A US- based Nigerian, Mr.Toyin Dawodu, believes his advocacy to the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, and University of Lagos paved the way for the new convocation date of June 30th to July 9th, 2021, set by the school.
Dawodu had demanded that the University of Lagos (UNILAG), immediately issues certificates to its long standing graduates since 2019.
“This is Victory for Public Interest Advocacy!” declared his lawyer, Barr. Frank Tietie, the Executive Director of the Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER) ,in a statement in Abuja.
Tietie states further: “It would be recalled that Toyin Dawodu caused his lawyers of Forthright Chambers, Abuja to lodge a complaint with the Hon. Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu on the 6th of April, 2021, wherein he demanded on behalf of the 2019 graduates of the university, especially graduates of the College of Medicine, that the institution immediately conducts a Convocation Ceremony and/or issue certificates immediately to the said graduates to enable them to fully pursue their individual career development.
“Mr. Dawodu, not being satisfied with the lack of response from the Federal Ministry of Education, further caused his lawyers to visit the University of Lagos on the 20th of April, 2021, where his legal representative, Frank Tietie met the Oladejo Azeez, the Registrar and Secretary to Council of the University of Lagos and submitted a formal complaint with an oral application, demanding for the immediate conduct of a Convocation Ceremony and/or issuance certificates to the 2019 graduates of the university or face a public interest lawsuit within seven (7) days of service of the Complaint.
“The highpoint of the advocacy and intended public interest litigation on behalf of the 2019 graduates of UNILAG was a Joint Press Briefing by Toyin Dawodu (via Zoom from Riverside, California, USA) and his counsel, Frank Tietie, Esq (in Abuja, Nigeria) which held on the 22nd of April, 2021 to address a cross section of the Nigerian press, on the need to put pressure on the authorities of the Federal Ministry of Education and the Council of University of Lagos to ensure the immediate conduct of a Convocation Ceremony and/or issuance certificates to the 2019 graduates of the University of Lagos.
“Mr. Dawodu is happy with the recent declaration of the University of Lagos to now hold the Convocation on a definite date following the intense pressure mounted on it by the Nigerian press. Particularly, Mr. Dawodu commends and expresses appreciation to following media houses:
“News Agency of Nigeria
Daily Independent Newspaper
Nigerian Pilot Newspaper
Daily Trust Newspaper
Nigeria Info 95.1 FM
Hot 98.3 FM
CNA News TV
“The above media houses gave wide and consistent reportage on the need for the authorities of the University of Lagos to urgently conduct of a Convocation Ceremony and/or issuance of certificates to the 2019 graduates of the university.
“Mr. Dawodu maintains that he initiated the campaign/advocacy and intended public interest litigation on behalf of the 2019 graduates of the university of Lagos, especially graduates of the College of Medicine because he became aware of their plight, deprivations and sufferings resulting from the delay in the issuance of the certificates yet, they couldn’t complain publicly out of fear of victimization. He wondered why the graduates of the university should unnecessarily suffer as a result of the needless feud between the Babalakin-led Council and the Management of the University of Lagos.
“Mr. Dawodu further urges other Nigerian universities and tertiary institutions to desist from the untoward practice of delaying the issuance of certificates to graduates but they should follow the example of the Council of Legal Education (The Nigerian Law School) which is known to always issue high grade and security standard certificates, immediately to its graduates to enable them to be called to the Nigerian Bar, every year, by the Nigerian Body of Benchers.
“In conclusion, Mr. Dawodu restates that as Nigerian by origin, though living in diaspora, he loves Nigeria and all its peoples and as such, he will continue to bring attention to, and ensure the need for public institutions in Nigeria to operate according to the standards set by law, in order to offer proper and better public service to the Nigerian people.”