“Hard decisions will be taken…’’
By Faith Enang
We recall these were the words of the incumbent vice-chancellor of the University of Lagos, Professor Folasade Tolulope Ogunsola OON, when sharing her vision with the Unilag Sun editorial board, after spending 100 days in office. A year and some months later, Prof. Ogunsola’s tenure has effected many changes and developments in the university community.
For the first 60 years of her existence, men sat at the helm of affairs at the University of Lagos. Hence, the excitement when a woman was named Madam Vice-Chancellor. Having emerged as VC of the University of the first choice, hopes were at an all-time high, and Prof. Ogunsola did not disappoint swiftly jumping into action mode in steering the university’s affairs.
The tenure of her predecessor, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe boasted several milestones, including but not limited to the most successful NUGA games the nation has seen in recent history, the renovation of El-Kanemi Hall, and several efforts to position the university as the leading research university on the continent.
Indeed, the shoes left for Prof. Ogunsola to fill were massive, however, she courageously did the needful and immediately set the ball rolling with the FUTURE-READY agenda. It is no news that her future-ready agenda entails making the university an international institution of repute with the ability to not only withstand the challenges that the future might bring but to thrive amidst these challenges and set an example for other institutions to follow.
Professor Ogunsola’s first year in office was not without its challenges. The ‘abrupt sudden’ fee hike, alongside the regular infrastructure and accommodation complaints, tested the mettle of her future-ready agenda.
However, Ogunsola was not deterred as she made her decisions with the greater good of the university in mind. After engagement with students and other relevant stakeholders, the fees were reduced and the holiday period was extended to give the students and their parents ample time to adjust to the fees hike. The university also rolled out a series of novel measures to take care of indigent students who still could not meet up, in fulfillment of Professor Ogunsola’s promise that no student would have to drop out because of the fee hike.
Amidst all of these challenges, Ogunsola never compromised her standards. Driven by her unwavering commitment to her goal, she has brought about positive transformations across all sectors of the university, most notably in the humanities sector of the University which has seen a great revival in the last year. Theater productions have become almost a weekly occurrence, the university opened a new museum as an extension of the library which has undergone some significant renovation. And the crowning achievement is The MAD House, an art gallery and creative space, which held the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz spellbound during his two-day visit to Nigeria.
Ogunsola has mentioned that she wants to be remembered for ‘making minds.’ In her first year, with the unwavering support of the University community, she’s already on track to achieve that goal.
Long live the University of Lagos!