Exclusive: APC’s Governorship Hopeful Hit Storm After Opening Old Wounds In Viral Video
Reactions have continued to trail recent claims by Prof Shuaibu Oba Abdulraheem, former vice chancellor, University of Ilorin, key politician in Kwara’s All Progressives Congress.
APC’s attempt at putting distance between himself and the gale of sack of academics and founding members of the University 20 years ago after two of the principal actors of the saga responded to the professor, calling him out on his claims on the matter.
According Prof Abdulraheem in a viral video posted by a blogger, it was unfair to claim that he was responsible for the sack of either the group of 49 academics or the other five who were executives of the local branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.
But responding, Taiwo Oloruntoba Oju, PhD, chairman, of ASUU at the time, and Prof Poju Akinyanju, both of whom were affected by the actions of Abdulraheem, told elombah.com that the former VC was only trying to be clever by half in the video. They added that apart from history, and similar developments happening when Abdulraheem held sway before joining politics, judicial pronouncements also authenticated the former VC’s guilt in the matter.
There have been talks about pushing Prof Abdulraheem to wrestle the state’s APC party ticket from the incumbent governor, Abdulrahaman Abdulrazak, ahead 2023 as result of party infighting. The recent video where the former VC attempted to revisit history during a Q/A session is believed to be an attempt at smoothening wrinkles in his records.
As the former VC of the university, he is reputed to have sacked at least 70 top academics from the school, including former VCs and deputy VCs. Under his tenure, an Appeal Court Justice pronounced the university as the most litigious government institution. Fittingly, he left a huge burden of judicial debt overhang; one of them, N2 billion judgement debt payable to the wrongly sacked 49 lecturers who were also ordered to be reinstated by the Supreme Court.
But in his defense in the video, Oba pushed the blame far from himself, putting it squarely at the foot of the Gen Salihu Ibrahim led university Governing Board.
‘I Only Sacked Five, Not 49 Lecturers’
Prof Abdulraheem says that only five people were sacked because they disrupted exams.
“That was an unfair thing attributed to me. I never sacked anybody, that is the truth. I was vice chancellor, chief executive, custodian of rules and regulations that is accountable to the governing council. I needed to do if anybody misbehaved is to report him to the governing council.
“The governing council is the only mechanism to deal with whoever that is wrong and whoever that is right. And they give me instruction to pass it through the registrar.
“So if people got sacked unfortunately, it wasn’t my fault. It was the decision of the governing council who are employers of labour.
“But most importantly, the misinformation went through for political reason that I sacked 49 lecturers. It wasn’t the truth. Only five were sacked and only those five went to court and won at the Supreme Court
“They were the ones who beat children during the exams, during their strike, because their university remained opened. Because they were in Unionism they didn’t want anybody to break their strike.
“And to do that, they got one hall at the Faculty of Education where they engaged in physical combat with students and of them lost their teeth.
“They won the case at the Supreme Court because the Governing Council didn’t follow the due process when it sacked them.
‘Prof Abdulraheem’s narrative is unstable, unreliable’
But Dr Oloruntoba-Oju says that the former VC’s account is as unreliable as the weather.
“I have heard him say different things at different times on the situation depending on the “occasion/audience.
“The other time when he was trying to run for office he was quoted as saying he regretted the termination of appointment of the 49. Now he’s saying he or his Council sacked only 5 and not 49. His narrative of the event is unstable and obviously unreliable.
“When he says he only sacked 5 persons and not 49, possibly we are also dealing with a case of selective amnesia or gross mischief. So, he remembers the sacking 5 and forgets that he (or the Council) also sacked the 44. That is not a good sign at all. So how does he explain the case of the 44 and the Supreme Court verdict on the case?
“His attempt to separate himself and his Administration from the Council is interesting, and a little pathetic.
“The Vice-chancellor is a key and extremely influential member of the Council. In fact the Vice-chancellors often have a majority on Council, along with the DVCs, the Registrar who is the Secretary of the Administration and of Council and other internal members of the Council who are often in his corner.
“In his own case the only internal member of Council then who disagreed with him was removed and was ultimately sacked. I am talking about Prof Albert Anjorin.
“Abdulraheem generated the Unilorin crisis by his action. First he was indicted for corruption by government; he then went on rampage against the unions, especially ASUU, for their role in bringing evidence of his malfeasance before government’s panel.
“He terminated the appointment of persons perceived to be close to the union on flimsy excuses. An example was the late Prof Obayan who was also reinstated by the Supreme Court. He also sacked 5 former principal officers, including his immediate predecessors, Professors Oyinloye and Adeoye Adeniyi from their contract appointments, because he felt they were supporting the union.
‘Prof. Sacked More Than 49’
Prof Akinyaju, also one of those affected by the sack 20 years ago said that the former VC did worse than sacking 49 lecturers in one full swoop.
“He sacked more than 49. He sacked two former VCs who were his predecessors by truncating their contract appointment mid stream; he sacked the former VC of Covenant University, a Professor of business Administration and many more.
“He also illegally seized the results of many students truncating their career for years until they were rescued by the Courts.
“His Administration was a wild house of tyranny. There were a deluge of cases against Abdulraheem’s Administration and he lost over 95% of them.
“These are documented public records. This is what a judge of the Court of Appeal said of Prof Abdulraheem ‘the vice-chancellor [Prof Abdulraheem] administration was oppressive, vindictive and dictatorial.’
“In the same judgement, Abdulraheem was classified as a tyrant who turned the University he was privileged to govern into a fiefdom unleashing a reign of terror, victimisation, oppression, lawlessness and intolerance of dissent…
“It is ingenious to now try and shift the blame for the illegal sacks to Council.