The Rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Ede, in Osun State, John Adekolawole, was suspended in 1995 for sexual harassment, years before he became the Rector, a document obtained exclusively by PREMIUM TIMES reveals.
Despite the indictment, however, the academic still emerged the rector of the same polytechnic 22 years after, with the education ministry saying it had no knowledge of the 1995 suspension.
Mr. Adekolawole was suspended for allegedly sexually harassing a woman in his office while he was the Director of School of Applied Science and Head of Department of Science Laboratory Technology.
The then registrar of the institution, F. C. Mordi, communicated Mr Adekolawole’s sanction for “gross misconduct” through a letter dated November 1, 1995.
During that period, Mr Adekolawole was known on campus as John Edaogbogun until 2010 when he changed his name to John Adekolawole.
Mr. Adekolawole confirmed his suspension for sexual harassment in 1995 and also confirmed changing his name when PREMIUM TIMES confronted him with our findings.
According to the letter, Mr. Adekolawole was suspended for two months without payment and was also removed from his positions.
“Consequent upon a case of gross misconduct in which you were involved, I write to inform you that the management has closely studied your defence as decided as follows:
i) Suspension for two (2) months without a pay with effect from 1st November, 1995.
ii) removal from the Directorship and Headship of the School of Applied Science and Department of Science Laboratory Technology respectively, with immediate effect,” part of his suspension letter read.
“You are seriously warned to desist from any such act of gross misconduct in future, as any slightest information about such misdemeanor will attract severe disciplinary action against you. This is your last warning.
“You are to hand over all relevant documents and property of the school and the department respectively as well as all the scripts in the department to A. A. Adebesin with immediate effect. The handing over should be in the presence of the deputy rector,” the suspension letter issued to him then read.
Sources in the polytechnic disclosed that the suspension letter was later removed from the rector’s file.
“It was in 2010 when he changed his name that he looked for means to remove the suspension letter from his file so as not to serve as hindrance to his career ambition,” a source at the institution said.
Mr. Adekolawole did not deny the suspension when contacted by PREMIUM TIMES. He, however, said the suspension was to save him from being assassinated.
“The suspension you were talking about was arranged by the polytechnic then to save me from being assassinated. As the Director of the School of Applied Science then, I was one of the top people dealing with corruption, so some people then made arrangements, lied against me that I was involved in sexual misconduct.
“When I got the letter then, I went straight to the registrar who told me they purposely wrote the letter so the people pressuring them to deal with me will be deceived.”
Asked why he did not appeal the suspension, he simply said “I was only suspended on paper. These people are bringing up all those issues now because they want to remove me as rector and they cannot remove me because God puts me there.”
He also confirmed changing his name and the removal of the suspension letter from his records with the polytechnic.
“I changed my name in 2010 after my Ph.D and it was because a prophetess called from Abuja that I should drop Edaogbogun for Adekolawole. The two names are mine but I just chose to change from Edaogbogun which is my father’s name to my own name, Adekolawole. The document was removed from my file after it was discovered that I did no wrong”.
Asked how it was removed, he simply said “by the authority of course. See, I don’t want us to go back to this.”
Dr Adekolawole was appointed the rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Ede, in December 2017 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He obtained his BSc Engineering Physics in 1982; MSc Engineering Physics in 1990; MPhil (Physics) in 2007; and PhD (Physics) in 2010.
He joined the service of the Federal Polytechnic, Ede in 1993 and served in various capacities in the institution before his appointment as the Rector.
Dr Adekolawole is, however, enmeshed in a fresh crisis as the academic board of the institution passed a vote of no confidence on him on Monday. The board, headed by the Rector, has reportedly sent its resolution to the education minister, calling for Mr Adekolawole’s suspension, after accusing him of maladministration.
The polytechnic currently has no governing council which has the constitutional power to ask the president to remove the rector.
Dr Adekolawole has, however, denied any wrongdoing.
When contacted on why Mr Adekolawole was appointed despite the earlier indictment, the spokesperson of the federal ministry of education, Ben-Bem Goong, said the ministry was not aware of the earlier indictment.
“Nobody has complained about this to the ministry. The due process is that they (those who detect the wrongdoing) will write to the ministry, complaining of his sin and the ministry will take the necessary step to discipline the man if he is found wanting.
“It is not enough for people to sit somewhere and start creating crisis. I have not said the man has not done anything but let due process be followed. The government is not aware of the 1995 matter and if members of the academia have anything against him, they should complain to the ministry formally. Once it comes to our knowledge, we will set up an investigation,” he said.
The two spokespersons for President Buhari, Garba Shehu and Femi Adesina, did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES enquiry on whether or not the president was briefed about the earlier indictment before the 2017 appointment.