Osun VC brouhaha, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) state of Osun chapter kicks against disenfranchising medically qualified aspirants.

The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) state of Osun chapter has kicked against what they described as technically disenfranchising the medically qualified aspirants from the contest for the vacant seat of the Vice Chancellor of the university.

This was made know in the world press conference addressed by the association on Tuesday 17th of August 2021 at the NMA house, Osogbo,state of Osun.

Thepress conference reads in part 👇

Gentlemen of the press, hearty greetings from NMA Osun and thank you for

honouring our call.

This press briefing is to bring to the notice of the government and the public the ugly and dehumanizing issue occurring at the state apex educational institution, Osun State University and to express Osun NMA’S absolute displeasure on this issue.

Recently, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof Labode Popoola brought out an advertisement requesting for application for the post of the Vice-Chancellor in the ivory tower. The advertisement specifically requested for only candidates with doctoral degree for which it was interpreted to be the possession of PhD. This move is seen as a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise the medical lecturers who possess the postgraduate Fellowship (which is the highest academic and professional qualification of the medical profession). This stand is completely unacceptable to the Nigerian Medical Association, Osun State Chapter.

As a post-secondary school student seeking for admission you cannot be admitted to study medicine if you are not above average amongst your peer because the cut-off marks for Medicine & Surgery and Dentistry, and some other professional courses like Law and Engineering, are the highest in almost all institutions offering the courses. And when you are admitted the rigor in going through the career is so enormous. Medical curriculum is not run on semester basis like other courses but continuous medical postings of which you can only have one or two weeks break with each posting, sometimes after four to six months posting. No end of semester holiday like others. Also doctors spend minimum of six years to qualify after which a compulsory. housemanship has to be done for one year. You will agree with me that if such person runs a four year BSc programme he would have completed his/her Masters degree before the doctor finishes his/her housemanship. The doctors’ residency program takes minimum of 4 to 8 years to obtain the Fellowship which is the highest academic and professional qualification to teach and practise medicine. A doctor in residency for 6 to 8 years would have completed three PhDs programme if he does them serially.. The PhD is at par with the first degree of medicine (MBBS). The National Postgraduate Medical College recently introduced the MD degree for medical trainees who may not be willing to complete the Fellowship programme- an option lower than the fellowship degree academically. If a Medical Professor has undergone these rigorous of Research. Training. and Service to get to this position, it is quite irritating to say such a person cannot lead the University community which he belongs. A Medical Professor can be the Head of department, Dean, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor but cannot become the Vice-Chancellor. What a paradox! College of Health Sciences is one of the very important Colleges in the University and yet you say a Professor from such college cannot become the chief executive of the university if he does not possess PhD.

Other contents of the advertisement are also obnoxious, a demand of Researchgate score of 15.0 and 800 citations is far-fetched. None of the three Vice-Chancellers UNIOSUN has produced, including the incumbent, has these qualifications. The incumbent Vice-Chancellor, Professor Labo Popoola has an H-index of 11 on Google Scholar instead of the advertised 15. He has 284 Researchegate Citations instead of the 800 advertised and 15.29 Researchgate score.

The National University Commision (NUC) guidelines stipulate Medical Fellowships DEGREE of (National Postgraduate College or West African Postgraduate College and other equivalent certificates) as entry point for appointment as Lecturer I in the Faculty of Clinical Sciences and Basic Medical Sciences. The same NUC guidelines determine that PhD Certificate holders of all other disciplines be appointed as Lecturer 11 similar to MBBS certificates holders. A fresh PhD holder will need three more years to attain the position of Lecture 1.

By the NUC guidelines, the medical Fellowship is the minimum as well as the highest degree required to be a Clinical Lecturer. The Medical Fellowship awarded by the National Post-graduate Medical College of Nigeria (NPMCN) or its equivalent is both an Academic and Professional doctorate degree.

UNIOSUN establishment law 2006 First schedule (officers of the University) No 3 (3) Subject to this paragraph, the Vice Chancellor shall hold office on the terms as may be specified in his instrument of appointment. The person to be appointed a VC must be a Distinguished Scholar with outstanding academic and administrative records. The person must possess a Doctorate degree and a professor of not less than ten years standing. This is contrary to other Universities establishment laws (Federal and states) in the country in that it failed to provide for the Certificates higher (Fellowship) than or equivalent to Doctorate degree. This provision notwithstanding and recognizing it as a flaw, the UNIOSUN Council in 2014 recommended amongst others for appointment as Vice-Chancellor, a distinguished Professor of Chemical Pathology with ONLY FELLOWSHIP DEGREE, and who was subsequently appointed the second substantive Vice Chancellor of OSUN STATE UNIVERSITY Professor Okesina.

To avoid unrests within the university system resulting from the requirement of PhD for the Vice Chancellor’s position of the University of Jos, it’s Council removed the possession of PhD from its requirements for the position of Vice-Chancellor after the 2011 selection exercise which resulted in unrests and litigations. The exclusion of PhD (by the Council of the University of Jos) as a requirement for the VC position was recognized by law and used as a reason for the judicial pronouncement in the suit number FHC/J/CS/23/2011 of NMA Vs Unidos

The University of Ibadan in its recent advert for the position of VC made being a scholar of international repute its main requirement for the position of VC and did not include the possession of doctorate (PhD in particular). Where PhD is stated as a requirement (by other institutions) for the VC’s position, its equivalent is also included in line with international best practice. An example is the University of Gambia (a University that UNIOSUN is in-collaboration with) which has just put up an advertisement for the post of VC, the PhD or the equivalent degree was specified in line with international best practices.

The initial advertisement for the Position of Vice-Chancellor at the Lagos State University, LASU was similar to the UNIOSUN advert. But the Lagos State government gave the order to reverse this which culminated in the latest advert that is all encompassing and not disenfranchising the medically qualified Professors in that institution. The Lagos State government took this decision when rational thinking prevailed over mediocrity.

Similar to the precedence in UNIOSUN, holders of the prestigious and internationally recognized medical Fellowships (without PhD) are currently serving, or have previously served, as VCs in First generation and even Newer generation Nigerian Universities. Examples are as follows:

Prof Adeoye Lambo (UI 1967-1971,Psychiatry)

Prof Babatunde Kwaku-Adadevoh (Unilag 1978-1980: Chemical Pathology)

Prof Akinpelu Oludele Akinsola (Unilag 1981-1988, Surgery)

Prof Adeoye Adeniyi (Unilorin 1992-1997, Pediatrics)

Prof Fatin Akesode (LASU 1997-2001, Pediatrics)

Prof Oladosu Ojengbede (UI Acting VC 1995-1996, Obstetrics & Gynaecology)

Prof Ayodele Falase (UI 2000-2004. Internal Medicine)

Prof Isaac Adewole (UL 2010-2014, Obstetrics & Gynaecology)

Prof John Obafunwa (LASU 2011-2015, Pathology)

Prof Abdulmumini Rafindadi (Federal University Lokoja 2011-2016, Pathology)

Prof Benjamin Ozumba (UNN. 2014-2019) Obstetrics & Gynaecology)

Prof Chigozie Ogbu (Ebonyi State University, 2017 till date, Pediatrics).

These men are/were scholars who did not only conduct high-quality researches but trained tens of scholars who have gone ahead to train even more scholars. To say that a medical doctor who has reached the apex of his or her career through research and training is not qualified to become a professor or lead a university is to crode the successes of these heroes past. To say that medical doctors need to have PhDs in a specialty before they can teach medical students is to say that Harvard University’s Dean of Medical Education, Professor Edward M. Hundert needs a PhD, that Professor William Giannobile, the Dean of Harvard School of Dental Medicine needs a PhD or that Professor Mark Emberton, Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University College, London, requires a PhD.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Consequent upon the above observations, we request immediate withdrawal of the aforementioned

advertisement for the post of the V-C of UNIOSUN.

2. We demand a fresh advertisement be put forward stating possession of PhD or it’s equivalent Certificate

including Fellowship. In the alternative, the possession of PhD be removed and replaced with scholar of

international repute like University of Ibadan.

3. The fresh advertisement SHALL also exclude all external origin, bias and deliberate specifications that have no major bearing on the FUNCTIONS of the University Chief Executive as separate from only a

researcher in the University.

4. This is in line with International best practice and will prevent a DELIBERATE EXCLUSION of clinical lecturers with Fellowship degree ONLY and who are qualified, from the selection process for the position of

the VC as in the current advertisement.

5. Carrier progression of clinical lecturers should not be subject to attainment of PhD as clearly stated in NUC communication to Universities as it is being handled at the National level by the NPMCN, NUC and other

relevant bodies.

6. The current ongoing amendment to the 2006 UNIOSUN establishment law MUST CORRECT the

Exclusion and erring provision in 3 (3) and bring the law in line with global best practices. 7. The University council should be just and fair to all so as to engender peace within the University

community to enable progress and growth.

Osun state has witnessed harmony and stability in the health and education sectors under the present administration due to proactive and rational ways of conducting the affairs of these sectors by Mr Governor,

Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola and his team, NMA Osun has made several peaceful moves to abate any disharmony in any of these sectors. We sincerely appreciate the Honourable Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Rt Honourable Timothy Owoeye for his attention and actions.

The press statement over the weekend by the Osun State University PRO Mr Ademola Adesuji is ill conceived and quite unfortunate; saying that the qualification for the position of VC in Uniosun remains as advertised is devoid of rational reasoning. The statement that UNIOSUN is not LASU and LASU is not UNIOSUN is quite embarrassing to the government and the good people of the state. Lagos State government saw reasons with the genuine agitations of Lagos NMA, MDCAN and others and withdrew the similar advertisement initially released by the Lagos State University and replaced with another one which is all encompassing and does not discriminate against any sector of the academia. Mr. Ademola Adesoji’s statement will heat up the system and disrupt the peace that this government seeks in all sectors of Osun State.

We are appealing to the Governor and the Visitor to the Osun State University, His Excellency, Alhaji Ghoyega Oyetola to look into the edict of the university with the aim of speedy executive amendment and approval to be all encompassing to the entire UNIOSUN academia. We believe in your willingness to do this. Sir, as always demonstrated when confronted with such issues.

Osun NMA wants peace in the education and health sectors, and indeed other sectors, in Osun. We pray the government and the authorities of Osun State University to review the situation with acceptable solutions.

Signed:

Dr. Rasaq.A. Akindele

The Chairman

Or Emmanuel.O. Folami

Secretary

Dr Oluwasina T.Salami

PRO.

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