By Gabriel Dike
The eleventh Vice Chancellor of University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, Prof Rahamon Bello will on November 11 hand over to the new helmsman of the 55 year-old institution after a brief ceremony on the 11th floor of the Senate building.
Prof. Bello will leave office after completing his five years tenure and also ending 40 years of his career as an academic staffer in UNILAG. He is expected to hand over to Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe as 12th VC.
Recalling how he got to the 11th floor of the Senate building, Prof Bello, said he assumed office as acting VC at a moment of ‘’crises’’, the university had just suddenly lost her amiable VC, the 10th VC, Prof Adetokunbo Sofoluwe on May 12, 2012. It pleased God to grant me an opportunity of taking the substantive position later in November 11, 2012.’’
On whether the November 11 meant anything to him, Prof Bello paused for few seconds and said: ‘’May be it is my lucky number. It is like an ordinary date. Probably, I should be thinking about the month and day.’’
Staff of the university thinks there is something special about November 11 on the life of the outgoing VC and even those close to him believe it has a significant attachment to Prof Bello.
On Tuesday, October 31, at his valedictory speech, Prof Bello gave account of his stewardship and mentioned the April 2016 students’ violent protest as his major regret. He received standing ovation before and after the event.
Prof Bello confirmed that the April 2016 protest by UNILAG students for three days was a banana peel that he managed to escape and regretted the incident.
He said another challenge he faced during his five years administration include lack of funds to pay salary, provide adequate water for students and staff, electricity and infrastructure noting ‘’once these facilities are not in place, the Banana peel can roll one over to stumble’’.
‘’My greatest regret was the April 2016 students violent protest. The problem was that we did not realize we had professional students who move from one institution to another for elective post. We realized this during investigations into the students’ violent protest. We are working to correct what happened in 2016, the VC stated.
On the speculation of his interest to run for Ogun state gubernatorial post, Prof denied it insisting he never nursed such ambition stating I don’t intend to go into politics but I will work to ensure one of my person emerged as governor.”
He used the occasion to highlight his administration achievements in five years to include improvement on academics and research, curricula review and International programmes, research and innovation, enhanced e-result processing, e-administration and other IT reform, partnership and signing of over 40 Memoranda of Understanding with foreign institutions.