Suspended: The Osun State Government, in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Education, Hon. Dipo Eluwole, has announced the temporary closure of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree Campus for a period of two weeks. This decision follows the reinstatement of the suspended Rector, Dr. Tajudeen Odetayo.
It is worth noting that the state government had previously suspended Odetayo on July 24, 2023, citing allegations of significant financial misappropriation and misuse of authority. The suspension letter was issued to Odetayo and signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Kehinde Jimoh.
The letter had stated,
“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.”
However, the Rector returned to the Campus, which forced an official announcement shared with journalists in Osogbo, the capital of Osun State.
The statement read,
“This to inform the general public, particularly members of staff and students of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree to proceed on two (2) weeks break, with immediate effect.
“The immediate break is a necessary action in order to maintain peace in the Institution consequent upon the forceful return of the suspended Rector, Dr. T.A. Odetayo.
“The general public should also note that School accounts have been frozen with immediate effect and it is imperative that everyone cooperates fully and adheres to these directives”.
In response to his suspension, Odetayo, expressing dissatisfaction, recently filed an ex parte motion with the Lagos Division of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, challenging what he deemed an “unlawful suspension.” In this motion, Odetayo sought an interim injunction to prevent the defendants/respondents (including Governor Ademola Adeleke and others) from enforcing the suspension letter dated July 11, 2023, and the query letter dated August 1, 2023, directed at him.
Following a ruling on the motion, Justice Opeloye Ogunbowale granted an interim order that restrained Governor Adeleke and 14 others from appointing a new rector for the polytechnic. Justice Ogunbowale also instructed Adeleke and the other respondents to halt any further actions regarding the institution until the scheduled hearing of the motion on notice, which is set for October 10, 2023. The judge ordered that a hearing notice be issued to all respondents before the next adjourned date.
In apparent compliance with the court’s order, Odetayo returned to his office, causing a mixed reaction among the staff. Some employees celebrated his arrival when he came to the campus around 8:00 am, while others were surprised to see two rectors overseeing the school.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kehinde Alabi, who is currently serving as the acting rector, has called upon the members of the Polytechnic Community to stay composed during this period. Alabi emphasized that both the staff and students should not succumb to any form of intimidation but should uphold peace and order.
In a statement personally signed by the Acting Rector, he stated, “I urge you to remain calm and go about your normal duties without any protest.”
He expressed confidence that the government had initiated standard procedures to restore normalcy to the institution.
“The state government is looking into the situation and will get stay of execution in court”.