The National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN, has admitted it never made any payment to former President Olusegun Obasanjo for the services he renders to the institution as one of its facilitators.
The university said it was reacting to a story in a national newspaper which reported on Wednesday that the former President earns N40,000 per annum as NOUN lecturer.
The Director of Media and Publicity of the university, Ibrahim Sheme, explained that the story emanated from the press conference the Vice–Chancellor, Prof. Abdalla Uba Adamu, gave on Tuesday, ahead of the 8th Convocation Ceremony of the institution which is coming up this Saturday.
Mr Sheme, quoting the NOUN’s Registrar, Felix I. Edoka, said, “Whilst we remain grateful to all the media houses that give our activities positive coverage, we insist that their news reports should always be accurate and diligent.
“While it is true that the VC had told the gathering of journalists and NOUN staff present at the conference that the University had offered the former President, His Excellency, Chief Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo, PhD, a facilitation appointment, the honorarium mentioned in the newspaper publications is the generic amount the University issues in the appointment letters of all facilitators.
“His Excellency, Chief Obasanjo, in his acceptance letter to the University, however, decided to render his services on a pro bono basis, i.e. free of charge.”
He said the vice chancellor never said at the press conference that Mr Obasanjo had taken or intended to take a kobo as payment or salary for his services.
Mr Sheme said the VC was emphatic about the magnanimity of the former President and elder statesman in offering his valuable time to work for NOUN at its Study Centre in Abeokuta, Ogun State, as a facilitator on a part-time basis and free of charge.
“For the records, therefore, we wish to clarify that His Excellency, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, is offering his services as a facilitator to the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) absolutely free of charge and with no any strings attached.
“Chief Obasanjo told the University that his decision was premised on the fact that he is giving back to the society out of the great bounties God and the University have given him. For this laudable and patriotic gesture of his, we remain immensely indebted to the former President and elder statesman.”
The Registrar expressed the university’s regret over the inconveniences and embarrassment the newspaper publications caused the former vice president.