Disquiet at new Federal University Ila, over alleged lecturers, VC clash

by Adabanija Kamorudeen

The College of Medicine of the Federal University of Health Sciences, Ila-Orangun (FUHSI), Osun, is currently in a state of academic tension over unconfirmed resignations of senior medical lecturers, investigation by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) has shown.

NAN investigation revealed that the alleged resignations of the senior medical teachers was due to what they described as alleged maltreatment of one of their colleagues, Prof. Tijani Adekilekun, by the Vice-Chancellor (VC) of the University, Prof. Akeem Lasisi.

The medical teachers said that if something was not done urgently to correct the anomaly, the university’s College of Medicine may cease to exist.

One of the affected lecturers, who spoke with NAN under confidential condition, said that the crisis started when the VC allegedly issued a letter sacking Adekilekun, who is the Dean of Basic Medical Sciences, without a fair hearing.

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“At first, the VC, through the Registrar of the university, on Feb. 14 issued a query to Adekilekun, alleging that he instructed students of other programmes in the university to move to MBBS programme.

“Although the allegation was false because the dean in question does not have such power, however, he was asked to reply to the query within 48 hours,” the lecturer said.

He said that Adekilekun, on the same day, replied to the query and denied the allegation.

“Adekilekun, in his reply to the query, also urged the school management to do a proper investigation and provide evidence to show that he gave such directive to students,” he said.

Another senior medical teacher, who also does not want his name in print, explained that after the dean replied to the query, the VC, through the registrar, in another letter dated Feb. 27, allegedly terminated the appointment of the dean.

“Without due process, the VC terminated the dean’s appointment, and this did not go down well with other senior academic staff in the university,” he said.

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A third lecturer said that the dean that was sacked by the VC is the only Professor of Anatomy in the College of Medicine and has contributed significantly to the progress of the college.

The lecturer said that it was based on this fact, that the former provost of the College of Medicine, the sacked dean, and four other lecturers from the faculty sent a letter to the VC to protest the “ill-treatment” of the dean.

According to him, they used the letter of protest to ask for an unconditional withdrawal of the query and dismissal letter given to the dean, and a stoppage of all lectures at College of Medicine until the issue is resolved.

“But rather than yielding to our demands, the VC went ahead to issue queries to all of us that signed the protest letter.

“As a result of the queries, we, the four senior academic staff that signed the letter have tendered our letter of resignations, while the sack letter given to our colleague is yet to be withdrawn.

“Also, because of the crisis, the appointment of the Provost of the College of Medicine, who was on sabbatical leave at the university, was not renewed and she has gone back to the University of Ilorin,” he said.

He said that now, there is no lecturer at the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences.

“The question now is, what is the fate of more than 200 potential doctors in the university?,” the lecturer asked.

NAN also learnt that all efforts by the traditional ruler of Ila-Orangun, Oba Abdulwahab Oyedotun, and other major stakeholders to resolve the issue have not yielded positive results.

When contacted, Adekilekun said he can not comment on the matter because it is being handled by the university management and prominent stakeholders such as the Orangun of Ila and his chiefs-in-council, as well as religious leaders.

Speaking with NAN in a telephone interview, a former senior management staff of the college, said that the issue causing crisis in the university is inconsequential.

The staff who spoke in confidence said that since there was no official communication on the allegation against a lecturer directing students to move from one department to another, then it should not be discussed.

“To me, it is no issue. When you begin to talk about one person said this and that, with no official communication to that effect, it is no issue to be discussed in the university environment.

“In spite of it being a no issue, I think the Senate of the university had agreed on the movement of students, it was not as if it came from the blues.

“The senate had agreed that since it is a university of Health Sciences, they do the same courses,” she said.

The staff added that subsequently, if students did excellently well, and if they want to move to other courses, they can apply, using a transfer form, but the university was unable to formalise this.

”I think it is that vacuum that was responsible for all the talk.

”Honestly, for me as university administrator and educator, if a matter is like that, it has no strength as far as I am concerned. I think the matter is a closed matter” she said.

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On what the effect of the crisis will be on the medical sciences students, she said that the VC is in the best position to determine the fate of the students.

“If you have a college without a provost and you have a Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences where there is no dean and you have no lecturers in key areas, perhaps, the VC will be in the best position to determine and comment on the status of the students.

“Maybe the students will be moved to other institutions or he has other arrangements.

“There is already a gap. Students have lost several weeks of tutelage and I hope they will settle this issue quickly so that things can go back on track,” she said.

The staff said government has invested a lot in the university and parents have also invested in their children by bringing them into the university, as such they expect results.

On her experience as a former administrator in the school, the professor said “in my one year there, I do not think I have achieved the things I would have loved to achieve, this is perhaps, due to bureaucratic bottleneck and other factors”.

When contacted, the Registrar of the university, Mr Kassim Babamale, said he did not want to speak on the matter because it is under investigation

On the allegation that the students were not being taught due to the crisis, Babamale said the students were not out of the classroom.

“Students are not out of the classroom, however, you may wish to speak with the VC. But to the best of my knowledge, the students are not out of the classrooms.

“On the issue of resignation of lecturers, I do not want to speak on the matter because investigation is ongoing,” he added.

When the VC of the university was contacted, he did not respond to several calls put through to him, while text and WhatsApp messages sent to him were not replied.

The Federal University of Health Sciences, Ila Orangun began operations in February 2022.(NAN)

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