By Tajudeen Adebanjo and Damola Kola-Dare
Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo is set to appoint a new vice chancellor, following the submission of three names of successful candidates to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu after an interview by the Governing Council.
The current Vice Chancellor, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, leaves office next month.
The Nation learnt that five candidates were interviewed on December 21 by a seven-man joint council and Senate selection committee.
They are former acting vice chancellor Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, incumbent Director of the university’s Research and Innovation Unit Prof. Olumuyiwa Odusanya and former chairperson of the university’s branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Prof. Kabir Akinyemi.
The other two candidates are a former deputy vice chancellor, Prof. Sena Bakre and Omotayo Awofolu from the Namibia University of Science and Technology.
The trio of Odusanya, Bakre and Akinyemi were the nominees reportedly presented to the governor through his Special Adviser on Education (SAE), Tokunbo Wahab.
Four other candidates applied for the position, but were screened out for allegedly failing to meet the requirements. They are a former vice chancellor of Crescent University, Abeokuta, Sherifdeen Tella; LASU’s immediate past deputy vice chancellor in charge of academics Olumuyiwa Noah; Aderemi Oki from Prairie View A&M University, Texas, United States of America and Hakeem Tijani from National Open University.
The Selection Committee members, who represented the Senate, included professors Barakat Animashaun, Olatunde Owolabi and the Dean of Faculty of Business Administration, Babatunde Yusuff.
Representatives of the Governing Council in the committee included the incoming Managing Director of MTN in Nigeria, Karl Toriola; a lawyer, Anu Eso and the council’s chairman, Adebayo Ninalowo, who is also the chairman of the committee.
A Lagos chief, Kehinde Dawodu-Avoseh, has dismissed an allegation that Prof Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello is not qualified to be appointed as the Vice Chancellor of LASU.
According to him, Olatunji-Bello is a Lagosian, considering her mother’s lineage.
Dawodu-Avoseh, the Akogun Ota Awori kingdom, at a briefing on Lagos Island yesterday, said those saying she is not from Lagos are out to tarnish her image.
Setting the record straight, Chief Dawodu-Avoseh said: “Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello is an indigene of Lagos State. Her mother is from the Abraham Onigbanjo family of Olowogbowo area, Ita Kose of Lagos Island. Her maternal grandfather, Abraham Babatunde, was a mechanical engineer with the Nigerian Railways Corporation (NRC), while her great grandfather, Abraham Onigbanjo, was an auctioneer.
“The indigenes of Lagos Island are known for one thing, the offspring of a female child within the family have enormous equal rights as the offspring of a male child. This accounts for reasons that several offspring of female children in Lagos often grow to become kings and royal chiefs of their communities. A case in point is the offspring of Princess Erelu Kuti, whose son, Ologunkutere, became the fourth Oba of Lagos upon which the line of succession of Obaship of Lagos continues till today. A recent example is the current Oba of Iru Kingdom, who became king as a result of his ancestral links with Iruland from his maternal side.
“Ibiyemi has always been proud to be associated with her maternal heritage where she has lived all her life, and contributed immensely to the growth and development of the state. One then may begin to wonder why some elements doubt her Lagos heritage, even when that was not a basic criterion for the appointment of the ninth Vice Chancellor of LASU.
“Based on the above, Prof Olatunji-Bello is eminently qualified for the office of the Vice Chancellor of Lagos State University, having ticked all the boxes as specified in the requirements advertised for the position. She has a PhD in Physiology and possesses well above the required 10 years’ experience as a professor. The weak effort to question her heritage as a Lagosian appears to stem from the realisation in some quarters that she is the only one on the shortlist, whose credentials meet the stipulated requirements.”
According to him, Prof Olatunji-Bello in her brief stint as acting vice chancellor of Lagos State University demonstrated that she is an institution builder, a good motivator of the workforce and a leader who possesses an in-depth understanding of a dynamic work environment.