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Lagos Assembly to investigate LASU VC crisis

The Lagos State House of Assembly has ordered its Committee on Tertiary Education to investigate the reason behind the delay in the selection of a new Vice Chancellor for the Lagos State University (LASU).

The committee, which was mandated to report back to the House, in a week, is headed by Hon. Ajani Owolabi.

The matter was raised under ‘Matter of Urgent Public Importance’ by the Leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, during Tuesday plenary.

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Speaker of the Assembly, Rt. Hon. (Dr.) Mudashiru Obasa, while giving the committee its term of reference, said that the process of picking Vice Chancellors had always been a problem in the institution.

Said he, “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 said.

Earlier, Hon. Agunbiade had complained that LASU was in crisis over the selection of a new head.

He stated that a committee was raised towards the end of the tenure of the last VC of the institution, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, but that the committee was dissolved because one of the three shortlisted candidates did not have PhD as he was said to have possessed just a university fellowship.

He said that when another committee was raised, there was an advertisement which gave opportunity to candidates with fellowships of an institution to apply for the office.

He added that nine persons were shortlisted, but that the second process has also been put on hold.

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“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.

In his contribution to the debate, Hon. Ganiu Sanni (Kosofe 1), said that the issue of LASU was taking a worrisome dimension despite its achievements over the years.

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 PhD 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 said.

Another lawmaker, Hon. Desmond Elliot (Surulere 1), noted that over 50 percent of the lawmakers in the Assembly were graduates of LASU.

Elliot said that LASU had become a pride to the state and that accolades kept growing for it before the latest problem occured.

He then called for a seamless transition from one government to another in the institution.

The lawmakers’ positions were supported by Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti Osa 2), who called for a stoppage to the noticeable lacuna in the selection of a new Vice Chancellor for the university.

In his comments, Hon. Rasheed Makinde (Ifako/Ijaiye 2) said that the issue did not project the image of the institution properly.

Makinde stated that the institution would be 38 years old and that it enjoys subvention so that the school could develop.

He added that it was regrettable that a crisis comes anytime a new VC was to be appointed in the institution.