Vice-Chancellorship ‘War’: UNIOSUN loses bid to stop suit

Court grants 7 professors leave to join NMA to battle UNIOSUN
As UNIOSUN mulls appeal on jurisdiction

The Osun State High Court sitting in Osogbo on Friday rejected an invitation by the Governing Council of Osun State University to throw out, for want of jurisdiction, a suit by the Nigerian Medical Association(NMA) challenging the exclusion of its members from the ongoing Vice-Chancellorship race in the institution.

The affected NMA members are medical lecturers who possess post-graduate fellowship.

The high court which subsequently assumed jurisdiction in the matter also granted leave to seven professors who applied to join in the suit.

Some of the professors who are now co-plaintiffs in the matter are Professor Solomon Fadiora, Professor Caroline Adeoti, Professor Abayomi Folorunso, Professor Siyan Oyeweso, Professor Dayo Akintayo and others.

The Chief Judge of the state, Justice Adepele Ojo, assigned the case to self, perhaps because of its sensitive nature and the kind of interest it has generated.

Blueprint reports that the NMA and a professor of the College of Medicine of the institution, Olutayo Alebiosu had dragged the University before the court on August 28, 2021 to challenge the Governing Council over the advert placed in the national dailies which spelt out the criteria for the coveted job.

Specifically, the advert had, among others, stipulated that anybody who wants to be appointed as Vice-Chancellor of the institution, must possess a doctorate degree.

The doctorate degree clause aggrieved some stakeholders who approached the court to knock it off via court order.

Some professors who were also aggrieved by separate criteria advertised for the institution’s top job formally applied to the court to join in the suit as co-plaintiffs, a request already granted.

Blueprint recalls that earlier in time, certain clause which made the top position an exclusive preserve of few, was contested in the court of public opinion with same removed.

The inability to get the clause on doctorate degree removed in the court of public opinion made the plaintiffs to approach a law court to seek reliefs.

The Chairman of the Governing Council, Mallam Yusuf Ali (SAN) is one of the best lawyers in the country.

Sources said that the University is planning to appeal the court ruling on jurisdiction to the intermediate appellate court.

The issue of jurisdiction is a threshold matter, the decision on which will determine whether the court can peep into the case file for the purpose of deciding the live issues raised on their merits.

In the meantime, the counsel to the plaintiffs, Barr Niyi Akinsola speaking with newsmen after the sitting of the court on Friday explained that the advert excluded the medical lecturers who possess post-graduate fellowship.

“The institution has violated the right of the professors and they have approached the court by instituting a suit against them even as they joined the institution’s Visitor and Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola.

“But the three defendants: the Institution’s Governing Council, the outgoing Vice-Chancellor and the Osun State Governor filed a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court on our matter which was argued last week Friday and the ruling was reserved till today.

“The court declared today that it has jurisdiction to hear and determine the suit today.

“Seven professors want to join the suit we earlier filed and the court granted us our prayer to join the Incorporated Trustees of the Nigerian Medical Association as co-plaintiff.

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