45-year LAUTECH Alumnus Is UNIOSUN Acting VC As Labo Popoola Returns To UI

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Following the controversies surrounding the selection process for the appointment of a substantive vice-chancellor and the expiration of the incumbent’s term of office on Thursday, the authorities of the Osun State University (UNIOSUN), Osogbo, have announced the appointment of a professor of geo-technical engineering, Afeez Bello, as an acting vice-chancellor.

Mr Bello, 45, who until his latest appointment, was the deputy vice-chancellor in charge of administration and development, is expected to resume office on Friday, November 5.

The outgoing vice-chancellor, Labo Popoola, a professor of forest economics, is expected to end his tenure on Thursday and return to the University of Ibadan where he is a serving lecturer.

Announcing the appointment on Wednesday morning, the university’s pro-chancellor and chairman of the governing council, Yusuf Alli, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said the appointment became imperative following a subsisting ligation over the selection process.

Mr Alli said the appointment was to avoid a vacuum in the university administration and pledged the commitment of the university management to abide by the verdicts of the court as “a law abiding institution.”

Controversy
In July, the university published an advertorial announcing vacancy for the position of vice-chancellorship in the university, and listed the criteria to be met by the applicants.

Some of the criteria noted that applicants must, among others, be in possession of a PhD certificate, have a research gate score of 15.0 and 800 citations, must have published, at least, 50 research articles, 20 of which must have been published in what is called high impact journals “as defined by Thomson Reuters ISI and Web of Science.”

The advertisement added that a minimum of 10 of the research articles must have been published in the high impact journals and must have been published in the past three years, and that applicants must have ability to attract local and international research grants “with evidence of having won and led, at least, 10 local and internationally funded researches.”

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The strict conditions angered some stakeholders, who accused the selection committee of a predetermined agenda, saying the set criteria are alien to the institution’s extant laws and regulations.

In August, the Osun State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) held a media briefing in the state capital and announced its rejection of what it described as the dichotomy between PhD certificate and medical fellowship. The body, alongside other professors, approached a law court to seek intervention.

Following the litigation, the university authorities in September said it had suspended the selection process pending the determination of the matter.

The governing council chairman, who stated this during the university’s 10th convocation ceremony, said as a law abiding institution, the ideal thing was to await the final decision of the court before the process could proceed.

“I must point out that I am aware that some members of staff felt that they have not been dealt with justly after seeing the advertisement that was placed for VC position and they have gone to court. And as a law abiding institution and as people who believe in justice, in the last one month, the process for the appointment of a new VC has been suspended until the court speaks because we are law abiding,” Mr Ali said.

About the new acting VC
Born on October 11, 1976, Mr Bello hails from Ilobu, headquarters of Irepodun Local Government Area of Osun State, and attended Ilobu Secondary Commercial Grammar School where he finished in 1993.

The acting vice-chancellor gained admission to Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, in 1995 where he studied Civil Engineering. He bagged his Master’s certificate in Civil Engineering from the University of Ibadan in 2005 and later proceeded to Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, where he bagged his PhD in Civil Engineering in the year 2010.

Mr Bello began his lecturing career in 2007 and has taught in various institutions including his alma mater, where he started out.

Described as humane, religious and scholarly, Mr Bello was recently elected the deputy vice-chancellor by the senate of the university.

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