…As Chioma Ajunwa, ACP Olatunji Disu, Prof. Fagbohun, others, win prizes at the varsity’s maiden edition of “Excellence Awards”
By Chika Abanobi
The new slogan, “We are LASU and We Are Proud,” created by Prof. ‘Lanre Fagbohun, Vice Chancellor of Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, to galvanise the workforce, teaching and non-teaching, students and staff alike, to fight corruption and indiscipline wherever they can see it, even in hell, the abode of Satan, and to ginger them up to go for the very best in academic and administrative matters, came into play recently at the University’s maiden edition of “Excellence Awards” organised to reward hardworking, dutiful and deserving staff and alumni.
To demonstrate that the catchphrase is not mere sloganeering intended to titillate the ears and inflame imagination, Prof. Fagbohun set up a carefully selected award committee to make the university community truly proud to belong to LASU by doling out, like Christmas hampers, meritorious awards in various categories: Teaching Excellence; Best Staff (Non-Teaching, Senior and Junior categories); Departmental Award (Senior and Junior categories), Sports Award (Internal and External), Vice Chancellor’s Award for Service Delivery and awards for distinguished security personnel.
While nine people, respectively, were given awards in “Teaching Excellence” and “Department Best” (Senior category), six, respectively, were honoured in “Departmental Best” (Junior category) and “Sport” (Internal). Three people, in each group, received the “Excellence Award” in “Best Staff” (Non-Teaching, Senior and Junior categories) and “Sport” (External). While two staff were honoured with Vice Chancellor’s Award for Service Delivery, 20 security operatives were given awards for distinguishing themselves in their various duty posts.
In all, 58 teaching and non-teaching staff, and three external personalities including Mrs. Chioma Ajunwa (the first African woman to win an Olympic gold medal in a field event) and, today, a Divisional Police Officer (DPO), with the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), were honoured with awards.
Other distinguished awardees include Prof. Gabriel Shonaike, of Department of Chemical and Polymer Engineering (Overall Teaching Excellence), Dr. Jacob Olufemi Fatile, Public Administration (1st Runners-Up, Overall Teaching Experience), Mr. David Semawon Ogungbe, Overall Best Staff, Senior Category, (Registry), Mrs. Abosede Janet Osafehinti, 1st Runners Up (Health Services), Mr. Olushina Adeogun, Overall Best Staff, Junior Category (Security, Vice Chancellor’s Office), Mr. Adeyemi Nasiru Oseni, 1st Runners Up Best Staff).
Under Departmental Best, Senior Category, the following emerged worthy awardees: Mr. Albert Adebayo Odugbemi (Multi-Media Best Staff), Mr. Anthony Gbetobo Aimiton (Security Unit Best Staff), Mr. Adewale Olumuyiwa Aina (Works Best Staff), Mr. Olasunkanmi Monsuru Owolabi (Bursary Best Staff), Mrs. Motunrayo Dupe Olusoga (Staff School Best Staff), Mr. Martins Ademola Adekoya (Centre for Information, Press and Public Relations, CIPPR Best Staff, Vice Chancellor’s Office) and Mr. Segla Olusegun Hokon, Academic Planning Best Staff (Vice Chancellor’s office).
Among those honoured under Sport (Internal) was Olantunji Disu, an alumnus who graduated, about 26 years ago, from the university’s Department of Educational Management but who is today Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) with the Nigeria Police Force. And, the two senior staff who won the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Efficient Service Delivery include Dr. Mrs. Bosede. O. Amoo, of the University Multimedia who the Vice Chancellor said was supposed to be away on a sabbatical but had to cancel it in obedience to VC’s appeal to her because of her passion for the university. “I begged her not to go. I said, Lagos State University needs you,” Prof. Fagbohun said. “If she had gone for that sabbatical she would have been collecting salary from both sides, over there and here. But she obeyed and stayed”
Mr. S. Kehinde Ismail, with the Registar’s office also won the VC’s Award for Efficient Service Delivery for his dedication to duty. “This gentleman will never ask for sitting allowance,” the VC announced while calling him out to the podium for the award. “If you call this man on Saturday he would be there. This gentleman would write minutes for you and you will not need to correct it. He is committed and passionate about the institution.” The master of ceremony was to later joke about the awards which came with handsome monetary prizes that with the amount is their kitty the two recipients are already out of Buhari’s recession. “If you continue with the way you are going by this time next year it might be one million,” he said.
The way the award has been done was such that even the students were involved in the selection process and the management made it an anonymous process, such that there was a high level of objectivity, fairness and transparency, the Vice Chancellor explained.
“If you look at what has been happening in the last one year, you will see that all of us, we have been so much at it, pushing the frontiers at the different stables that we have found ourselves,” he said at the beginning of the award. “So ordinarily what we should have today is a plaque for each and every one of us. That is what we should have but if we do that we would not encourage ourselves to push the frontiers of excellence and that is why even though we are all stretching ourselves, we have been able to pick 1,2,3,4, people, that we are going to say, these ones have gone beyond the limits. They have gone ahead to further stretch themselves. The idea is we must continue to deepen healthy competition and rivalry amongst ourselves.
“If you don’t get an award today, it means, you need to do more than you are doing now, if you get an award today, you should realise that it is not certain that ordinarily you will get it again next year, so, so many other people will be desirous of getting you off the feat, so what is going to happen today is an opportunity for us to encourage ourselves in terms of what we have been doing. Those who would get the award, we congratulate you. Those who don’t get the award, do not despair, know that you just need to do more.”
But in the course of it all, he himself ended up being forced to partake in the eating of the meal he had helped to prepare even when he was not minded to do so. He ended up being bestowed with what one would call the grand commander of the awards: “Qualitative/Quality Transformation Award” of the university, an award-giving coup that Prof. Peter Okebukola, former Vice Chancellor of the University, former Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), planned and carefully executed together with members of his Quality Assurance Implementation Committee, of which he is the Chairman.
The award which Prof. Okebukola stated is being bestowed on him for his “uncommon commitment to improving quality in all aspects of the university system and for his unprecedented transformation of the academic environment of the university within a year of assuming office as Vice Chancellor of the university,” from the look of things took Fagbohun by surprise, as he was not expecting it. Rather, he was there to bestow on other deserving awardees their awards.
In their responses, Dr. Fatile who spoke on behalf of the recipients (teaching and non-teaching staff), while thanking the management, noted that the awards will continue to motivate them to do more while Disu who did, on behalf of external awardees said that it will continue to help him to remember his alma mater for good each time he looks at it. “The best award anybody can get is the award given by your school,” he said.