MASERU — Former National University of Lesotho (NUL) vice-chancellor and prominent academic Professor Adelani Ogunrinade is in a critical condition in a Bloemfontein hospital after he collapsed in Roma last Saturday.
Ogunrinade was fired in February but is challenging the NUL council’s decision to dismiss him in the courts as he seeks to win back his job at the Roma campus.
He is still staying at his official residence in Roma while waiting for the courts to finalise his case.
The Lesotho Times can reveal that Ogunrinade collapsed at his official residence at NUL on Saturday afternoon.
Ogunrinade, 56, is in the intensive care unit at Medi-Clinic in Bloemfontein where he was admitted on Sunday afternoon.
He was discovered, around 4pm, semi-conscious in his bathroom by his security guard who had noticed that the front door to his house had remained open for a long time and that the lights had remained on since morning.
Ogunrinade’s family lives in Johannesburg.
A university official who refused to be named said Ogunrinade, a diabetic patient, was rushed to the nearby St Joseph’s Hospital by the university management.
“Doctors at the hospital said his sugar levels were very high and there was also a kidney problem,” the official said.
He said the hospital transferred him to Maseru Private Hospital because St Joseph’s did not have insulin, a drug used by diabetic people to regulate blood sugar levels.
He said at Maseru Private Hospital, Ogunrinade was seen by one Dr Jonson, a Nigerian doctor working for the American Peace Corps, who recommended that he be transferred to Medi-Clinic in Bloemfontein.
The official said the university management accompanied him to the Free State clinic.
“He is in intensive care and he is also on dialysis for the kidney problem,” the official said.
The doctors said he also had an infection, he added.
“They (doctors) have told us that he is stabilising,” said the official, adding that Ogunrinade’s family was now with him at the hospital.
Ogunrinade was staying at his official residence in Roma while waiting for the courts to finalise his case in which he is challenging the NUL council’s decision to dismiss.
He was dismissed in February on 14 charges which include false per diem claims, taking leave without authorisation and misappropriation of funds.
Meanwhile the High Court this week postponed the hearing of Ogunrinade’s application to May 17.
Justice ‘Maseforo Mahase postponed the case after NUL’s and the disciplinary committee’s legal representative PJ Advocate Loubser told the court that he had not submitted his heads of argument.
Justice Mahase gave Loubser until April 17 to file the heads of argument.
Loubser apologised to the court for having omitted to write the name of the case when it was communicated to him.
“I was not sure whether it was a wrong matter,” he said, in reply to the judge who had asked why the matter should be postponed.
“I am not sure whether it was an erroneous matter that I made.
“My apologies for inconveniencing the court,”
Advocate Motiea Teele, who was representing Ogunrinade, did not raise any objection.
In his court papers, Ogunrinade has also cited the Minister of Education and the Attorney-General as the third and fourth respondents.
Ogunrinade says the NUL council’s disciplinary committee did not have the power to suspend him.
He said the purported disciplinary hearing violated the University Act in that the disciplinary code and procedure on which it was based has never been enacted into a statute of the university in terms of law to become operational.
“It was never dealt with in terms of section 48 (4) of the National University Act 19 of 1992 as amended,” the applicant states in his papers.
He also states that the “charges preferred against me are based on the authority of the council pursuant to the powers conferred in terms of section 49 of the Act whereas the said section does not confer any authority on the council over the vice-chancellor in respect of matters mentioned therein”.
He contends that the “power to discipline reposes in the authority that has the power to terminate my appointment and it is not the council”.