The sun, on the morning of Saturday, November 12, 2022, shined brighter at the University of Lagos as the 13th Vice-Chancellor, Professor Folasade Ogunsola, FAS, resumed her first day in office.
She marked the occasion with a meeting with Deans, Directors, as well as Heads of Units (Teaching and Non-Teaching) of the University, who were all present at the Senate Chambers.
With what was essentially her first formal address to the University Community, the first female Vice-Chancellor took the opportunity to highlight her visions for the University of Lagos and to sensitise the minds of the leadership about the work that lies ahead to make the visions come to fruition.
“We will consolidate on the foundations that have built, and we will forge new paths for the University of Lagos”, she declared.
“Over the past 60 years, UNILAG has produced over 200,000 graduates whose exploits out there affirm the fulfilment of our mandate to provide critical manpower. We have been blessed with very great Vice-Chancellors who dutifully built on the successes of their predecessors. That is exactly what I aim to do.”
The Professor of Medical Microbiology expressed her determination to lead the University of Lagos into reckoning in national and international affairs. She emphasised the important role of the Ivory Tower in society as a creator of knowledge and dispenser of new ideas.
“We must acknowledge that Government alone cannot help us. The world is fast morphing into a knowledge-driven economy; and as a University, we are at the epicentre of that evolution. Therefore, we must stake our claim to the benefits of this reality and assert our relevance.”
“We must have a second look at our curricula and ensure that what flow from them are contents that make our students work-ready. Our products, by virtue of drinking from this Fountain of Knowledge, should be industry-relevant and readily accepted anywhere in the world. What I dream for UNILAG is that whenever you say, “I am from UNILAG”, it should be readily assumed that you are smart and that you know your onions. You won’t have anything to prove”.
Rounds of applause rent the air when the Professor Ogunsola shared her vision for the University of Lagos.
“My vision is to build the most innovative and entrepreneurial university in Africa that ranks among the best 200 in the world with distinctive local impacts. I envision a work system that is synchronised, where all Units and Departments of the University will work in seamless harmony to deliver on the vision of the Institution. What we want is an environment that nurtures enquiring minds who challenge the status quo”.
The Vice-Chancellor reeled out ten (10) thematic areas that will form the framework of her activities in office. Some of these include: Finance re-engineering, Aggressive promotion of funded research grants, Improved Town-Gown Relationship, Development of the university’s properties, Restructuring of the Advancement Office for increased endowments, and the Reorientation of courses to reflect modern realities among others.
She declared the readiness of the University of Lagos to promote the Arts & Humanities and to redouble its efforts on human capital development.
“I have two audacious goals that I desire to see come to realisation during my tenure. One is for the University of Lagos to have a new campus situated along the Lekki Free Trade Zone area, so that the relationship between Knowledge and Industry will be a direct and mutually benefiting one. The other one is to get UNILAG into Agriculture. Food security is the future, and UNILAG cannot afford to miss out on agriculture, especially urban agriculture. I urge Senate to begin to think in this direction.”
“UNILAG will start promoting the Arts & Humanities. Our African-ness is our superpower and we can use it to gain profits and make impacts.”
“I also believe that the university of today is about non-teaching staff who are professionals in their respective areas of assignment. That is why there will be a lot of investments in our human capital to make sure that our people can be the best for UNILAG and for themselves beyond service.”
As she brought her presentation to a close, Professor Ogunsola, FAS, urged everyone in the audience to brace up for the journey ahead. She solicited their unflinching support, and promised to lead from the front in raising the bar.
“We must constantly ask ourselves what will be the cost of maintaining the status quo? Let us commit ourselves to becoming more. Let us become the knowledge and innovation hub of Africa with the unique touch of our own flavour”, the Vice-Chancellor concluded amidst a standing ovation.
Thereafter, helmsmen of Faculties, Departments, and Units introduced themselves formally to the Vice-Chancellor. From the Senate Chambers, the University Management team ushered Professor Ogunsola to her new office on the 11th Floor of Senate House, where the Chaplain of the Chapel of Christ, our Light, Rev (Dr) Azuka Ogbolumani, was on hand to bless her and her new office.
Immediately after this session, the new Vice-Chancellor held her very first Management Meeting on the 10th Floor of Senate House.
Thus, a new era leadership begins at the University of Lagos.