International Women’s Day is globally celebrated annually on March 8 as a focal point in the women’s rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, as well as violence and abuse against women.
It is also a day to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness about discrimination and take action to drive gender parity.
The PUNCH has highlighted six female vice-chancellors in Nigeria in commemoration of the IWD 2023:
1. Lilian Salami – UNIBEN
Prof Lillian Salami is the second female vice-chancellor of the University of Benin, Edo State. Prof Grace Alele-Williams became the first female VC of the institution in 1985.
Salami is also a fellow of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria and the International Federation of Home Economics/Home Professionals Association of Nigeria.
Born in Jos, Salami who hails from Edo State, started her education in Jos, but due to the Nigerian Civil War from 1967 to 1970, she had to move to Edo State for her secondary education. She attended Baptist High School, Benin City.
She then proceeded to the United States of America and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Home Economics, and a Master’s degree in Nutrition at the North Dakota State University in 1979 and 1982 respectively, before returning home to serve her fatherland in the mandatory National Youth Service Corps scheme, in Benin City.
Salami was appointed as Vice-Chancellor in 2019, after holding several administrative positions, which include being Head of the Department from 1996 to 1998 at the University of Benin; Chairman of the Board of the University of Benin Integrated Enterprise, Director of General Studies, director of a part-time programme; and Director General of the National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration, Ondo State.
2. Florence Obi – UNICAL
Prof Florence Obi is the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar.
A professor of special education, she is the 11th substantive VC of the institution, and UNICAL’s first female vice-chancellor. Before her appointment, she was the deputy VC of the university (academic), as well as a one-time Commissioner for Women Affairs in Cross River State.
A PhD degree holder in the Psychology of Education from the University of Calabar, Obi began her academic career as an assistant lecturer at the Institute of Education, University of Calabar in 1990.
Obi had her elementary education at St Bridget’s Primary School, Ogep Osokom, Boki, Cross River State. She also attended St Thomas’s Teachers Training College, Ogoja, Cross River State, and graduated in 1983. She later obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education from the University of Calabar. In 1990, and she bagged a Master of Education degree in Special Education from the same institution.
She obtained her PhD in the Psychology of Education from the UNICAL in 2002.
In 2020, she beat 12 candidates to become the first female vice chancellor of the institution, succeeding Prof Zana Akpagu.
3. Prof Nnenna Oti – FUTO
Nnenna Oti is a professor of Soil Science and Environmental Conservation. She emerged as the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, beating six other candidates for the position.
Oti also has a postgraduate diploma in Irrigation Engineering from the Catholic University, Leuven, in Belgium.
She has spent over 34 years in academics, teaching research and administration within and outside Nigeria.
Before emerging as the first female vice-chancellor of FUTO, she was a three-time head of the school’s Department of Soil Science and Technology. She also chaired the Gender Policy Unit of the institution, and was the dean of its post-graduate school.
She succeeded Prof Francis Eze, whose tenure expired in June 2021. The university don beat her closest rival Prof Ikechukwu Dozie who scored 69.7 per cent to the seat, having scored 75.5 per cent, in a race contested by six candidates.
4. Prof Ibiyemi Bello – LASU
Professor Ibiyemi Bello, a professor of Physiology is the ninth Vice-Chancellor of Lagos State University, Lagos State.
Born in Ologbowo community Idumota, Lagos Island, on April 23, 1964, Bello attended Anglican Girls Grammar School in Surulere, Lagos, between 1970 and 1974. She also went to Methodist Girls’ High School, Yaba, Lagos for her secondary education between 1974 and 1979.
Bello proceeded to the Lagos State College of Science and Technology. She also studied at the University of Ibadan, where she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Physiology in 1985. Thereafter, she obtained a Master’s degree in Physiology from the University of Lagos in 1987. She also attended the University of Texas at San Antonio, Health Science Centre, San Antonio, United States of America, between 1994 and 1998.
She was as an assistant lecturer at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, and rose through the ranks, eventually becoming the first professor of physiology of the institution in 2007. She also served as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the Lagos State University in 2008.
She was also the acting Vice Chancellor of LASU from July to December 2010 and January to October 2011; Deputy Vice-Chancellor from December 2008 to December 2011; Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) from November 2011 to January 2013, and Head of the Department of Physiology, from October 2007 to December 2008.
She was the Lagos State government’s representative on the Lagos State University Governing Council between 2004 and 2008. She was also the institution’s Senate representative on the Governing Council.
5. Prof Kaletapwa Farauta – Adamawa varsity
Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri approved the appointment of Prof Kaletapwa Farauta as the substantive Vice-Chancellor of the Adamawa State University Mubi in 202o.
Until her appointment, she was the acting Vice-Chancellor of the institution. She had contested for the position alongside 25 others, out of which three top contenders emerged.
A seasoned academician, born November 28, 1965, in Numan, Adamawa State, Farauta had her elementary education at Numan II Primary School, Adamawa, from 1973 to 1979. She later attended Federal Government Girls College, Yola, also in Adamawa, from 1979 to 1983.
Before her VC appointment, Farauta had held some key leadership positions. She was the Executive Chairman of the Adamawa State Universal Basic Education Board from July to October 2014.
She also served as the Commissioner of Education in Adamawa State from August 2015 to July 2017. From there, she was appointed the acting vice-chancellor of ADSU by the Governor of Adamawa State, Senator Muhammad Jibrilla, on July 17, 2017.
Farauta has also rendered a lot of developmental services in various capacities. She has often spoken about her passion for adding value to humanity through hard work and sincerity.
6. Folasade Ogunsola – UNILAG
The University of Lagos, Akoka, appointed its first female Vice Chancellor on October 7, 2022.
Among seven candidates shortlisted for the institution’s top job, Professor Folasade Ogunsola, a Professor of Microbiology at the University’s College of Medicine, emerged as the institution’s 13th substantive Vice Chancellor to succeed Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, whose tenure elapses in November.
Ogunsola is the first female Vice Chancellor of UNILAG since its establishment 60 years ago.
She was also the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Development Services) of the institution between 2017 and 2021. She was acting vice chancellor of the institution for a short period in 2020 when the university was plunged into crisis as a result of the removal of the Vice Chancellor by the University Council.
Born in 1958, Ogunsola was raised in University of Ibadan where her father, Akin Mabogunje, was a lecturer.
For her secondary education, she attended Queen’s College, Lagos, between 1974 and 1982. She has a Master’s degree in Medical Microbiology from the College of Medicine, University of Lagos. She proceeded to the University of Wales, United Kingdom, between 1992 and 1997, for a doctorate in Medical Microbiology.