Gabriel Dike

Attempts to frustrate the University of Lagos (UNILAG) Senate meeting, yesterday, failed as the highest decision academic body elected Prof. Folasade Ogunsola as acting vice chancellor.

The incumbent deputy vice chancellor (Management Services) defeated Prof. Ben Oghojafor, deputy VC (Development Services) by 137 votes to 31. A total of 167 members of the Senate participated in the election. One vote was void.

Prof. Chioma Agomo, Chairman of the Emergency Senate Committee, who declared Ogunshola winner described the election as transparent.

“The Unilag Senate followed due process all through the election, and Prof. Ogunshola emerged the winner. We will soon forward our recommendations to council,” the former Dean, Faculty of Law, said.

Ogunshola is the first female to occupy the seat in the history of the 58-year-old institution.

A professor of medical microbiology and first child of Nigeria’s first professor of Geography, Akin Mabogunje, she was also the first female provost of the university’s college of medicine, Idi-Araba.

The crisis in Unilag following the removal of its Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, deepened on Friday with the Federal Government directing him and the Chairman of the Governing Council, Dr. Wale Babalakin, to step aside pending the recommendations of the Special Visitation Panel set up by President Muhammadu Buhari on the crisis.

The government also directed the Senate to nominate an acting VC from among its members for confirmation by the governing council.

The acting VC, Prof Theophilus Soyombo, appointed by the Babalakin-led governing council stepped down after the government’s decision.

Senate members who arrived the Main Auditorium, venue of the meeting around 9am met the doors  locked on the order of the Registrar, Mr. Oladejo Azeez.

The Registrar, Mr. Azeez in a circular said the Senate meeting would not hold until the Federal  Government clear certain issues and ordered the Main Auditorium shut to prevent the election of a new acting VC.

Azeez, in a circular ordered the management of J.K. Ade Ajayi Auditorium not to make any of its facilities available for any meeting until otherwise advised.

‘’This is to inform all Senate members that no meeting of Senate has been summoned. Members should await proper notice meeting after the Federal Government of Nigeria has clarified some issues germane to the meeting.’’

But Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu overruled the Registrar when he spoke on phone with the Deputy Registrar, Mrs. Olakunle Makinde, Director of Academic Affairs and others to open for Senate members.

Security personnel from Sabo Police Station were stationed at the venue of meeting.

Prior to the commencement of voting, former Dean of Students Affairs, Prof. Duro Oni, nominated Prof. Ogunsola while Prof. Virgil Onyene nominated Prof, Oghojafor. The former VC, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe. Prof did not attend the Senate meeting.