Dr. Tunji Abayomi is the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA), Ondo State. In this interview with ADEWALE MOMOH, he clears the air on the controversy trailing alleged plans by the state government to relocate the university’s Faculty of Medical Sciences, and why the selection process of the institution’s Vice-Chancellor was suspended by the government
What is your reaction to the alleged relocation of the Adekunle Ajasin University’s Faculty of Medical Sciences to Okeagbe your hometown?
It is not true. The problem is that people; as you know the Bible says that my people perished for lack of knowledge. Rather than searching for knowledge, people make statements on the presumption of knowing, when actually they don’t know.
The greatest danger is to presume you know what you know nothing about and that is deceit, great deceit of the mind of whole lot of our people. Knowledge is available, you won’t find out. They are like people that use the toilet, and the water is there, and they refused to flush because of incompetence of mind.
There is an allegation that an indigene of the town and lawyer alongside the immediate past Vice-Chancellor travelled to the United States in respect of the planned establishment of the Faculty of Medical Sciences and its relocation to Okeagbe your hometown.
Is it not the same document in which he said I travelled to American five times in one year? That means he is talking nonsense. You know he likes to talk; you can’t stop people from talking.
But in the allegation, it was said that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with some foreign partners for the establishment of the Faculty of Medical Sciences, how true is this?
That is true. There is a memorandum of understanding inspired by a successful contact made abroad.
Can you shed more light on the relocation to Okeagbe of the university’s Faculty of Medical Sciences?
The Faculty of Medical Sciences of the university has not been established, if it is established, it will shed light on itself.
Are there plans to procure facilities abroad for the take-off of the faculty?
Does the university have money to buy anything? The university that is struggling to pay salaries, and even struggling to pay the allowances of the council members, the university did not buy anything overseas.
We need clarifications on the inspired MoU because it is being alleged that you refused to give a copy of the document to the committee that was set up for the medical sciences.
Why will they ask me, is it logical, is it not a little bit nonsensical? You claimed that the memorandum of understanding was signed by the Vice-Chancellor and I, and if the Vice-Chancellor signed the memorandum of understanding and he is aware of the document, why will they ask me. They would ask the Vice-Chancellor who is the Chief Executive Officer of the university. I do not run the university; I am only the Chairman of the Governing Council. The university is run by the Vice-Chancellor and if there was a committee that was set up, it was not the committee of council. Why will they come to me, you can see that it lacks logic.
Is Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu as the Visitor to the university aware of all the issues?
You have to ask the governor, but I think the governor as a Visitor will have the knowledge that the laws allow him to have. I follow the law strictly. Whatever the governor is expected to know, he will know according to the law. Whatever the governor is expected to know, he may know them, you can be sure that I always follow the law.
Although, there is an Acting Vice-Chancellor for the university, what is your reaction to the Vice-Chancellor’s selection process that was stalled midway and what is the situation presently?
Well, you have to ask the governor, he is the one that suspended the process in his capacity as the Visitor. My duty as the Chairman of the council is to work out the process of appointing a new Vice-Chancellor, and until the governor stopped the process, I acted strictly. Let me add here that until the governor stopped the process, the University Senate and the Governing Council acted strictly according to law of the university. But, I understand the governor’s position is that he received a petition sent to him by three members of council and he felt obliged to look into the petition. He sent it to me and I sent a reply to him.
Are you in a nutshell saying that there was no plan to relocate Adekunle Ajasin University’s Faculty of Medical Sciences to Okeagbe community?
All I know is that I don’t know of any relocation. Of course, when you say you are relocating, that means something is somewhere and you take it to somewhere else. I don’t know if you understand my position? When you say you relocate, it means that you have established something in one place and you now take it to somewhere else. I am saying that the Faculty of Medical Sciences has not been located in Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, so you cannot talk of any relocation. I am saying that with emphasis, you cannot relocate what has not been located.