PROMOTION SCANDAL ROCKS UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN

Hardly can anyone imagine that the intrigue and politicking amongst university dons surpasses those amongst politicians. Unfortunately at the University of Ibadan , such is the case as series of promotion racket, blackmail, falsification of panel reports, intimidation and academic fraud rock the nation’s premier university.

Since 2006, several mind-boggling fraudulent activities of some professors and high profile personnel of the institution is now so obvious the centre can no longer hold and it is now a time bomb waiting to explode.

For example, in 2006 in the Department of Educational Management, of the university, a Senior Lecturer (names withheld), did not know that he was looking for trouble when he applied for promotion to the rank of a Reader (Associate Professor). This is in spite of the fact that his then ‘Acting Head of Department’ (HOD, names withheld) hid the promotion circular from some non-favorite staff.

After nearly up to a year, precisely in October, 2007, when the promotion exercise was about to end, the non-favored lecturers got wind of the development and complained and got the circular and guideline from the Establishments’ Office and were able to apply. Some of the applicants were successful, but because they had earlier been classified as lecturers who “have not been playing ball and so should remain stagnant”, but the university authority is yet to release the outcome of the screening up till the time of filing this report, three years after.

The problem was that one influential Professor (names withheld) who also works in the same Educational Management Department, who is said to be very close to both the Vice Chancellor and the Registrar, is fingered to be the man behind all this problem. This influential professor had boasted in 2003, that he would dismiss some of these “recalcitrant lecturers” from the university.

Apart from this issue, there was another fraudulent deal by same influential Professor, who was accused of using unofficial receipts to make illegal collections of N2,500.00 per postgraduate student and allegedly presented lies to the University Internal Audit that he was merely assisting the students to collect the money; whereas he actually appointed a postgraduate student to front for him in the collection of the fraudulent money.

Investigations and documents inspected by this reporter actually showed that he collected more than what he confessed to the university probe panel which investigated this allegation. The first two audit reports carried out in the school over the matter indicted him. But, in order to same “one of our own”, the university authority had to look for a third auditor to clear him, even though it was established that fraud was committed.

This influential professor did not stop at that. He allegedly recommended a student who was not the best graduating student for the best student award in the 2004 convocation ceremonies of the premier university in the country. The University ignored complaints from the deprived graduate. The convocation brochure says it all.

This influential professor, it was gathered, did not stop there, he had, according to our investigations, allegedly fabricated lies in cooked up petitions against some of his colleagues in the university. His victims include: Segun Ogunsaju, current Deputy Vice Chancellor , Tai Solarin University of Education , Ijebu-Ode. This was, according to sources done while the later was an HOD at University of Ilorin (UNIROLIN).

This influential professor allegedly lied that Prof. Ogunsaju had favoured another female Professor in the department (names withheld) in the payment of honorarium by paying her before him: an allegation which turned out to be false. Another victim of this false and imaginary fabrication was the late Dr. Stephen D. Akangbou over the purchase of furniture for the HOD’ office in 1986, while Late Dr. Stephen D. Akangbou was the HOD. Also, there was the issue of alleged intimidation of one Prof. John Ike Nwankwo in 1990, to disengage from the university service with a petition containing a false claim that Nwanko cooked up marks for students. This was also investigated and found to be false. Prof. John I. Nwankwo now works with the UNESCO but was formerly a lecturer and the supervisor of the PhD thesis of this influential university don.

There was also the issue of the arrest and harassment of Professors James Ajala, Elaturoti and J.B. Babalola, former and current Deans of the Faculty of Education , over a false claim that they wanted to kill same influential university don. It was learnt that the actual motive was the promotion of his former student Prof. J.B. Babalola, to the rank of a professor before his own promotion was announced. Apart from this, it was gathered also that this powerful don, had boastfully flooded out two of his colleagues (Drs. Akinwumiju and Ajayi) from the university service in 2007 with another clincher in the form of petitions. His next target, one Dr. Martins Olubunmi Fabunmi, escaped his sledge hammer.

Several unsuccessful attempts were made to set up Dr. Fabunmi between year 2000 and 2008. Part of the ploy was an attempt to make one of his PhD project students to use fake statistics with the view of involving him in an academic fraud. Some of the female students used against him refused to cooperate. However, a few students agreed to be used against this university don. Again, this Dr. Fabunmi, we were told, was always able to turn down set up offers for amorous relationships from both staff and students.

Dr. Fabunmi was in the Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville , United States of America in 2006/2007 academic session for the post-doctoral teaching and research fellowship. A female very senior administrative staff who later became a principal officer of the university made frantic efforts to make sure that Dr. Fabunmi was dropped from the list of those to benefit from training programme.

Her reason was that Dr. Fabunmi was a petition writer. Dr. Fabunmi had exposed how her friend was manipulating students’ results and using unofficial receipts to make illegal collections which he did not remit to the university account. However, her efforts failed as very senior professors at the meeting insisted that the criterion was purely academic. Dr. Fabunmi made the best use of the opportunity.

The host university ( SIUE ) recognized the academic ability and other good qualities of Dr. Fabunmi. He was attached to an outstanding professor of IT & Research, Professor Yuang Liu and was commended on SIUE official website for his outstanding and sustained contributions to research and academics.

However, Dr. Fabunmi’s image was tarnished by one of his female colleagues who also visited same university purposely to get him trapped by sexual orgies. The matter some how, became subject of police investigation and sensing that the plot had failed, the colleague sent him an apology e-mail and retracted the one she earlier sent claiming sexual assault.

Though the lady was alleged not to be on the original list of those to benefit from the McArthur training programme, she was made to apply after those to undergo the training programme had been selected. The argument for the inclusion of her name is that somebody was needed to represent her section: Editorial Department, Distance Learning centre , University of Ibadan.

On getting there, she had approached Dr. Fabunmi to accommodate her in his room, but Dr. Fabunmi refused. He insisted that the lady should get her official accommodation, which she eventually got. She later volunteered to join Dr. Fabunmi in his one-hour daily jogging exercise, during which she ran down the powerful Prof. she was acting for and some other principal officers of the university in order to obtain the needed information. This did not work.

However, on getting to Nigeria, she alleged that Dr. Fabunmi harassed her sexually thrice in an e-mail to Dr. Fabunmi. Unfortunately for her, Dr. Fabunmi travelled on two of the dates she quoted. Moreover, the SIUE authority was not comfortable with her claim as she never mentioned her allegation to anyone throughout her eight-week stay in the university.

Dr. Fabunmi was said to have promptly forwarded the mail to the University for ‘Full Investigation’. During preliminary investigation, she confessed that it was not true that Dr. Fabunmi harassed her sexually. Eventually she had to apologize to Dr. Fabunmi (via another email) for blackmailing him.

Due to his recalcitrant, a new trick was employed by recruiting one of his research project supervisees that adjudged to be “close” to him. One of them who eventually agreed, we were told, lured Dr. Fabunmi to a private residential house in Ibadan , where he was abducted by some students who claimed that they were cultists recruited to do the dirty job by some of his colleagues with a view to stopping his promotion.

Several other attempts had been made against this lecturer. However, Dr. Fabunmi did not fall into any of the traps, hence a violent dimension had to be introduced in the case of the four students who attacked and robbed Dr. Fabunmi in July 2008. Their assignment was to set him up in sexual harassment plot. However, the project was mismanaged as he was lured to a private residential house where he was allegedly abducted at gun point, molested sexually and robbed. He was given severe instruction not to tell or report to anyone.

The armed hoodlums that were hired for the job ended up robbing Dr. Fabunmi when he was lured to a private residential house near where he had parked his car on 14 th. July, 2008. He was molested and stripped naked so as to make it look as if he had harassed the female student sexually. Both the attackers and the professor allegedly cautioned him not to report or tell anybody about the attack.

However, Dr. Fabunmi reported to both the Nigerian Police and the university security service immediately and refused to pay a ransom of N50,000.00 to the bank account of one Kolawole Adesina in Oceanic Bank (Acct No. 088000101771021), latest on Wednesday 16 th July,2008. Dr. Fabunmi was instructed to inform Kolawole of the payment through GSM Number 08029223138 . The attackers were able to evade police arrest for two weeks. The university security services were however able to arrest and hand them over to police.

All the attackers turned out to be students. The students and their parents, we further gathered, have since written letters of apology to Dr. Fabunmi, who is insisting that justice must be done. The attackers confessed that they held meetings with the said professor before and after the attack. This case is still under police investigation.

But, while Dr. Fabunmi was away to London for a two-year LLB Law degree programme, some of his colleagues developed their own version of the case. Searches confirmed that his absence delayed police prosecution of the matter, but he is back to Nigeria now and he is insisting that the case should be charged to court in spite of all forms of harassments and intimidation to stop him from going to court.

While all these were going on and in the course of our investigation, we gathered that the university authority which investigated the matter inintialy and indicted the students who framed up Dr. Fabunmi had made a U-turn and defferred decision on the four students’ (Thelma Uzoma Adoseh, Kolawole Adesina, Peter Ogere and Femi Adesina) whose verdict was “gross misconduct”.

The university graduated them, even though the Nigeria Police notified the university of their involvement in armed robbery . However, nothing was done to the influential professor and the other staffs who allegedly used these students against Dr. Fabunmi. Grapevine information suggests that the professor wants to rush the processing of his retirement as he was not sure of his fate. He was seen playing significant roles in the selection of nominees for the search team that would select candidates for the position of the Vice Chancellor that would soon be vacant, with the view that the next Vice Chancellor would be cover up his excesses.

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