BREAKING: 60 years after, UNILAG set to appoint first female VC

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Bar any last-minute change, for the first time since its establishment 60 years ago, the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, is set to appoint a female substantive vice-chancellor.

According to those familiar with the matter, the selection board of the governing council of the university is set to appoint Folasade Ogunsola, the first and only female provost of the university’s College of Medicine, as the new VC of the institution.

Though the university has not made an official announcement on the appointment, some governing council members confirmed to Premium Times Friday evening that Mrs Ogunsola topped the list of contenders.

The governing council chairman is set to announce the winner anytime soon.

When confirmed, the new appointee, a Professor of Medical Microbiology, who was the 13th provost of the medical college when appointed, will also be the university’s 13th vice-chancellor.

The new VC will take over from the outgoing 12th vice-chancellor, Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, who was appointed in 2017 on 12 November.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with this newspaper on Friday shortly after her interview by the selection board, Mrs Ogunsola thanked God and the people for believing in her capacity to run “one of Africa’s biggest academic institutions.”

She said if appointed, she would run an all-inclusive administration and that everyone would count in decision-making processes.

Earlier on Monday, the governing council chairman hinted that the new VC would be appointed on Friday.

Speaking at an event to mark the institution’s 60th anniversary, the governing council chair said whoever would emerge as the vice-chancellor would be chosen by God. He said he would provide a level-playing field for all the interested parties.

The online newspaper had also reported that six other professors alongside Mrs Ogunsola were shortlisted for the final interview which was held on Friday.

They are Abayomi Akinyeye of the Department of History, Faculty of Arts; Mathew Ilori and Adeyinka Adekunle both of the Department of Microbiology and Botany, Faculty of Sciences; Imran Smith, Faculty of Law; Timothy Nubi, Department of Estate Management, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, and Ayo Olowe of the Department of Finance, Faculty of Management Sciences.

UNILAG’ll be future-ready- Ogunsola
Mrs Ogunsola said the fourth industrial revolution is here upon the world but that Nigeria has been lagging. She, therefore, said if appointed, her administration would be focused on rejigging how students are trained “so that they can be problem solvers and future-ready entrepreneurs.”

Mrs Ogunsola, who promised to run an open-door policy, said not just the students would be made future-ready but their lecturers and non-academic staff too.

She said: “We must now be ready to produce graduates with nimble minds who would be ready for the fourth industrial revolution that is already here with us. And to achieve this, we must invest in the faculty.

“Since funding is key, we will ensure that apart from growing the people, we will also grow our finances while technology will be deployed to compete globally.”

She also thanked God for making her “break the ceiling” after 60 years of the university’s existence, saying her feat is a piece of evidence that Nigerian women are ready for the new

About Folasade Ogunsola

Folasade Ogunsola is a Professor of Medical Microbiology and a Consultant Clinical Microbiologist and Infection Control at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.

Born in 1958, Mrs Ogunsola holds a PhD in Medical Microbiology (University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff), an MSc in Medical Microbiology with Distinction (University of Lagos), a Diploma in Biomedical Techniques (University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff), and an MB.ChB (University of Ife).

She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists United Kingdom, a Fellow of the West African College of Physicians, a Fellow of the National Postgraduate Medical College in Pathology, a Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science and Foundation Fellow of both the Nigerian Academy of Medicine and the Academy of Medicine Specialties.

Mrs Ogunsola has served as the acting Vice Chancellor, (Aug-Nov 2020), and former Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Development Services, at the University of Lagos.

Before that, she had served as the Provost of the College of Medicine, the University of Lagos for four years making her the first female ever to occupy that position.

She is the Chairman of the Board, Tetfund South West Academic Publishing Centre and the only one of seven that has been able to start operations to date.

In areas of research, she has collaborated with the Harvard Chan School of Public Health and the North-western University in Chicago in the area of HIV, Ebola and capacity building, particularly through the Building Research and Innovation in Nigeria’s Science (BRAINS) grant.

She is also a reviewer for several scientific academic journals and an external examiner to many universities, including Kuwait University. She has been a consultant to the World Health Organisation since 2009 where she chairs various committees.

She was in Congo during the Ebola outbreak and was the team lead for Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) during the 2014 Ebola disease outbreak in Nigeria. More recently, she was recently on the Lagos State Task Force set up during the recent COVID crisis and is a consultant to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control and Africa Centre for Disease Control for Infection Prevention and Control. She is also the Chair of the WHO Guidelines Committee for Ebola as well as Chair of the Infection Control African Network based in Cape Town, South Africa.

Mrs Ogunsola is a recipient of various prestigious awards from both local and international bodies and has one hundred and forty-two publications in reputable academic journals and has co-authored four books.

She has supervised or co-supervised eight doctoral students and 61 master’s students.

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