?’, you would think he was genuinely concerned about the well being of the school. No! He was going to put some tasteless icing on the cake of lies, to wit, that ‘the Governing Council has, along the line, compromised itself’. It is the invented indictment that the unions and Wumi Raji’s failed candidate have been propagating.

Regardless of the double and warped morality of the likes of Wumi Raji, the fact subsists that President Buhari violated the University Autonomy Law 2003 (as amended), which says the Visitor can only dissolve a Governing Council where it is proven (through an investigation of course) that it is corrupt and incompetent. And he cannot appoint a(n) (acting or substantive) VC; neither can he query nor fire a VC. Unless the court invalidates the process that produced him, Prof. Salami remains the substantive VC of OAU. If President Buhari’s abode is with justice, fairness, and respect for the rule of law, he should reconsider his decision on the Governing Council, not tinker with the appointment of the new VC, and shame the claque of irredeemable falsifiers by working for the peace and progress of the university.

Alawode writes from OAU, Ile-Ife.

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