Some workers at the Lagos State University have petitioned Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to protest against the recommendation by the institution's vice-chancellor selection committee, pointing out that "a man without a PhD cannot confer PhD degrees on students."
In the petition, the workers under the banner of Concerned Staff of LASU urged Governor Sanwo-Olu, who is the visitor to the university, to reject the recommendation.
They alleged that the joint council and senate selection committee acted in flagrant violation of the advertisement for the vice-chancellor position by shortlisting Olumuyiwa Odusanya, Kabir Akinyemi and Senapon Bakre.
The petition, signed by Olalekan Akinloye and Olatunji Alonge, partly read, "We are constrained to react to the recommendation which listed Professor Olumuyiwa Odusanya as number one and deliberately excluded Professor Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello from first to third. We believe a grand, elaborate plan hatched by the Chairman of Council and the outgoing Vice-Chancellor to scheme Professor Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello out of the race on the pretext that she didn't make the top three.
"What is interesting about the candidature of Professor Olumuyiwa Odusanya to the position of the 9th Vice-Chancellor in LASU is how and why he was shortlisted without a PhD degree. Although he possesses the Fellowship certificate of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, the advertisement for the position clearly states that such a candidate must be a scholar with significant impact in international supervision and examination of PhD, and must also have supervised students (especially PhD). You cannot supervise a PhD if you do not possess a PhD Degree.
"The question to be answered is how the Joint Council and Senate Selection Committee arrived at shortlisting him a few weeks after the Governing Council of the University dismissed many academic staff across different cadres for not possessing PhD. If appointed, this clause may lead to a crisis of legitimacy as a Vice-Chancellor without a PhD cannot confer PhD degrees on students. Such a Vice-Chancellor cannot also chair the Senate of the University where PhD students' results are considered to be approved.
"The argument that the Medical College fellowship is equivalent to a PhD has not gained traction because many fellows of the college across Nigeria also have PhDs. The reason is that both serve different purposes. While the fellowship eminently qualifies a doctor to practice, teaching and research training in academia only comes with a PhD.
"Professor Kabir Akinyemi is statutorily unqualified ab initio, having not met the ten years' post-professorial experience stipulated in the advertisement for the position. If appointed, this clause may lead to a crisis of legitimacy for him in the institution.
"The institution cannot afford such a crisis at this time, having experienced relative peace in the last five years. Kabir Akinyemi is not new to controversy in LASU though, as his position as Chairman ASUU-LASU and the attendant roles he seemed to have played during the crisis of the John Obafunwa administration appears to have contributed to his dismissal from ASUU-LASU by the National Executive Council of ASUU over five years ago in March 2015. His pivotal role in the ill-fated Obafunwa administration also estranged him from the other staff unions in the University.
"He was to be given the so-called Obafunwa treatment of expulsion from his office as Dean of Students Affairs, but for the strong plea of some notable personalities within the campus, same March of 2015. This reputation crisis may not be unconnected to the reason he lost the elections into the Dean of Science position on the three (3) occasions that he contested. His immediate constituency, Faculty of Science, rejected him successively in 2016, 2018 and 2020 Deanship elections. Professor Akinyemi though a fine scholar in his field, does not have the required experience in PhD supervision, in further breach of the stated criteria in the advert.
"Similarly, Professor Senapon Bakre's prima facie unqualified status is centred on her failure to have successfully supervised and produced a PhD student in her entire academic career. The advertisement clearly states that the candidate must be a scholar with significant impact in areas of international supervision and examination of PhD, and must also have supervised students (especially PhD)."