By Teddy Nwanunobi
Abuja (Sundiata Post) — Following an alleged libelous publication by The Nation newspaper against him, Dr. Abdulkarim Oloyede, a son of the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, has demanded for a retraction of the story and a public apology by the newspaper, or face him in the courtroom.
The Nation had, on Thursday, March 16, 2017, published an article entitled: “Exposed: How corruption, favouritism thrives in UNILORIN (III)” on page 29 by Adekunle Yusuf.
In that article, The Nation had alleged that shortly, after Prof. Oloyede left office, it was uncovered that he granted an award of N22 million to two members of staff, who are alleged to be his relations before he left office in 2012.
But Oloyede, in a letter to the Editor of The Nation, said that the story, in which his father was also mentioned, casts aspersion on his person.
However, on the aspect in which Prof. Oloyede was mentioned, Dr. Oloyede said that his father was capable of defending himself, and will do so at the right time.
The two persons said to have benefitted from the award were Dr. Oloyede, an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Telecommunication Science, and Fatihah Adeyinka Odumosu (nee Oloyede) of the Department of Physiology.
Dr. Oloyede was reported by the newspaper as having pocketed N17 million, while Odumosu got N5 million
However, Dr. Oloyede said the only time he got a scholarship from the school at any time was based on his being qualified and adjudged fit for the study.
He said his academic records are enough to confirm his competency and that his father was not even a part of the team that approved his undergoing the course.
Dr. Oloyede, who listed some of his achievements as a scholar, therefore demanded for apology from The Nation.
He wants a story of equal prominence published by the newspaper and a letter of apology sent to him.
Dr. Oloyede’s letter to The Nation is reproduced here in full:
LIBELOUS PUBLICATION AGAINST MY PERSON: DEMAND FOR RETRACTION AND PUBLIC APOLOGY
I read a publication entitled “Exposed: How corruption, favouritism thrives in UNILORIN (III)” published in The Nation newspaper of Thursday, March 16, 2017 on page 29 in which one Mr Adekunle Yusuf wrote the following about my person:
“Shortly after Prof. Ishaq Oloyede left office, his administration was accused of speedily granting an award of N22 million to two members of staff who are alleged to be his relations before he left office in 2012. One of them is his son, Ayopo Oloyede Abdulkarim, an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Telecommunication Science. The second beneficiary is Mrs Fatihah Adeyinka Odumosu (nee Oloyede) of the Department of Physiology. Records showed N17 million went into the pocket of Ayopo Oloyede and
N5 million to Mrs Odumosu. At the time, a group known as the University of Ilorin Stakeholders Forum (USF), which called for the probe of the awards, insisted that the awards were illegally granted, alleging that it was nepotism since Ayopo is the biological child of the former VC while second beneficiary was alleged to be his distant cousin.
“It was also alleged that by the time Ayopo requested for the favour, via a letter dated February 22, 2012, he was yet to be a staff (sic) of the university. The young Oloyede was only given his letter of appointment on June 28, 2012 vide a letter reference number UIL/SSE/PF/5023. It was signed by Oyeyemi, then registrar. Barely two months later, precisely on August 24, 2012, the university granted the request, vide a letter signed by Adegoke. His father was to justify the speedy approval and disbursement to the awardees, saying nothing was done outside rubric of due process.”
This publication was targeted at maligning my image, reputation and standing as the claims therein are outright lies, mischievous misrepresentations and to say the least a calculated attempt to tarnish my reputation and hard-earned integrity as a young academic. The said publication has caused me great embarrassment among my friends, students (both in the UK and in Nigeria), colleagues and associates as he portrayed me as a cheat, a person lacking in the culture of due process, a product of nepotism and an unworthy person always currying favour to achieve goals. These are characterizations that do not represent me or what I stand for.
Let me put it on record that at no time did I request for, enjoy or benefit from any form of scholarship from the University of Ilorin before, during or after my father’s Vice Chancellorship either in the sum of N17 million as alleged or any sum at all. It is noteworthy that the acceleration policy of the University of Ilorin on instant release for postgraduate studies had been in place long before I joined the services of the University of Ilorin. The Staff Development Award has been a long-standing policy that an academic staff member that wants to pursue a postgraduate programme will be given the opportunity for salary supplementation after the signing of a bond, irrespective of the length of time long he/she has been in the system. Mine cannot be an exception simply because my name is Oloyede and my father was the Vice Chancellor at the relevant time. I did not receive from the University or through the University of Ilorin any amount beyond my salary which was a provision enjoyed by all my colleagues before, during and after my PhD period as outlined in sections 7.10.1, 7.10.2 & 7.10.6 of the conditions of service for Senior Staff of the University. Section 7.10.2 specifically excludes academic staff among whom I am from the mandatory one year service to the University before proceeding on further studies. Section 7.10.2 states that “only members of staff who have been in the service of the university for a minimum period of one year in the case of Administrative and Professional staff on the recommendation of the Head of Department, Dean and Provost (where applicable) may be considered for staff development”. There are lots of such awardees who are academic staff in the University of Ilorin. If Mr Yusuf was diligent in investigative journalism as he wants the members of the public to believe, he would have discovered this instead of the blatant lies that your newspaper allowed for publication against my person.
My appointment at the University of Ilorin was sequel to a response to the advertisement by the University of Ilorin which was made open to all Nigerians, published on the 7th of May 2012 in many newspapers including the one that is now the platform of character assassination. I was shortlisted, interviewed and found appointable in accordance with laid down procedure. My father was not present nor did he participate in the process of my assessment. It is not unlikely that it was because I was an applicant that he delegated the evaluation process to the leadership of the Faculty to which I applied. In fact, I later got to know that I was adjudged to be either the best or the second best of those eventually appointed among the few applicants. I wonder whether being the son of Prof. Is-haq Oloyede should deny me my right as a citizen of Nigeria to seek employment in the University of Ilorin when I am qualified for same.
Indeed, my father needed not to be part of my interview process because he had empowered me with what is required to shine without his influence. In faraway UK, at the University of York, I was one of the representatives of the students in the University Senate and the University (Governing) Council among many other committees. I was also privileged to be a member of the panel that interviewed and appointed the current Vice Chancellor of the University of York when I was under the age of 30 years. If this feat had been achieved at the University of Ilorin, the journalism of character assassination by Mr. Yusuf would have been at work. By the grace of God, I am a holder of Ph.D. degree from one of the most prestigious Universities in the world, University of York, United Kingdom, in an area that is novel, Telecommunications Engineering, and I have been contributing my quota to the development of Nigeria.
I designed and constructed the transmitter that Unilorin FM used for the first two years of its inception at no cost to the University of Ilorin. The construction of the transmitter was a personal challenge from my father after my first degree in Electrical Engineering. I only required about Fifteen thousand Naira (N15,000) for the electronic materials used in the construction of the transmitter, and this was personally paid for by my father. After demonstrating the capability of the constructed transmitter to him, he gave it out to the University committee that was saddled with the responsibility of setting up a radio station for the University free of charge. The then Director General of Nigerian Broadcasting Cooperation (NBC) was impressed with the transmitter and commended such ingenuity. Shortly afterwards, the Electrical Engineering Department was scouting to employ me as I was approached on a number of occasions. I politely rejected the offer because I was only interested in pursuing a Master and Ph.D. degrees at that time. His so-called investigative journalism is clearly not interested in numerous cases like this just because of his and your newspaper’s ulterior motives.
I am sure that at my father’s choice of time, he would respond to the concoctions heaped against him. I am sure that at this period in time, he does not want to be mischievously distracted from his ongoing critical national assignment. Anybody who knows him, knows that he would definitely respond at the appropriate time. He is more than capable of defending his hard-earned integrity which your newspaper has also maligned.
I hereby demand a retraction of the said malicious publication within seven (7) days of this letter and same should be given the kind of visibility as your write up under reference. I also demand form you a letter of apology to me and publish same in your newspaper.