By Onyebuchi Sampson
Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court, Abuja has struck out the suit filed by a Non- Governmental Organisation (NGO), Tableland Society on behalf of the Oppressed People (TSFO), challenging the appointment of the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti, Ekiti State (FUOYE) Prof. Abayomi Sunday Fasina.
Claimants in the suit had raised allegations of double salary and manipulation of appointment against the Vice-Chancellor.
In his judgment, Justice Ekwo struck the suit for lacking in merit because the organisation was not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), therefore, stripping it of the required locus standi to challenge Fasina’s appointment.
The judge delared that TSFO lacked the required locus standi to file the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/250/2021.
The judge said TSFO did not only lacked locus, but also failed to establish that it was a legitimate group, which registered with the CAC before engaging in public interest litigation, questioning activities of government’s agencies.
Other respondents in the suit were minister of Education, FUOYE, Chairman FUOYE’s Governing Council, registrar and chairman, National Universities Commission (NUC).
Fasina, who is a Professor of Pedology, was Sub-Dean, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Ekiti State University (EKSU) for two years; Head of Department, Soil Science, EKSU for about 13 years; Director, Directorate of International Programmes, University of Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti (2008-2009); Director, Advancement Centre and Linkage Programmes, Ekiti-State University, Ado-Ekiti, for two years, after which he was elected as Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Ekiti State University. He served in this capacity from 2004-2006 and 2009-2014.
He was later appointed and functioned as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration) of the Federal University Oye-Ekiti, from November 15, 2017.
Fasina defeated 62 others to emerge the VC, but was accused of not deserving the exalted office.
In his preliminary objection to the suit, he argued that the claims of the claimant were false.
Responding to the verdict, FUOYE’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Foluso Ogunmodede, in a statement, said Fasina is an astute international scholar, who was appointed merely by merit.
“The court’s verdict, which struck out the fictitious suit came as a soothing balm and a promising development from the nation’s judiciary.
“Indeed, the University community is still in the euphoria of the jubilation for the good news just as many members of the public are rejoicing with us on the emergence of this befitting judgment.
“The fact that the laudable development enjoyed a wide publicity is equally heart-warming as it is now clear to all and sundry that those who filed the suit in the first place are faceless, jokers, frustrated lot and idle hands merely attempting to waste the precious time of the court,” the statement added.
According to Ogunmodede, the claim by the group that the VC was not qualified to be appointed as VC is a shameful attempt to deliberately spread falsehood, not only to malign the reputable personality of the VC, but also to mislead the court and the public.
The PRO insisted that the Governing Council of the institution confirmed him for the appointment, having examined him and his competence.
He explained that Fasina is a Professor of Pedology in the Faculty of Agriculture in FUOYE, who had held different sensitive positions within the academic community, including being a deputy vice chancellor before his appointment as VC February 11, 2021.
He said: “It would be noted that at each of the three different stages culminating into the final selection and appointment of Prof. Fasina, he had the highest score and result.
“He was the candidate with the best pedigree selected and appointed as FUOYE VC. The foregoing are verifiable claims in Prof. Fasina’s records and are documented by the University.”
On the allegation that the VC was indicted for enjoying double salary, Ogunmodede explained that there was nothing like that as no panel has found him guilty on the issue.
“Truth is that prior to the transfer of Prof. Fasina’s employment from EKSU to FUOYE, he was owed four months’ salary by EKSU and the arrears of the salaries were later paid into his account after he transferred his Service to FUOYE.
“While Prof. Fasina was neither issued any query nor indicted for such misconduct, the enemies of progress erroneously latched on the payment of his salary arrears and deceived petition writers that such amounted to double salary. It should be noted here that the anti-graft agencies, particularly the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) have investigated this allegation and exonerated Prof. Fasina.”