University of Benin Vice-Chancellor Professor Osayuki Godwin Oshodin has continued to wallow in the stench of controversy since his appointment in late 2009.
Over a year ago, the Professor of Health Education and the first Bini man to become the school’s VC was accused of nepotism when he recruited over 50 people including his siblings and extended family members as staff of the university without recourse to law.
One of those the 62 year-old Professor appointed was his immediate elder brother, Gabriel Oshodin, a one-time newspapers agent in Benin who he made the university’s head of exam, an office that was not in existence before then, and placed on a salary of N120,000 monthly.
And now, his procurement of seven brand new Toyota Cars from Elizade Nigeria Ltd for members of the University’s governing council which he bought for N74m is generating controversy.
It was alleged that the vehicles were given to the governing council’s members as a mark of gratitude for their supports of the VC’s recent sack of some members of staff contrary to extant rules of the institution.
Sources say that the University’s Director of Works recently took delivery of the vehicles which includes 2 Toyota Prado Jeeps, 3 Toyota Camry and 3 Toyota Avensis cars valued at N30.3m, N31.3m and N12.2m respectively, courtesy the VC.
However, it was gathered the exotic cars, which were bought for official use are being use otherwise by the beneficiaries.
The sources said, “instead of keeping them in university’s pool, they are now in the private use of Senator Effiong Dickson Bob, the Pro-chancellor and Chairman of the council, and such members as Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN, Mr. Olumuyinwa Akinboro and Mrs. Jamila Ahmed Salik, outside University precincts.”
The purchase of the vehicles has exacerbated the crisis rocking the university as recent calls for the sack of Vice-Chancellor, Professor Osayuki Godwin Oshodin increased.
The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA last week urged the Inspector General of Police in a petition to investigate the above listed members of the University’s governing council, among other allegations, for “complicity in corruption”.
The four members of the governing council who are all lawyers by profession, according to the petitioner, the Deputy Director of the university’s Central Records Unit, CRPU, Kehinde Dokun Samuel have brought, “the image of the legal profession” to disrepute, through, “breach of public trust, betrayal of the oath and ethics of the legal profession, abuse of power and complicity in acts of corruption”.
Mr. Samuel said the quartet’s decision to disobey the directive of the President Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as contained in the white paper of the 2004 2010 Presidential Visitation panel may have to do with the generosity of the VC, “in accommodating the Chairman’s request for employment of his candidates”, as well as the purchase of these vehicles”.
He told the NBA that rather than set necessary machinery in motion to investigate a June 2013 petition with many, “serious allegations raised against the Vice-Chancellor and two council members ( C o n g r e g a t i o n a l R e p r e s e n t a t i v e s ) , in compliance with Section 5 (9) – (11) of the Universities ( M i s c e l l a n e o u s P r o v i s i o n s ) (Amendment) Act 2003, the council met in July 2013, and dismissed the petitioner from services of the university.