OSPOLY Saga: Suspended Rector, Odetayo resumes after court ruling

The suspended Rector of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, Dr Tajudeen Odetayo, on Thursday returned to office.

Recall that Odetayo’s suspension was made known by the state government in a letter signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Kehinde Jimoh, on Monday, July 24.

Kehinde Alabi, a lecturer in the institution, was appointed as Acting Rector in his place.

In reaction, the Institution’s chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, suspended academic activities citing that Alabi, who was appointed as acting Rector is not qualify for the position.

The students of the Institution also protested, demanding a resumption of academic activities.

Odetayo, who was suspended for gross misappropriation of funds and abuse of office, approached the Ibadan Division of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria sitting in Lagos last week with an ex parte motion challenging what he described as 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.

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 hold further action on the institution, pending a 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, others were shocked to have two rectors overseeing the school.

Meanwhile, some workers of the school claimed that 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.

Academic activities were disrupted owing to the development.

Confirming the development, the Osun Poly ASUP Chairman, Dr Ezekiel Alabi said that Odetayo’s resumption is accordance with the result of the decision of the National Industrial Court, Ibadan Division, reinstating him as Rector.

“Last week Friday, there was a court pronouncement reinstating Dr Tajudeen Odetayo.

“You know Friday is the last working day of the week by Monday all the 15 parities to the suit were duly served. You know there was national strike on Tuesday and Wednesday. So today, he has resumed back to the office,” he said.

Alabi commended the state governor, Ademola Adeleke, for obeying the court pronouncement.

He also hoped that the state government would toe the rule of law and appear for the notice of hearing that would be held on October 10, 2023.

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 a stay of execution in court”, he concluded.

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