The Vice-Chancellor of Osun State University, Prof. Labode Popoola, has declared an unrelenting war against graft and all corruption-related offences in the institution.
Popoola talked about the running battle between him and the non-academic staff union of the university during a press conference in Osogbo.
He promised never to trade peace for fraud, no matter the threat, petitions, allegations or protest against his leadership.
He explained that those who made the campus ungovernable and frustrated previous Vice Chancellors are the same set of people behind his ordeal but warned that the battle against corruption will be total and irreversible
“The same people who are making life difficult for the university are those that stoned former VC, Professor Okesina.
“I will rather resign and go instead of colluding with fraud.
“I will not do anything that will spoil my reputation in the name of peace.
“Some people have advised me to compromise with the Non-Academic Union of the Universities to achieve peace but I am not going to do that.
“Take, for example, we’re spending about N11 million to conduct examination before I resumed.
“We are now spending less than N3 million now; can you see the difference?
“The reason for their grouse is that we tightening the noose. There are no leakages any longer.
That is why, despite meagre subvention from the government, we are breaking even, we were able to pay our salaries to time and sponsored many staff to local and International conferences.
“Before I came, some staff monthly allowances could be higher than their monthly salaries. But we have put a stop to that.
“For instance, as a VC, how can I earn allowance for sitting to consider examination result.
“Is that not the primary reason why I am being paid salary?” he queried.
The VC described the recent press statement by the National PRO of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities SSANU, on UNIOSUN as “bias and inappropriateness of defence towards members of SSANU who are subsidiary members of Joint Action Committee (JAC)”.
Speaking on the allegation of SSANU, Popoola said “a former Secretary of NASU, Mr Olugbeja was illegally awarded a TETFUND Grant for a conference in the USA but unfortunately, he absconded.
“His monthly salaries were not stopped until due process was followed.
“NASU Chairman, Mr Isaiah Fayemi, got himself entangled in a financial mess involving missing booklets of receipts of the University.
“All these occurred before my assumption of duties in November 2016. Management approved the report of the investigation panel that Mr Fayemi and others involved in the receipt booklet scam should face the Staff Disciplinary Committee (SDC).
“Since that decision was taken, the university has not known peace.”
He explained that Olugbeja was stepped down by the audit department and the stoppage of his payment necessitated an agitation from NASU, thus culminating in a physical assault on the former Ag. Head of Internal Audit by NASU.
He explained that the order of the Governing Council of the University that all non-academic staff members below level 13 should sign a register daily on resumption was also disobeyed on the order of JAC leadership.
Popoola explained that the disobedience led to the disruption of activities in the University thus making the institution to lose among others, N120million Tetfund special Grant.
He said the JAC also refused to issue an apology as directed by the Governing Council and instead went ahead to disrupt the 2018 convocation by shutting down the university gates, thus preventing the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, former governor, Rauf Aregbesola and other eminent personalities from gaining entrance to the university.
“I have a name to protect. Let them go and inquire about my pedigree in the United Nations and the University of Ibadan where I was a Dean of School post-Graduate School.
“I am one person who has neither given nor taken a bribe and it won’t start now.”
The VC stressed that the crisis occasioned by his anti-corruption stance is not likely to end soon because he would not bend the rules and warned those behind the crisis to realise that he is in the race to win the battle.
From Adeyinka Aremu, Osogbo
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