Nigerians hail Sanwo-Olu’s appointment of new LASU VC

Many Nigerians have commended Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos State for the appointment of Ibironke Olatunji-Bello as the new Vice-Chancellor of Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo.

Recall Sanwo-Olu, had on Thursday, September 16, 2021, announced the appointment of Ibironke Olatunji-Bello, the wife of a commissioner in his cabinet as the new vice-chancellor of LASU.

The appointment generated a lot of reactions from people within and outside the state, many of the people who spoke with BusinessDay believe merit over-ruled sentiments in the appointment.

Olatunji-Bello is appointed for a single term of five-year following her recommendation by the Joint Committee of Council and Senate of LASU following the LASU Law, Cap 169 Vol 7, Laws of Lagos State.

Before her appointment, Olatunji-Bello, a Professor of Physiology, was acting vice-chancellor of the University, between January and October 2011.

The Professor of Physiology, who emerged as the new VC after months of the intriguing selection process is the wife of the Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources in Lagos State. And by her appointment, she becomes the institution’s 9th vice-chancellor.

Read also: Why we are temporarily suspending online registration in Lagos INEC

LASU had been deeply in controversy surrounding the choice of the successor to Olanrewaju Fagbohun the former vice-chancellor which had experienced the cancellation of two selection processes earlier conducted by the university’s former governing council.

Friday Erhabor, a public affairs analyst saw nothing wrong in her appointment provided she is qualified for the post.

“People should not bring in sentiment into serious business-like education, as long as on merit she is not found waiting”, he said.

Erhabor argued that as long as the woman is not using her husband’s certificate, her husband should not be a criteria for disqualifying her for a post is qualified for. According to him, even if a person’s spouse is a governor that should not rob her post she is qualified for.

“Is she using her husband’s certificate? Is she not qualified for the job? So because a woman’s husband is a commissioner, she should be disqualified for a position that she is more than qualified for?” he queried.

For Bamidele Okuwuga, a legal practitioner, Ibironke Bello has been a professor in LASU and a former deputy vice-chancellor; hence, she is qualified for the position. The only area of concern to Okuwuga is if the appointment was influenced by the position of the husband.

“The only argument I have heard against her so far is that her husband is in government. Would that be a disqualifying factor?” he asked.

Stanley Alaubi, a senior lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt applauded the governor for his decision to let merit and sentiments prevail in his choice.

“Sanwo-Olu appointed the VC based on her capacity and not on the capacity of her husband’s position. For her to be a professor is self-earned and not inherited”, he said.

Alaubi commended the governor for putting a round peg in a round not minding political, family, and religious dispositions.

However, for Yinka Bola there seems to be more to it. For sure Ibironke Bello is an academician and the state has a quota which she does fit into, besides she is a member of the senate. All these can make one easily adjudge that she was appointed on merit. It is not quite easy to ascertain what went underneath before her appointment.

“The husband is a politician and in the cabinet of the incumbent governor speaks volumes. I smell power play though”, he stated.

Ini Uduak saw nothing wrong with the appointment of a career woman who is privileged to marry a commissioner in a state.

Uduak maintained that both the new VC and the husband are two different entities and that it is not right to deny one of his or her promotions on the basis of sentiments.

“Both are two different entities and individuals, having diverse qualifications and attainments they had worked for. If she is qualified for the appointment, she deserves and reserves the right to occupy the position, even as her husband qualifies to attain and hold his political office”, Uduak said.

She shared her experience in Cross River State where a set of twin brothers were holding the position of permanent secretary in different ministries at a time.

“While growing up, there were two sets of twin brothers who were holding the position of permanent secretary in two different ministries in the former Cross River State. Nobody denied them the positions because they were qualified for them”, she explained.

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