Three names of successful candidates for the 9th vice chancellorship of the Lagos State University, LASU, have been submitted by the governing council of the institution to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for a possible appointment.
This followed the result of the interview conducted for five candidates by a seven-member joint council and senate selection committee.
Members of the selection committee included three professors, who were drawn across various departments of LASU to represent the university’s Senate; and they are Barakat Animashaun, Olatunde Owolabi and Babatunde Yusuff, who is the incumbent Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration of the varsity.
Those who represented the governing council on the committee include the incoming managing director of MTN in Nigeria, Karl Toriola; a lawyer and managing partner of AEC Legal, a law firm, Anu Eso, and an unnamed female member of the governing council, while the council’s chairman, Adebayo Ninalowo, doubles as the chairman of the committee.
The interview, conducted on December 21, was attended by a professor of Physiology and the incumbent Director of the university’s Directorate of Advancement of the Vice-Chancellor’s Office, Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello; a professor of Public Health and incumbent Director of the university’s Research and Innovation Unit, Olumuyiwa Odusanya, and a former chairperson of the university’s branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, who was later appointed Dean of Students’ Affairs, Kabir Akinyemi.
The other two candidates who took part in the interview are: a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor and professor of Food and Industrial Microbiology, Sena Bakre, and Omotayo Awofolu from the Namibia University of Science and Technology.
Four other applicants for the position, including a former Vice-Chancellor of Crescent University, Abeokuta, Sherifdeen Tella; LASU’s immediate past Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academics, Olumuyiwa Noah; Aderemi Oki from Prairie View A&M University, Texas, United States of America, and Hakeem Tijani from National Open University, had earlier been screened out for their alleged failure to meet the requirements set for the applicants.
Those who made the final trio include: Odusanya, Bakre and Akinyemi and were presented to Governor Sanwo-Olu through his Special Adviser on Education, Tokunbo Wahab.
A competent government source privy to the screening, who pleaded anonymity, revealed that while Odusanya scored 90 per cent to rank first, Bakre came second with 72.5 per cent. Akinyemi, who ranked third on the list, scored 68.8 per cent.
Trailing Akinyemi was Olatunji-Bello, who is vying for the office for the third time, with 68 per cent, while Awofolu, with 65 per cent ranked fifth.
The source added, “The list has been forwarded to the SAE and I’m aware he already received it via a courier service on Tuesday morning. The young man, I mean the SAE ran away from Lagos over this thing because the pressure was very much. So, the list had to be ferried to him in London, where he is presently.”
Recall that the selection process for a successor to the incumbent Vice-Chancellor, Olanrewaju Fagbohun, billed to complete his five-year single term of office on January 11, has been trailed by controversies.
Mr. Fagbohun, a professor of Law and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, resumed as the university’s 8th substantive VC on January 11, 2016, after his predecessor, Oladapo Obafunwa, was chased out of the university’s main campus in Ojo, more than eight months to the expiration of his tenure by protesting workers.
Fagbohuns tenure was also characterised by rancour, especially between LASU management and the leadership of ASUU.
However, during his tenure as VC, LASU was ranked Nigeria’s second best university in the 2020 Times Higher Education, THE, World University Rankings.
Meanwhile, there have been accusations and counter-accusations among stakeholders on who is in the best position to take the baton from Fagbohun, as his tenure winds down,
This is just as both the Lagos State government and the varsity management have decided not to speak on the processes, saying such comments would be detrimental to the selection process.
Meanwhile, the SA on Education, Wahab, in a telephone chat said that it is not in his character to speak to the press on a matter that is yet to be concluded, but noted that the best decision would be made on behalf of the people of the state.
He therefore cautioned stakeholders to always verify information available to them before airing their views, saying their position could affect the whole process.
He said, “One thing I know for sure is that the governor would not be swayed by sentiments and the undue noise. We experienced the same over the appointment of rector for the Lagos State Polytechnic, but he stuck with the best. So the best decision would be taken on this as well.”
In similar vein, the outgoing VC has also refused to speak on the matter, insisting that God had been gracious to him in the last five years of his administration, and would not want to stretch his luck too far.
Fagbohun said that his prayer was that the best should be selected for the university, noting that all the shortlisted candidates are eminently qualified “but the selection committee is better equipped to do justice.”