The first female Vice Chancellor of a Nigerian university was Prof. Grace Alele-Williams. She believes her appointment at the University of Benin in 1985, which ended in 1992, was a test case to demonstrate women’s executive capability in the Ivory Towers. Many years later, others have found themselves in Alele-Williams’ shoes. In this special report by MUH’D ZANGINA KURA, Dutse; SAM EGWU, Lokoja; ANGELA NKWO-AKPOLU, Owerri; OLUWAFEMI ARESA’DU, Abeokuta; ALO ABIOLA, Ado Ekiti; and PATRICK OCHOGA, Benin City; they profiled seven current female VCs and their contributions to scholarship, among others.
Prof Fatima Batul Mukhtar – FUD
Professor Fatima Batul Mukhtar is the second Vice Chancellor of Federal University Dutse, Jigawa State. She was appointed on February 10, 2016 after the pioneer vice chancellor of the University completed his tenure in office.
Under her leadership, the institution recorded significant progress in both academics and infrastructure, which easily made FUD to be one of the best among its its peers established in 2011.
Prof. Fatima was born in Kano in 1963 and started her education at Shahuci Primary School in 1969 before proceeding to Shekara Girls Primary School in 1973. She enrolled at the Government Girls College Dala in 1975.
She graduated with a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) degree in Botany from ABU Zaria and later obtained her Master’s degree (M.Sc) in Botany from Bayero University Kano (BUK) in 1994. It was followed with a Doctorate degree (PhD) in the same field of Botany (Plant Physiology) from BUK in 2001 after which she became a Professor in 2013.
When she assumed office of the VC of FUD in 2016, the first thing she did was to come up with a Blueprint tagged ‘Consolidation, Expansion and Excellence’. It was designed to be implemented under a five-year Strategic Development Plan.
Some of her achievements include securing the accreditation for the establishment of College of Medicine and Health Sciences after it was suspended in 2016. She secured the donation of Rasheed Shekoni Specialist Hospital by the Jigawa State Government to serve as Teaching Hospital for the college which also got the approval of Federal Government this year.
However, besides the college of medicine, she also succeeded in getting the National Universities Commission’s (NUC) approval for the university to operate 37 degree and post-graduate programmes at a go.
Under her watch, three faculties were established, namely Faculty of Management Sciences, Faculty of Computing and Faculty of Clinical Sciences.
In order to expand access and create more channels of accessing university education, Prof. Fatima, in collaboration with ABU Zaria, established an A’Level IJMB programme in the university in 2017. Also, the university in collaboration with UBEC has also succeeded in establishing a Staff Primary School for the university community.
To promote innovation in teaching and learning, she sourced for 231 e-Pads which were distributed to academic staff from Lecturer II and above for teaching and learning purposes and to members of the University Senate.
For the Staff Training and Development (AST&D), the university secured interventions from TETFund for foreign and local trainings of academic staff to the tune of N176,701.914.4 and over N58,962,129 for conferences. While A total of 11 academic staff have secured private scholarships for various post-graduate programmes.
Under her stewardship, FUD is collaborating and cooperating with local and international institutions to promote and achieve the objectives of the university. The organisations are the United Nations, University of North Dakota, USA, Morgan University and International Islamic University Malaysia.
Others are Al-Azhar of Cairo, Monsurat University, University of Kelantan, the University of North Carolina, Dubai-based Skyline University located in Kano, Africa UNINET Network, UK-based Sheffield University, and National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development.
The collaborations are meant to promote science research, staff training and exchange.
Worthy of note is the identification of Raju community, which is famous for Raju Dinya. Today youths and women of the community are gainfully employed producing Dinya tea, syrup, and other products that have impacted on their lives positively.
In order to give back to the University’s immediate communities, Prof Fatima established Women Literary Centres at Kawaye and Bakinjeji villages. The women are taught numeracy, literacy, Islamic education, basic hygiene, among others. The Centre for Agricultural Research and Extension Services has also selected villages in the University’s surroundings where farmers are taught the latest methods of crop production and pest control.
Prof. Angela Freeman Miri – FUL
Prof. Angela Miri is the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Lokoja (FUL), Kogi State. She was appointed the VC of the University on merit after her colourful academic pursuits through Universities of Maiduguri and Jos.
She obtained BA Hons (English) from the University of Maiduguri in 1982, M.A. (English Literature) in 1988 from the University of Jos, Plateau State. In 1997, Prof. Angela obtained her PhD (Literature in English) from UniJos with specialisation in African and English literatures (Oral and Written), Gender Studies and Creative Writing.
She acquired immense administrative and teaching experience both within and outside the University system with exemplary leadership qualities.
She served in various capacities at the local, state and federal levels which included membership of the Plateau State Executive Council, Presidential Task Team on Education and served as the chairman, Governing Council of Plateau State Polytechnic, Barkin Ladi.
Prof. Angela was a Commissioner for Health and later she handed the onerous task of Commissioner for Education in Plateau State. Her quest to improve her education brought her to University of Jos as graduate assistant and through hardwork, she became an enigma and fulfilling all the requirements to become a Professor in 207.
She was appointed the VC of FUL on February 25, 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Prof. Adaobi Obasi – IMSU
Professor Adaobi Obasi, is the first female to be appointed Vice Chancellor of Imo State University (IMSU).
She was born on April 14, 1952 to Chief Fred and Ezinne Felicia Nnoham who hail from Ogboko in Ideato South local government srea of Imo State.
She bagged her NCE in 1980 from the famous Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education; a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education (1984); Master’s (1985) and Ph.D in Education (1989), all from Hull.
Prof. Adaobi observed her compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme at Women Training College, Enugu.
She has authored five books and 45 articles in reputable national and internatjonal Journals.
Before her appointment as the Vice Chancellor by the then Governor Rochas Okorocha, Prof. Adaobi had served as Commissioner for Education in Imo State between 2011-2013 as well as Commissioner for Local Government and Rural Development.
The soft-speaking Professor had also served as a member of the Imo State University Governing Council, Member of Senate of IMSU; and External Examiner to many Universities and other higher institutions.
Despite her being the IMSU VC, she doubles as the Head of Department of Curriculum in the institution, a development that attests to her commitment and hardwork.
Prof. Folashade Ogunsola – UNILAG
The 61-year-old Prof. Folashade Ogunsola is the acting Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG). Her appointment was confirmed on August 26, 2020 by the interim chairman of UNILAG Governing Council, John Momoh having been approved by the Senate of the institution.
With her emergence, she broke the institution’s 58-year record to become the first female to be appointed as VC since the university was founded in 1962.
Prior to her appointment, Prof. Folashade in 2013 became the first female Provost of the UNILAG College of Medicine and after a successful four-year tenure, she became the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the institution in charge of Development Services in 2017.
A Professor of Clinical Microbiology, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, born on November 25, 1958 to a lecturer-father, Folashade is a renowned medical scientist with specialisation in the treatment and control of HIV/AIDS.
She bagged her first degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) between 1974 and I982, and obtained a Master’s degree from College of Medicine, University of Lagos, before proceeding for her doctorate at the University of Wales, UK between 1992 to 1997.
Ogunsola has for over two decades been involved in raising awareness on infection control in Nigeria with research interest and work centered around the diagnosis and prevention of infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance.
She was a founding member of the Nigerian Society for Infection Control in 1998 and has assisted in setting up infection control programmes in institutions around the country.
She is the principal investigator at AIDS Prevention Initiative in Nigeria (APIN) at UNILAG and has been the chairman of the Infection Control Committee of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).
Additionally, she is the chairperson of the National Association of Colleges of Medicine in Nigeria.
She played a major role in assisting Nigeria overcome the Ebola outbreak in 2014. She has also contributed to the health sectors of other African countries, including Uganda.
She is a member of the Global Infection Prevention and Control Network, ,a member of the WHO Technical Working Group on Infection Prevention and Control, a member of the WHO AFRO Regional Rapid Response Group of Experts for Epidemics and a member of the Lagos State COVID-19 task force.
Prof. Folashade joins the already existing scanty list of female VCs in Nigeria and she is just settling down to her task at the ivory tower.
Prof Chinedum Peace Babalola – CUA
The Vice Chancellor of Chrisland University, Abeokuta, Ogun State is Prof. (Mrs.) Chinedum Peace Babalola.
Chrisland University Abeokuta (CUA) is one of the private universities operating in Ogun state among the numerous others which also included BABCOCK University at Ilishan – Remo owned by the Seventh Day Adventists Mission; Crescent University, Abeokuta owned by the former World Court Judge, Prince ‘Bola Ajibola; the Redeemers University at Mowe – Ibafo, owned by the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Mission; as well as the Covenant University in Sango-Ota, owned by the Living Faith Mission a.k.a. Winners’ Chapel.
Mrs Chinedum is Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry/Pharmacokinetics and the immediate past Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan (UI) in Oyo state.
For over 35 years, she has focused on pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics, pharmaceutical analysis, pharmacogenetics and bioethics as tools for studying drug disposition in Nigerians in order to guide therapeutic optimization in Blacks.
She and co-workers reported first pharmacogenetic data in sickle cell disease (SCD) and non-sickle cell disease (non-SCD) in Nigerians, using proguanil (a malaria prophylactic) as probe drug for CYP2C19 and observed lower prevalence of the mutant slow metabolizer 2C19 *2 in SCD (1%) compared to non-SCD (4.8%), a finding that may favour SCDs and genetic pre-screening with proguanil treatment.
Prof. Chinedum led the conduct of one of the largest pharmacogenetic/pharmacovigilance studies on sulpha drugs in >1,000 healthy and HIV/AIDs Nigerians and matched hypersensitivity and drug levels with genotyping of NAT2 haplotypes.
She just completed the pharmacogenomics and neurocognitive effect of efavirenz in HIV/AIDs patients based on CYP2B6 enzymes.
She is also actively involved for the past 10 years in multi-country/institutional/disciplinary research on genetics of breast cancer in Black women with outstanding discoveries that affect prognosis of breast cancer in Blacks that guides drug-targeted discovery.
In 2011, she led a multinational/interdisciplinary team that won MacArthur Foundation grant (approx. $1 million) to set up Centre for Drug Discovery, Development and Production (CDDDP), UI – for building capacity for Africans to make and regulate their own medicines while improving access to quality medicines. CDDDP is one of the 11 designated centres of excellence in Africa by NEPAD/AMRH.
She is currently one of the six Principal Investigators for the recent $160m USAID-sponsored Project by United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) on Promoting Quality of Medicines-Plus (USP-PQM+) 2019-2024
Just obtained TETFUND grant under COVID-19 Intervention Fund titled “Identification of Potentially Effective Local Therapies” worth N13.5 million(July 2020).
A member of many international and national organisations including ISSX, IATDM-CT, AORTIC, ACCR, AAS, NAS, ACLI, PSN, NAPA, SCHAF, IPAN among others.
Prof. Chinedum has over 150 publications (peer-reviewed and abstracts) in reputable outlets and has supervised 50 Master’s and PhD projects.
Prof. Elisabeta Samaranda Olarinde – ABUAD
At the Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, (ABUAD), Ekiti State is Prof. Elisabeta Samaranda Olarinde as the Vice Chancellor.
The legal background of the Romanian-born Nigerian lawyer both in civil (Romania) and common law (Nigeria) systems adds to her diverse multidisciplinary profile.
Until her appointment few months ago as the substantive vice chancellor of the private institution, founded by a legal Icon, Aare Afe Babalola, Prof Elisabeta was the deputy vice chancellor (Administration) and Provost, College of Law of ABUAD.
Within the little time she assumed office, the university has recorded quite a number of achievements.
The university made history when it inaugurated the largest number of dialysis machines assembled in any university in Africa.
The 16 newly installed dialysis machines were inaugurated at the ABUAD multi-system hospital.
The institution also inaugurated a state-of-the-art Blood Bank and Transfusion Centre and a Ministry of Aviation-certified modern helipad to ease transportation.
The university has also provided a military security outpost at the hospital to provide security for experts, patients, and students at the medical facility.
Prof. Lilian Imuetinyan Salami – UNIBEN
Prof. Lilian Salami is the 10th substantive, and second female Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin (UNIBEN).
She began her secondary educational pursuit at Baptist High School and later Itohan Girls Grammar School both in Benin City from 1969 – 1975. Thereafter, she gained admission into the North Dakota Universisty in Fargo, North Dakota, USA , where she obtained a BSc degree in Home Economics in 1979. She subsequently obtained a Master’s of Science degree in Nutrition from the same University in 1982.
Professor Salami returned to Nigeria to observe her National Youth Service (NYSC) in 1982 and proceeded to obtain her PhD degree in Human Nutrition at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in 1991. Due to her passion for education, she studied for and was awarded a Post Graduate Diploma in Education by the University of Benin in 2001 and a Post doctoral degree in Tourism and Hospitality, this time from the Vaal University of Technology, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, in 2005.
This highly productive Academic started her career as Research Assistant in North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, United States of America, in 1979. Subsequently, she returned to Nigeria and was employed as Assistant Lecturer by the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, in Oyo State, Nigeria. she proceeded to the Ramat Polytechnic, Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria, and later to the University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria, where she rose to the position of Senior Lecturer in 1994. She returned to the University of Benin in 1994. She rose to become a Professor in 2005.
Prof. Lilian Imuetinyan Salami is hardworking, purposeful and result-oriented. In recognition of her attributes, she has been appointed to several positions of trust and responsibility in the University of Benin and outside the University.
It is worthy of note that Professor Salami is the first female Professor and first female Dean in the Faculty of Education, University of Benin.
At the commencement of her second term as Dean of the faculty of Education, Professor Salami was on the 1st of August 2016, appointed by the Federal Government as the Director General/Chief Executive of the National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA, NIGERIA) Ondo State; a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Education.
Her excellent performance in transforming NIEPA has been widely acknowledged by the host community and other persons.
Three years into her appointment as Director General/CE, she was on the 26th of October, 2019, appointed as the tenth substantive Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin by the University’s Governing Council after a credible and transparent interview process. This astute Administrator, experienced academic, out-standing Educationist and strategic planner is and the second female Vice Chancellor and the first indigenous female Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin.
Professor Lilian has publications in excess of 75 reference articles and proceedings. She has served as editor, co-editor and consulting editor to many journals both nationally and internationally.
She has been keynote Address Presenter in numerous conferences including the 2017 Ondo State Education summit, 14th International Nutrition conference in Calabar, 5th Biennial Home economics Research Association Conference in Ghana, 2019, Benin women Conference amongst others.
Prof. Lilian is a Fellow of the international Federation of Home Economics (IFHE).
She is also a pioneer member of African Nutrition leadership programme, South Africa.
Prof. Lilian has also been involved in initiatives to improve the quality of lives of people including the physically challenged. No wonder she has been an active and valued member of the Board of Trustees of the National Association of People with Disabilities (NAPVID).
She assumed duty as Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin on December 2, 2019. In spite of the lull of the global pandemic and paucity of funds, she has set about working to transform the University by embarking on the renovation of several structures in the two campuses and creating numerous platforms for ensuring improved academic activities.