BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
There was confusion at the Osun State Polytechnic, Iree on Thursday morning when the suspended rector of the institution, Tajudeen Odetayo returned to take charge of the school’s administration.
The state government had suspended Odetayo through a letter signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Kehinde Jimoh, on July 24, 2023 for alleged gross misappropriation of funds and abuse of office.
The letter addressed to Odetayo had read, “You are hereby suspended as the Rector of the institution sequel to the strong allegations of financial recklessness, corruption, misappropriation of funds, abuse of office among others.
“You are to proceed on suspension immediately while investigations into the allegations levelled against you commence soon.
“This is to communicate the approval of the Executive Governor of Osun State, His Excellency, Senator Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke, to appoint Mr. Alabi Kehinde Adeyemi as the Acting Rector of the institution. Mr. Alabi Kehinde Adeyemi will take over from Dr. T.A. Odetayo who is being investigated over the allegations of financial recklessness, corruption and misappropriation of funds and abuse of office.
“The erstwhile Rector should step aside pending the time the allegations against him are properly investigated by relevant bodies. The appointment of the Acting Rector takes immediate effect.”
Dissatisfied, Odetayo approached the Lagos Division of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria recently with an ex parte motion challenging what he described as his “illegal suspension.”
In the motion, Odetayo had prayed for an order of interim injunction restraining the defendants/respondents (Governor Ademola Adeleke and others) from giving effect to the letter of suspension dated 11th July 2023 and letter of query dated 1st August 2023 given to him.
Delivering ruling on the motion, Justice Opeloye Ogunbowale granted an interim order restraining Governor Adeleke and 14 others from appointing a rector for the polytechnic.
Justice Ogunbowale also ordered Adeleke and other respondents to stay further action on the institution, pending hearing of the motion on notice slated for October 10, 2023.
The judge had directed that a hearing notice be issued to all respondents before the next adjourned date.
Apparently acting upon the court order, Odetayo resumed back to office amidst mixed feelings from workers.
While some workers jubilated upon sighting Odetayo who arrived the campus around 8:00 am, others were shocked to have two rector’s overseeing the school.
Meanwhile, some workers of the school who confided in The Point claimed the development has caused uneasy calm in the institution and alleged that Odetayo went into the rector’s office to dislodge Alabi, the acting rector who was said to be on his way to the office when Odetayo took over.
The sources said academic activities were disrupted owing to the development.
When contacted, the spokesperson of the institution, Tope Abiola confirmed the situation and appealed for calm.
“The acting rector appeals for peace and students should be calm. He said the state government is looking into the situation and will get stay of execution in court,” Abiola told The Point in an interview.