The appointment of David Sunmoni as the new Governing Council Chairman for the selection of 9th Vice-Chancellor for LASU has been thought to be a good one but the fresh controversies surrounding the selection process, may well be having a rethink.
This is because some issues which led to the dissolution of the last board led by Adebayo #Ninalowo has started to show up again.
Some prominent lecturers and colleagues of one of the candidates who is a Professor of Public Health, Olumuyiwa Odusanya, are aggrieved and this could be traced to the first set of criteria earlier set by the new selection committee which had nullified holders of medical fellowship degrees from taking part in the new process.
Recall that the Committee had declared a new process open with the advertorial placed in some Nigerian Dailies on July 30. This notice barred holders of medical fellowships from taking part in the process.
Part of the requirements includes 10-year-post-professorship qualification and 15-year-teaching experience and prescribed a PhD degree, and for clinical lecturers, a newly introduced Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree.
Recall that a former acting Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Medicine, Fidelis Njokanma had resigned his membership of the committee for personal reasons after his position were not accepted by the Committee earlier in August and was replaced by a Professor of Physical and Health Education, Rafiu Okuneye, who was elected by the Senate on August 10.
According to a report from popular online news platform, Premium Times, all holders of medical fellowships who are members of the university’s Senate refused to participate in the election that produced Mr Okuneye.
They had accused the Governing Council of bias against their colleague and this could have been seen to divide the Varsity into two along two lines of PhD holders and holders of medical fellowships.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has also been notified by the Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Medical Guild, and the university’s teaching hospital’s (LASUTH) chapter of the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), to publicly intervene.
An advert has also been published in some Dailies titled “The LASU VC advert states that candidates “MUST” to this effect and the wife of the Governor Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, who is also a medical doctor called to save the profession from what they termed calculated attack.
Statements from this alliance reads in part below:
In addition, Professors of clinical medicine do not train PhD students, they do not supervise PhD but they train and supervise Clinical Fellowship candidates, through the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, as established by law (and her global equivalent around the world) as is the age-long tradition in clinical medicine. Therefore, the criteria that they MUST possess PhD or MUST have supervised PhD students is a deliberate attempt to unjustly disqualify ALL Professors of clinical medicine from seeking the office of the Vice Chancellor of LASU.
It is worthy of note that shortly after the publication of the medical doctors’ open letter to the governor, and Mr Njokanma’s resignation, the university’s Governing Council had made a volte-face and published an addendum to the earlier criteria released for the Vice-Chancellorship position.
The Governing Council publication in part reads: “Possession of a Post Graduate Medical Fellowship is an acceptable qualification for candidates wishing to apply for the vacant position of Vice-Chancellor, Lagos State University.
“For candidates in the Medical and Dental professions, supervision of PhD as earlier advertised is also not mandatory.”
On his part, the special adviser to Mr Sanwo-Olu on education, Tokunbo Wahab has however reacted that he would not comment on the matter until the whole process is concluded.