Dr Akinola Olaolu, the Acting Rector, Igbajo Polytechnic, Igbajo, Osun State, is currently being questioned on his doctorate.
It was alleged that, there were complaints over his style of leadership in the polytechnic, and that his claim to a doctorate is being called into question as workers of the institution claimed that there was nothing to suggest that he had a PhD.
There had been a clash between students of the institution and policemen from the Osun State Police Command, leading to over 20 students being reportedly hospitalised.
Since the clash, which the workers said was an offshoot of the certificate scandal, the scrutiny under which the doctorate’s claim had come, had assumed a life of its own.
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.”
It was gathered that the document was the only evidence that Olaolu presented, as he explained that he had not been issued a certificate by the University of Ibadan more than 13 years after he graduated.
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, 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.
“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,” the letter, signed by the then registrar, Odebunmi, stated.
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 Mr. E. O. Ojekunle, in September 2017.
A 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.
The report said, “He said during his PhD programme, his financier ran into financial challenges which prevented him from being registered for his programme and was as a result not issued a certificate. He affirmed that Prof. Ademola Oyejide and Prof. Ademola Ariyo were his thesis supervisors.
“He added that when this issue came up, the Chairman, Board of Trustees, gave him a sum of N400,000 as loan to defray his financial liabilities and obtain the certificate. He was asked to produce evidence of the payments and he promised to furnish the committee later.
“He asserted that all documentations of his dissertation, including the soft copy, were no longer available. He stressed, however, that the publishers had promised to dismantle the available copy with a view to producing six new copies for him. He added that the vice-chancellor during his studentship had retired, but he had been contacted and promised to do something about the issue.
“Engr. Ojekunle said the committee had records of all graduates of the University of Ibadan from 2000 to 2008, including that of postgraduate schools. The documents were given to the acting rector to go through and locate his name therein for confirmation. The acting rector searched through and told the panel that his name was not there because he did not register at that time. He said his record had yet to be documented because he still owed the university, and that was why he had obtained the N400,000 loan to enable him to effect necessary payment.
“Mr. Igbaroola asked whether the acting rector had been conferred with a PhD degree. The acting rector said no. The committee advised the acting rector to get the records straightened as quickly as possible and affirmed that records obtained from the University of Ibadan did not show that he obtained a doctorate from the institution.
“When the acting rector was asked to present evidence of payment to the University of Ibadan for the processing of his certificates, he responded that he was not with the receipt at that moment but would forward same without delay.
“He was asked to present his credentials and the committee observed that original certificates of both first and second degrees of his academic qualifications were not available but he promised to present them shortly.
“It was highlighted that any certificate he would present should bear official stamp of the university.”
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.
“All evidence available to the committee showed that there is no record of the acting rector’s doctorate degree at the University of Ibadan. The acting rector has no original certificate of his first and second degrees,” the report of the committee read in part.
Olaolu, however, said he had just obtained his PhD certificate from UI, adding that he was ready to present it to the polytechnic.