Court dismisses suit against UNILORIN VC’s appointment

CITING lack of merit, a Federal High Court in Ilorin has dismissed a suit filed against Prof. Abdulganiyu Ambali over his recent appointment as the vice chancellor of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN).

The suit was filed by Prof. Rasheed Ijaodola.

Joined in the originating summons filed on October 17, 2012, were 18 other defendants. They include the University of Ilorin, Attorney General of the Federation, President Goodluck Jonathan, Minister of Education, Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC) and the chairman of the Council, Unilorin.

The claimant had filed the action against the vice chancellor, challenging the composition of the Council, especially its chairman being in acting capacity and yet led the committee that appointed Ambali.

Besides, Ijaodola, a professor of Law from Igbinedion University, who was also one of the contestants for the post of vice chancellor, in his 14-point declaration, sought the interpretations of the court on the legality of the chairman of the Council acting as the chairman of the appointment committee when he and the eventual appointees are from the same locality (Ilorin).

The claimant had noted, whether in view of Section 3(2) of the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1993 No. 11 as amended, “a board made up of the following persons: Alhaji Saka Sa’adu, Prof. N.Y.S. Ijaya, Prof. M.A. Fajemidagba, Babatunde Esuola and Mr. T.A. Odedele, has the competence to draw up a list of suitable candidates for the post of vice chancellor in consequent of the advertisement placed by the Council of the university.”

The presiding judge of the court, Olayinka Faji, compressed all the claims into four and consequently resolved all in favour of the defendants, thus conferring validation on the council that appointed the incumbent vice chancellor, who was the second defendant.

On the issue of the Council’s chairman having come from the same electoral ward as the second defendant, the judge said the “plaintiff has not shown any requirement that a chairman of council should not be from a particular ward or that if his kinsman is involved in a process before him, then that automatically disqualifies him from being pro-chancellor and chairman of Council, even though in an acting capacity.

“To my mind, plaintiff’s question five seeks to whip up unnecessary sentiments, bordering on discrimination, in the affairs of government and its agencies. Plaintiff has not pointed at anything, apart from place of origin, which disqualifies third defendant from so acting.”

Faji said: “On the whole, plaintiff’s claim lacks merit and is accordingly hereby dismissed”.

Ambali said he would not victimise those “who went to court to challenge my appointment. We are one big family”.

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