New Narrative Of LASU : PROF. Lanre A. Fagbohun, PhD, SAN, NPOM To The Rescue!

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“There Is Nothing More Beautiful Than Someone Who Goes Out Of Their Way To Make Life Beautiful For Others.” – Mandy Hale

In less than Six (6) months except for divine approval of positive pronouncement(s), the 8th substantive Vice Chancellor of the prestigious Lagos State University; Prof. Olanrewaju Adigun Fagbohun, SAN, NPOM, will be bidding the Ivory Tower farewell, leaving the Institution’s office of the Vice Chancellor and the whole Institution far better than he met it. The curtain will be drawn and it will be all over for a Five (5) year single term in office! But, still the slogan “We are LASU, We are Proud!” will continue to resonate across the length and breadth of the beautiful University premises and in the peaceful minds of Undergraduates, Postgraduates, the Alumni and all Stakeholders

What about the historic Lagos State University Anthem? Your LASU! MY LASU! and Our LASU has successfully joined the league of favorites Academic Institutions – the Universities across the world with Institution Anthem. Bravo!

Hmmm…looking back, he took the reigns of leadership at a time the University was nearly in disarray. At a period when there was no peace and industrial harmony. A period when staff (Teaching and Non – Teaching), Unions and students are not on the same page, challenges all around. A time when the citadel of learning was in total state of comatose. Virtually all the Stakeholders were no longer proud of the University. Apparently, in the academia “there was little love lost”. Some graduates on the outside then were clamouring for certificates thereby bringing disrepute to the Institution and equally smearing her image.

Some people even said before Professor Lanre A. Fagbohun, SAN, NPOM, Lagos State University (LASU) was an Institution trouble, too many ” One Week, One Trouble” Then, People of no mean stature, philanthropists and Corporate Bodies were not ready to partner with the Institution, but, today, all is history! This is evident in the 250 seater Aderemi Makanjuola Lecture Theater, the CBT centre, Bus donated by one of the Honourables and many more donations and international collaborations achieved under his watch.
LASU, NOW ONE WEEK! ONE PROGRESS! That is the current beautiful narrative of Lagos State University where all students and graduates are simply world class, and are now proud!

As at then, Lagos State Government too was almost losing interest in the socio – academic activities of the only State – owned University. And was almost drawing conclusion when an announcement was made on the vacant position of the office of the Vice Chancellor.

Little did the University know that this would be the turning point for the story of the Institution.

The noble and humble Professor of Environmental Law was saddled with the great responsibility of being the Numero Uno at this critical period and was categorically requested to steer the ship of the Institution to a promised land of the Forefathers. At this point, anyone could had thought or simply believed that this was going to be an enormous/huge task and, probably a hard nut to crack for the Akesan Crowned Prince.

He was humbled enough to take the baton of leadership from his predecessor – the 7th substantive Vice Chancellor; Prof. John Oladapo Obafunwa, a medical expert and professor of Forensic Pathology.

Prof. Fagbohun was inaugurated for the apex job at the University on 6th January, 2006 and assumed the new office with candour on Monday, 11th January, 2006. This writer was so privileged to be among the staff that welcomed him very specially and warmly to his new office at the Faculty of Science new building then. He was on suit, but, as soon as he began to address the mamonth members of the University Community that greeted his arrival, he pulled the jacket, rolled up his sleeves and made them to understand that he was really ready for the task, he had not come to a party at the University and that for real the entire University was in for a great transformation so far all members of the Institution would be ready to support and assist him at the points of need/s. He asked them a question after a brief speech and the question was “Are you ready to join me in taking the University to greater height?” And all present at the all important gathering (Teaching and Non – Teaching) staff answered affirmatively that “We are READY”!

Can we now say both parties by the word “both parties” this writer means, the Vice Chancellor and the entire members of the University Community had fulfilled their respective roles in taking the University to her Pride of Place in the Comity of Universities not only in Nigeria, but, in the World at large? If the answer is an emphatic YES, then you will strongly believe and agree with me that this particular write up can not exhaust the current University Vice Chancellor and other members of the Management’s unprecedented, landmark and laudable list of achievements recorded at the Preferred University within the approved Five (5) Year single term for his tenure. At the University, and as far as the story of LASU is concerned, it is a case of different person or people with different positive story/ies depending on the angle at which you are writing from. If I may ask you, will you be interested to have update on academic improvement, physical infrastructure/beautification of environment, promotion/upgrading, academic linkages, alumni contributions, important donations, clearance of backlog of certificates, skills and career development, collaboration with the State and Federal Government, state of accreditation all academic programmes, relationships that exist within the University, Media involvement and list of inaugural lectures delivery, healthy rivalry among the various Faculties/College/School in the area of public lectures and more, shortly, t will be here. But, over all it has all been positive stories, though, there could still be room for improvement(s).

In one of the interviews conducted for him, he once said “…I will work hard to complete my onerous assignment in Four (4) years and will use the last one (1) year as Evaluation.” True to his words, the Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law in all fairness and without prejudice had almost completed if not completed the Five (5) strategic imperatives outlined in his unique agenda for the University

Have you ever come in contact with the world – class Prof. ‘Lanre Fagbohun’s Agenda for the University? I mean the Agenda he brought to the Institution in 2016 – the 32 paged Book that this writer called “THE GREEN” Book in one of his write – ups on his page i.e “THE COMPASS” that the illustrious son of Awori, Lagos, made use of, in providing the critical leadership for the Highest Academic Institition of Learning in the Smart City of Lagos? If NO, let me without playing with your valuable time speedily reveal the Five (5) Strategic Imperatives (5SIs) as well articulated in his Vision Statement :

(1). TO RESTORE PEACE AND ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE TO THE LAGOS STATE UNIVERSITY [Create an intellectually/socially stimulating environment conducive to the provision of top – qaulity education that can produce graduates whose qualifications are internationally recognized and locally applicable.]
(2). TO FOSTER HIGH LEVEL – SCHOLARSHIP AND CREATE NEW KNOWLEDGE [Give leadership that will restore academic integrity and encourage international linkages, Review and implement with Council LASU’s approved Strategic Plan
(3). TO CONSOLIDATE ON PREVIOUS GAINS – Aggresively revamp collapsed infrastructure. (4). CLEAR ROAD MAP FOR ATTRACTING FUNDS [To meet implementation of programs and activities.
(5). TO MAKE LASU A VALUED PARTNER TO LASG, THE NATION AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY [Put in place structures within 6months assumption].

All the aforementioned have their strategically outlined method of implementation in the popular “Green Book”.

Little wonder the prolific and highly pragramtic Vice Chancellor with the brilliant members of the University Management were able to achieve so much within Sixty (60) months.
A BIG THANKS TO “THE COMPASS”!

In about 4 years and 7months the handwriting of these strategic imperatives are all over the wall within and outside the Ivory Tower both locally and internationally. The achievements both in abstract and in physical are too numerous to mention here as the Institution had been set on an auto -pilot.

Paramount of the achievements aside the restoration of peace include; the internationalization of the Institution’s academic programmes, revitalization of the dead academic programmes (Foundation JUPEB, some programmes at the Postgraduate School and Pre – Degree Studies [PDS] and the introduction of the new ones.

There is a song in the Christendom that says “…Count your blessings name them one by one Count your blessings see what the Lord has done, Count your blessings name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” Although, in the word of Kenyan freedom fighter, Oginga Odinga “…it is not yet Uhuru”, but, we can say it is almost over!

The Vice Chancellor too in the middle of one of the Four (4) consecutive and peacefully conducted University Convocations, precisely, at the Coconut Breaking Festival, sang a song in Yoruba that goes thus “Ka sa ma dupe loto (2ce), Oro wa o gbejo wewe, Ka sa ma dupe loto.” – Meaning We only need to be thankful all the time because We need not to be engaging in too lengthy or much talks”. This absolutely summarises the whole lot of the achievements and successes at the citadel of learning where academic excellence is first.

Four (4) beautifully collated and packaged Annual Reports from the Prof. R.O Okuneye – led Lagos State University Annual Report Collation Committee – another brilliant initiative of the Vice Chancellor. The Annual Report for each year brings to sister Universities all over the world and other Academic related Institutions, the socio – academic activities of Faculties, College, Schools, Departments, Service Centres and Units of the University annually. It showcases the potentials of our dear University.

For people who will like to see and read the list of achievements of the University Managemment during his 5 – year term in office i.e between Monday, 11th January – 11th January, 2021, this writer promises to collate and bring some of the uniquely Unique breakthroughs and successes soon.

Remember Prof. Lanre A . Fagbohun, SAN, NPOM, style of administration is about “ALL INCLUSIVE GOVERNANCE” spiced up with “CONSULTATIVE APPROACH” and the “WE APPROACH” Mantra. The Language of discourse at the University has continued to be DIALOGUE AND ROBUST ENGAGEMENT.

*”LASU IS NOW PART OF ELITE INSTITUTIONS IN NIGERIA”* – Prof. Jamil Salmi said this when Lagos State University emerged as Africa Centre of Excellence in 2018).

Prof. Olanrewaju A. Fagbohun, SAN, NPOM, though is in the twilight of his administration, definitely will be leaving a big shoe to fill for the would be 9th substantive Vice Chancellor in the next couple of months. This is a general notion and strong belief of not only members of the University Community, but, also being constantly discussed by all the Stakeholders, including, the Government circle and the Media

Former Vice Chancellors of the University, Prof. Folabi Olumide (1st Vice Chancellor; 1983 – 1988) and Prof. Abisogun Leigh (2001 – 2005) had at different times and on different ground/event glowingly appraised and commended the outstanding performance(s) of Prof. ‘Lanre A. Fagbohun, PhD, SAN, NPOM, at the 36 year old Institution.

The former Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Distinguished Professor Peter Okebukola, OFR, once described the Vice Chancellor, Prof. ‘Lanre A. Fagbohun, SAN, NPOM as arguably the BEST Vice Chancellor in the annals of history of the Lagos State University.

In the words of Mr. Chika Nwaozuzu – the Chairman, Governing Council, Nigerian Model United Nations – a Parent Body for Nigerian International Tertiary Institution Model United Nations (NITIMUNS) where Lagos State University participated in three (3) consecutive editions – 2017, 2018 and 2019, and won the award of “Best School Delegation” for a record of 3 times back – to – back, he said “…Jerry! I read in one of the reports recently that the Vice Chancellor of your Institution will soon leave.” After confirming this to him he said again “…hmm! this Vice Chancellor must be celebrated. This is a Vice Chancellor who loves all his students, a Vice Chancellor who is ever proud of the students and who also appreciates his staff…Jerry any moment you people want to honor or celebrate him, do let me know, I will come and I will talk. Believe me, this man is going places.” Chika expressed.

More to write but for the limited space and not to bore you, let me stop here as you hopefully and gleefully await the social – academic record of achievements in 5 years!

“WHATEVER YOU KNOW HOW TO DO BEST, CONTINUE TO DO THEM, THERE IS ALWAYS A REWARD FOR EVERYTHING”

One of the practicable, workable and interesting quotes of the Vice Chancellor states thus; “WE NEED TO MOVE FROM THE ERA OF WHEN THINGS IMPROVE OR ARE BETTER PEOPLE WILL BE HAPPY TO THE ERA OF WHEN PEOPLE ARE HAPPY THINGS WILL IMPROVE AND BETTER.” – LASU VC

This is a short story of the Preferred University in the State of Aquatic Splendour, Centre of Excellence in the last 55months!

Let’s learn and cultivate the habit of doing good

He has played his part in the systematic and chronological unique process of rewriting the history of a once “troubled” Nigeria University.

His words “Our Promise…Our Bond!”

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