By Adesina Wahab
A group, the Concerned Stakeholders in the Lagos State University, LASU, has written the Visitor to the university, who is also the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on the need for transparency in constituting the selection committee for the next Vice-Chancellor of the university.
In the letter dated September 22, 2020, a copy of which Vanguard sighted on Wednesday and which was signed by Bayo Komolafe, they noted that the appointment of a VC was central to the smooth running of a university, adding that the selection process must not be faulty from the word go.
In the letter titled “Constituting the selection committee for the next Vice-Chancellor”, they harped on the need by the Governing Council and the Senate of the university to constitute in a proper and transparent manner, the Selection Committee for the appointment of a next Vice-Chancellor.
“While we have been reliably informed of the emergence of members of the Committee from the Governing Council, the Senate of the University is yet to elect members to represent it on the Committee.
“We are aware of plans, however, by the Vice-Chancellor to hurriedly convene an online meeting of Senate for Thursday, 24th September 2020 for the purpose of (s)electing the representatives through a hurriedly staged process to impose some pre-selected members. We are reliably informed that notice of the Senate meeting has been sent out but, as usual in critical matters like this, without the agenda accompanying it.
“The emergence of a Selection Committee for a Vice-Chancellor in a university of repute such as LASU is a serious process. It entails an announcement of the commencement of the process and calls to pick nomination forms, the expression of interest by qualified members, release of names of Senators that have shown interest, and the election of the same at a date fixed solely for such a purpose.
“This established traditional process gives prospective candidates the opportunity to convince Senators that they have integrity, understand the enormity of the burden of trust upon their shoulders, and can discharge this important duty without fear or favour. An example is an ongoing process at the University of Ibadan. It is not appropriate in our view for the Vice-Chancellor therefore to seek to hurriedly assemble members of the Senate and ram through a predetermined list of members who may have been selected to execute a hidden agenda,” they wrote.
While expressing opposition to voting online by the Senate members, they urged the governor to direct the VC to ensure that the voting is done physically in one of the big halls in the school where social and physical distancing would be observed in accordance with COVID-19 protocols.
Reacting to the development, the Coordinator, Centre for Information Press and Public Relations, CIPPR, LASU, Ademola Adekoya, described the group as faceless.
“This is clearly a faceless group. The person who signed the letter is not a lecturer in LASU or connected with the university in any way. While claiming to be concerned stakeholders, it was only that amorphous Komolafe that signed the letter. No other person endorsed the letter.
“Selecting a VC for the university entails some processes and one of it is the constitution of a selection committee by the Governing Council and the Senate of the university. For the Senate, we have over 200 members and the school has campuses in Epe, Ikeja, and the main campus in Ojo. Since the Senate started virtual sitting, it has been a relief to professors in Epe and Ikeja campuses who always find it stressful to come to Ojo for their sittings.
“If students being taught by professors have been conducting their student’s union government election electronically for years now, is it not funny for their professors who are not up to 500 in number to say they cannot vote the same way.
“The VC does not have any anointed candidate. When he applied some years back to become the VC the system was fair and transparent and how could he now want to truncate that. Assuming without conceding the fact, if the VC could influence the choice of members of the selection committee, can he influence the governor who to pick out of the three candidates that will be presented to him,” he said.
The outgoing VC, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, SAN, will leave office on January 11, 2021.