Dr Akinola Olaolu, the acting rector, Igbajo Polytechnic, Igbajo, Osun state, has come under attack following claims that his doctorate is being called into question. This is coming after workers of the institution claimed that there was nothing to suggest that he had a PhD, The Punch reports.
NAIJ.com gathered that Olaolu had claimed that he obtained a Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Economics at the University of Ibadan, Oyo state, but not a few people at the school had faulted the claim.
Olaolu, who took over the helms of affair at the school in 2016, allegedly said he was awarded the PhD in 2003 by the Postgraduate School, University of Ibadan.
A notification of the higher degree result, which he reportedly submitted to get the job, showed his matriculation number as SI. 39561 and was signed by one Mrs T.F. Oladiti for the deputy registrar/secretary of the institution.
The notification read: “I have the pleasure of informing you that on the recommendation of the Faculty of the Social Sciences, Postgraduate Committee and the Board of the Postgraduate School, the Senate has approved the recommendation of the examiners that the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) of this university be conferred on you. The effective date of the award is November 26, 2003. On behalf of the vice-chancellor, I congratulate you on your success in the examination.”
The document which was confirmed as Olaolu’s document by a former registrar of the polytechnic, Bisi Odebunmi, was the only evidence that the acting rector, presented, as he explained that he had not been issued a certificate by the University of Ibadan more than 13 years after he graduated.
A copy was sent to UI for verification and after about two weeks, Olatunji Oladejo, the director, public communications, University of Ibadan, disclaimed the result, saying there was no record of it at the varsity.
He said:“The university has thoroughly investigated the matter and our findings are presented as follows: that the name, Mr. Olaolu Akinola Olugbenga, which you sent to me to work on, does not exist in the database of the university.
“The matriculation number, 39561, purportedly allocated to Mr Olaolu Akinola Olugbenga, could not be verified. The signature in the notification of result presented to the university for verification was misrepresented. The name, Olaolu Akinola Olugbenga, could not be found in the thesis bank of the Department of Economics, formerly under the Faculty of Social Sciences, now under the Faculty of Economics.
“Students of the university have registration files opened for them after being offered provisional admission. There is no record of his studentship with the university. In order words, he did not obtain his PhD from the university; there were a lot of discrepancies.”
Olaolu was employed in Igbajo Polytechnic in December 2015 as a deputy rector to the former rector, Tanimowo Oke. His appointment letter, dated December 17, 2015, was signed by the chairman, Governing Council, Prof. Olu Odeyemi, mandated Olaolu to present his original certificate. However, Olaolu was reported to have resumed without presenting the certificate.
On August 23, 2016, more than eight months after he was issued the offer letter, the school management reportedly wrote him a reminder on the subject.
The letter, signed by the then registrar, Odebunmi, stated: “Kindly present the originals and photocopies of your credentials as directed in your appointment letter of December 17, 2015, by the governing council. This process is necessary to update your records.”
Odebunmi, said Olaolu did not reply the letter till he left the system.
He said: “When he resumed, he presented just the notification of result. Later, I wrote a letter to him to present his certificates. He did not respond till I left the system.”
The school governing body was alleged to have rebuffed calls to investigate the issue until in 2017. The school management was said to have set up a four man committee, headed by one E. O. Ojekunle, in September 2017.
Records showed that the panel was asked to investigate the contention over Olaolu’s doctorate and alleged sexual harassment, among others. The records showed that he was cleared of the sexual harassment allegation.
However, on the certificate, the committee said the rector claimed not to have any original certificates of both his first and second degrees.
At the second meeting of the committee on October 30, 2017, Olaolu was reported to have come up with more excuses on why he could not produce his evidence of payment for processing of his PhD certificate, including the claim that his scripts had been moved to UI’s library’s archive.
When also asked to present his first and second certificates for sighting, he was said to have presented only notification of results.
A source at the University of Ibadan said the institution received a letter of enquiry on the matter from the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission.
She said the enquiries had been “formally” replied to, adding that the UI denied Olaolu’s certificate.
It was learnt that Prof. Oyejide, whom the rector claimed supervised his thesis, had retired from the school.
The second alleged supervisor, Prof. Ariyo, said checks of files of PhD students in the department did not show the rector’s name.
He said: “We have searched our records; we can’t find the matriculation number or the name. And I don’t know anybody by that name in the department. It cannot be correct that I co-supervised a thesis with Prof. Ademola Oyejide in 2003; the last time I was on the same committee with Prof. Oyejide was in 1998.”
In a previous report by NAIJ.com, the congress of university academics at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun state, and the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) have called for a thorough investigation into the case of Professor Richard Akindele, the lecturer who allegedly demanded gratification from his student for marks.
The congress remarked that Akindele, if found guilty of the claims against him, will be unfit to remain in the academic space, the Punch reports.
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