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Lagos Assembly investigates LASU Vice-chancellor selection crisis

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

Following the crisis that had continued to trail selection of a new Vice-Chancellor for Lagos State University (LASU), the House of Assembly has concluded plans to investigate causes behind delay in the appointment of a substantive VC for the institution.

The lawmakers directed the Committee on Tertiary Education headed by Ajani Owolabi to investigate issues affecting the appointment and report back to the House in another week.

Issues on the institution were raised under ‘Matter of Urgent Public Importance’ by the Leader of House, Sanai Agunbiade, during plenary on Tuesday, lamenting that if the issue lingers, academic activities within LASU could suffer.

Announcing outcome of the House deliberation, the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, while giving the committee its term of reference, said that process of picking Vice-Chancellors had always been a problem in LASU and that there was a need to find a suitable solution to the challenges.

Obasa noted that there were more issues affecting the selection process than what was been reported and published by the special visitation panel set up by the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
He said: “We eulogised LASU over its feats recently only for the issue of succession to draw the institution back. They have regulations on how a VC should be selected. They did a test for the people shortlisted for the office and their marks were very close to one another.
“They should have selected one of the shortlisted candidates. If you can’t pick the one that came first, you should pick the number two or number three up to number five. I believe that there is more to what is happening in the institution despite what we are seeing,” the Speaker added.
Earlier, Agunbiade, while bringing issues affecting the institution before his colleagues, complained that LASU was in crisis over the selection of a new VC after the tenure of immediate past vice-chancellor, Olanrewaju Fagbohun, ended.
He stated that a committee was raised towards the end of the tenure of the last VC of the institution, Professor Olanrewaju Fagbohun, but that the committee was dissolved because one of the three shortlisted candidates did not have a Ph.D. as he was said to have possessed just a university fellowship.
The lawmaker said that when another committee was raised, there was an advertisement that gave an opportunity to candidates with fellowships of an institution to apply for the office, adding nine persons were shortlisted, but that the second process has also been put on hold.
“Now, LASU does not have a VC or Governing Board. LASU has dropped from number two in the country to number five. Something must be done urgently about the selection of a new VC for the university.
“The House Committee on Education should be asked to commence investigation into the issues in LASU and come up with recommendations. The Lagos State Governor should also look into the issues surrounding the selection of a Vice Chancellor for the institution,” he urged his colleagues.

His colleague, Ganiu Sanni, said that LASU issue was taking a worrisome trend despite its achievements over the years, just as he recalled that LASU was number two in Nigeria and between the first 500 to 600 universities in the world.

“What is happening in LASU is a clash of interest and intra-campus politics. They all want to have a stronghold in the affairs and activities of LASU. This will cause problems if there is no moderation.
“The advert for the position of Vice-Chancellor stated that the person that would be the VC could be a fellow or Ph.D. holder as stated in the law that established the university.
“I don’t know why that caused an issue now. The Governor should take a bold step and take decisive actions. We must consider professionalism, competence, and experience in the selection,” he added.

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