The Senate of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, has elected the deputy vice-chancellor in charge of development services, Folasade Ogunsola, as the institution’s acting vice-chancellor.
She is the first female to be so appointed in the history of the 58-year-old ivory institution.
Mrs Ogunsola, a professor of medical microbiology and first child of Nigeria’s first professor of Geography, Akin Mabogunje, was also the first female provost of the university’s college of medicine, Idi-Araba.
She defeated her opponent and a deputy vice-chancellor in charge of management services, Ben Oghojafor, with a wide margin. She scored 135 votes as against Oghojafor’s 31 among the senate members.
A total of 167 professors were accredited for voting while one vote was voided.
The senate meeting held today was in compliance with the instruction given by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Buhari, who acted in his capacity as the institution’s visitor, had also set up a seven-member visitation panel to look into the crisis rocking the university.
In a statement issued on Friday to announce the president’s recommendations, the director of press at the federal ministry of education, Ben Goong, noted that the panel would be inaugurated by the minister, Adamu Adamu, on Wednesday.
Ahead of the panel’s inauguration, the senate was mandated “to immediately convene to nominate an acting vice-chancellor from amongst its members for confirmation by the governing council.”
But a memo by the university’s registrar, Oladejo Azeez, was addressed to the head of the management of the university’s auditorium not to make the venue available for the senate meeting.
A copy of the memo noted that;
“No meeting of senate has been summoned. Members should await proper notice of meeting after the federal government of Nigeria has clarified some issues germane to the meeting.”
“It follows that you are not to make any of your facilities available for any meeting until otherwise advised,” the memo added.
Irked by the development, the senate reportedly sought approval from the national universities commission (NUC) and the federal ministry of education before it commenced the process.
A member of the senate who asked not to be named as he was not authorised to talk to journalists, told our reporter on the phone that; “The meeting started with Professor Ogunsola briefing the Senate that the meeting was convened after due process was followed and that authority was granted by both the NUC and the education ministry.”
The source added that Mrs Ogunsola recused herself from anchoring the meeting and that the leader of the senate’s team to Abuja on Thursday, Chioma Agomo, was validly nominated to chair the meeting.
In her acceptance speech, Mrs Ogunsola, who doubles as the chairperson of Infections Control Africa Network, and member of the Lagos State COVID-19 task force, thanked the professors for entrusting her with what she described as a huge responsibility.
She was quoted as saying; “Electing me the acting vice-chancellor at such time the university is going through so much is a big task. But it is a task for all of us, and I appeal to you to help rewrite the story of this great university for good.”