Professor Folasade Ogunsola has been elected the acting Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos after her peers gave her a sweeping landslide in a lop-sided contest against Ben Oghojafor, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Management Services.
Ms Ogunsola, a professor of medical microbiology, who was the substantive Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Development Services, is the first woman to head the university in any capacity since it was established fifty-eight years ago.
Mrs Ogunsola, who doubles as the chairperson of Infections Control Africa Network, and is a member of the Lagos State COVID-19 task force, is the first child of Akin Mabogunje, Nigeria’s first professor of Geography. She was also the first female provost of the university’s college of medicine, Idi-Araba.
A total of 167 professors were accredited for the election. Ms Ogunsola received 135 votes while Mr Oghojafor received 31 votes. One vote was voided.
President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier intervened in the crisis-plagued institution after the university’s pro-chancellor Dr Wale Babalakin suspended the former vice-chancellor Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe over acts of insubordination and alleged fraudulent practices.
After selecting a seven-member visitation panel, the president had instructed the university’s senate to appoint an acting chief in his capacity as the Visitor to the university.
In a statement issued by the Ministry of Education on Friday, Ben Goong, the Director of Press at the Federal Ministry of Education, announced that the panel would be inaugurated by the minister, Adamu Adamu, on Wednesday.
The university’s senate was mandated “to immediately convene to nominate an acting vice-chancellor from amongst its members for confirmation by the governing council,” ahead of the panel’s inauguration.
Oladejo Azeez, the university’s registrar opposed the meeting and dispatched a memo to the top official in charge of the university’s auditorium, asking him to deny access to the voting professors.
The memo read: “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.
However, the members of the university’s senate pushed ahead with their plans and convened the meeting after they sought and received approvals from the National Universities Commission and the Federal Ministry of Education.
Sources close to the process said Ms Ogunsola recused herself from overseeing the meeting and that a prominent law professor Chioma Agomo was nominated to chair the meeting.