Nigeria’s former President, Olusegun Obasanjo; Obi of Onitsha, Alfred Achebe; a retired justice and mother of the new vice-chancellor, Titi Mabogunje, and wife of former vice-chancellor of the university, Christie Ade-Ajayi, were among many dignitaries who graced the investiture of the first female Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, Folasade Ogunsola, on Tuesday.
The Deputy Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Chris Maiyaki, represented President Muhammadu Buhari as the university’s Visitor, and the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu. He also presented a speech on behalf of the Executive Secretary of NUC, Abubakar Rasheed.
The event, which coincided with the university’s 60th anniversary, was also part of the activities marking the university’s 53rd convocation ceremonies.
The new Vice-Chancellor, a professor of Medical Microbiology, is the first woman to occupy the position, having served as the first female provost of the university’s college of medicine, and the pioneer female acting vice-chancellor.
As is customary in the university system in the country, the first convocation ceremonies witnessed by a new vice-chancellor usually serve as an occasion to formally welcome them into office.
Conducting the investiture on Tuesday was the Chairman of the institution’s Governing Council, Lanre Tejuoso, an alumnus of the university’s medical college, who took credit for organising a seamless selection process.
Mr Tejuoso, who presented the staff of office to the vice-chancellor, commended her for her commitment to the peace and tranquillity on the campus and thanked everyone who contributed to the process in one way or the other.
NUC hails Ogunsola
The National Universities Commission (NUC), in a speech delivered by Mr Maiyaki, noted that history is being made in the university with the investiture of its first female “to occupy this exalted office after over 60 years of its establishment”.
The new helmswoman was urged to establish sustainable partnerships with government agencies, industry, and society in her operations as the vice chancellor, adding that “the university must focus on how students can learn and acquire relevant skills that will enable them to succeed in today’s highly dynamic and competitive world”.
The NUC boss further pointed out that the new vice chancellor must ensure the reward system of the university is based on credibility.
He said: “There are many other important issues that you must also address if you are to succeed and create a pathway for sustainable growth. The process of performance evaluation has increasingly left much to be desired in our universities.
“There is a gradual erosion of order in assessments and promotions at all levels. The intellectual space has shrunken to the extent that there is a subversion of the age-long and most cherished tradition and prestige of academia. It is no longer news that some professors have questionable credentials.
“You must out of necessity, ensure that the reward system is based on hard work and academic credibility and influence. and not solely on belongingness to trite formations designed to gain prebendal footholds”.
My covenant with UNILAG – Ogunsola
After receiving the instrument of the office, Mrs Ogunsola spoke on her plans and vision for the university.
She said: “In the last 60 years, the university has distinguished itself by the excellent calibre of its students, alumni and staff and its impact on national development. In those 60 years, the university successfully nurtured over 200,000 graduates who have made indelible impacts across all spheres of life, locally and globally.
“However, significant as these impacts are, technological innovations are challenging universities to achieve more in a few years what it took them in the past decades to achieve. As the world moves rapidly into the fourth industrial revolution, there has been a mass acceleration in the rate at which knowledge is generated and rendered obsolete. There has also been an upsurge in disruptive technologies, with the convergence of the physical, biological, and digital worlds.
“Navigating this space requires adaptation and reorientation of our thinking to create a future-ready workforce that is intellectually nimble, creative, problem-solving, and collaborative with local and global impact. Achieving all these requires innovative and visionary leadership, which is why I am committed to inspiring and preparing staff and students for this rapidly unfolding future.”
Speaking further, Mrs Ogunsola highlighted some of the “weaknesses and threats to the university”, which include inadequate funding, ageing infrastructure, inadequate ICT infrastructure, high cost of public utilities especially electricity and the constant disruptions to the academic calendar.
“I have therefore committed myself to work with the Governing Council, the staff, the students, alumni, and all friends of our university, not only to overcome the present challenges but to create the university that can prepare us for the rapidly changing future and also the manpower to shape that future. I will at this point like to share with you a definition of the university that I find so inspiring,” she said.
ALSO READ: UNILAG: Ogundipe hands over to Ogunsola, boasts of attracting N19 billion in grants
She also highlighted 10 goals that are captured in four pillars. She said: “We will grow our reputation by focusing on teaching, research and discoveries. We will grow our finances by developing multiple streams of income. We will grow our infrastructure to create an enabling environment. We will grow our people by building character and upskilling staff knowledge and competencies.”
Deploying NUC’s CCMAS
She also admitted that her tenure as the vice Chancellor is coming at a time when “Nigerian universities are being given the freedom by the NCC to develop courses with their distinct flavour through the recently released Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards (CCMAS), which will replace the very restrictive Basic Minimum Academic Standards”.
“We through our Senate intend to use this to achieve the goal of developing Work Ready Future-Facing and Entrepreneurial students,” she said.
NUC said by the CCMAS, each university is expected to provide 30 per cent of the contents of the curriculum of each of the academic programmes being administered.
“While ensuring that all your academic programmes are consistent with the 70 per cent contents specified in the CCMAS, you are hereby challenged to creatively provide the 30 per cent contents in ways that will ensure that each programme has significant social impact and relevance within the context of the prevailing local, national, and global realities,” said Mr Maiyaki.
Other dignitaries at the event included Mrs Ogunsola’s predecessors in office, especially both the 11th and 12th vice-chancellors of the university, Ramon Bello and Oluwatoyin Ogundipe respectively.
Also in attendance at the ceremony were representatives of the Oba of Lagos, Riliwanu Akiolu, members of the university’s governing council, management members, staff and students of the institution.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999