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University Of Benin Gets Her Second Female Vice Chancellor

Prof. L.I Salami

By Muhammad Naseer Abdullahi

The University of Benin, an academic institution existing over four decades, was birthed in 1971. Section 3 of the University of Benin Act, Cap U3 LFN, 2004 provides for the establishment of the university as a body cooperate, capable of perpetual, independent existence with a common seal.

It is headed by a vice-chancellor in the absence of the Chancellor and pro-chancellor. The functions of the vice-chancellor as a general administrator of the university as provided for in section 7 of the University of Benin Act is instructive in this regards.

Section 3 to the first schedule of the University of Benin Act provides for the establishment of the office of the Vice-Chancellor. Section 4 of the First schedule to the Act and other subsequent sections, therein contain, provide for the procedure for appointment of a vice-chancellor. The sections are to the effect that where the office of the VC becomes vacant, the University Governing Council shall place an advert, inviting qualified persons to apply for the office of the VC, on a reputable journal and national newspapers.

The council is also required thereafter to set up a search team to look for suitable persons within the university environment who are qualified to apply but refuse to apply on personal grounds of moral conviction. The team is to consist of two members of congress (one of which must be a professor) two members of senate, who are not members of council (one must be a professor) and to be headed by a member of council who is not a member of senate.

A list from applicants and those identified by the search team is compiled and presented to a joint committee of senate and council, headed by the pro-chancellor, two members of senate who were not part of the search team and not members of council and two members of congress who were not part of the search team and not members of senate. They are to make a shortlist of three persons based on interviews conducted and consideration of their CVs, and present same to the Council, which will list the three shortlisted in order of preference, stating reasons and criteria for grading them as such, and forward the list to the president of Nigeria, who shall appoint any of the three as VC.

As Prof. F.F.O Orumwense is billed to take his bow out of the office as University of Benin's VC on November 30th, 2019, the law was set in motion to get another University don to pilot the affairs of the University for a single and unrenewable term of five years. The search gracefully came to an end yesterday, the 25th of October, 2019 when the sexagenarian Proffesor of education; Lillian Imuetinya Salami, was announced the 10th substantive vice-chancellor of the University of Benin.

This came as a shock to some, but not to many who are conversant with the provision of section 19 of the University of Benin's Act, which promote gender equality for all and sundry. The section guarantees for all, irrespective of religious inclination, tribal extraction, gender ascription and political affiliation, an equal playing ground to aspire and excel in their endeavour in the university. And the appointment of Prof Salami, a female as VC, goes to show how high the University holds section 19 in its affairs. More so, this is not the first time a female is heading the university as VC. The school prides itself as the first to have ever produced a female VC in Nigeria as far back as 1985, in the person of Prof. Grace Allele Williams.

And she performed creditably. Fought to a stand still cultism that had almost brought to rubbish the academic integrity of the university. That's Grace Allele Williams, a Prof. of Mathematics, a no nonsense woman, who has earned a niche for herself in the history of VCs of the university of Benin.

It's now time to unveil the personality bearing the toga of the next vice-chancellor of the University of Benin. Prof. Lilian I. Salami (Nee Emovon), although appointed yesterday, 25th of October 2019, is however, to resume office on the 2nd of December, 2019.

She is a Plateau state born Benin woman who has most of her educational qualifications in the United States of America. She had her Phd in 1991 in Human Nutrition from the University of Nigeria, Nsuka, and has taught that course at the Universities of Ife, Maiduguri and Benin.

 She joined the University of Benin as a senior lecturer with the Faculty of Education and rose to the enviable status of a professor in the field of Home Economics and Nutrition in 2005.
She had served in several university committees, directorates, departments and is the immediate past dean of Education. She is currently with the National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration as the Director.

She has over 75 articles in both local and international journals of repute and is popular among students as the co-author of the peace and conflict resolution text for a course offered by all undergraduate students of the university as part of their General studies course.

Professor Salami delivered the University's inaugural lecture series 206 on nutrition in 2018, where she enlightened the audience on the choice of preference between sugar and honey and whether there could be substitute for any or both. She has to her credit over 40 Masters and 15 Phd projects earned under her supervision.

Outside academy and career, she is a grandmother and a member of the advisory council to the Oba of Benin. In 2017, she and other 9 women, alongside wife of the the Ooni of Ife emerged the 7th Ondo Female Role Model of the year.

Salami means peace and Lilian means Love, there is nothing more desirous for development to strive in any institution than both. It is our hope that her reign witnesses those two virtues she carries in her names.

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