Every year on March 8, women’s rights activists around the world commemorate International Women’s Day as a way to highlight topics including gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women.
Also, it is a day to honor the accomplishments of women, spread awareness of discrimination, and take concrete steps toward achieving gender parity.
1. Lilian Salami – UNIBEN
The University of Benin in Edo State has a second female vice chancellor in Prof. Lillian Salami. In 1985, Prof. Grace Alele-Williams was named the institution’s first female vice-chancellor.
Salami is a fellow of the International Federation of Home Economics/Home Professionals Association of Nigeria as well as the Nutrition Society of Nigeria.
Salami, an Edo State native who was born in Jos, began her schooling there but had to go to Edo State for her secondary education because of the Nigerian Civil War, which lasted from 1967 to 1970. She went to Benin City Baptist High School.
She continued to the United States, where she graduated from North Dakota State University with a Master’s degree in Nutrition in 1982 and a Bachelor’s degree in Home Economics in 1979, before returning home to Benin City to participate in the mandated National Youth Service Corps program.
Salami was appointed vice chancellor in 2019. Before that, he held several administrative positions, including those of department head at the University of Benin from 1996 to 1998, board chairman of the university’s integrated enterprise, director of general studies, director of a part-time program, and director general of the national institute for educational planning and administration in Ondo State.
2. UNICAL Florence Obi
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar is Prof. Florence Obi. A professor of special education, she is the 11th substantive VC of the institution and UNICAL’s first female vice-chancellor. She formerly served as the university’s deputy vice chancellor for academics and as the state of Cross River’s former commissioner for women’s affairs.
Obi started her academic career in 1990 as an assistant lecturer at the Institute of Education, University of Calabar, where she earned her Ph.D. in the psychology of education.
St Bridget’s Primary School in Ogep Osokom, Boki, Cross River State is where Obi had her elementary education. She completed her studies at St. Thomas’ Teachers Training College in Ogoja, Cross River State, in 1983. She later graduated from the University of Calabar with a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education. She received her Master of Education in Special Education from the same institution in 1990.
In 2002, she graduated with a Ph.D. in educational psychology from UNICAL.
She defeated 12 contenders in 2020 to succeed Prof. Zana Akpagu as the institution’s first female vice-chancellor.
3. FUTO Prof. Nnenna Oti
Professor of soil science and environmental conservation, Nnenna Oti. She won the position of Vice Chancellor at the Federal University of Technology in Owerri over six other applicants.
Oti is a graduate of the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium with a diploma in irrigation engineering.
She has worked in academia for over 34 years, conducting research, teaching, and managing both inside and outside of Nigeria.
She served as the department head for the department of soil science and technology three times before becoming the first female vice-chancellor at FUTO. She was the head of the institution’s post-graduate school and served as chair of the gender policy unit.
4. LASU Professor Ibiyemi Bello
The ninth Vice-Chancellor of Lagos State University is Professor Ibiyemi Bello, a professor of physiology at Lagos State.
Born in the Ologbowo neighborhood of Idumota, Lagos Island, on April 23, 1964, Bello attended Anglican Girls Grammar School in Surulere, Lagos, between 1970 and 1974. For her secondary school, she also attended Methodist Girls’ High School in Yaba, Lagos, between 1974 and 1979.
Bello continued to the Lagos State College of Technology and Science. She also attended the University of Ibadan, where in 1985 she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physiology. Later, in 1987, she graduated with a Master’s in Physiology from the University of Lagos. She also studied at the Health Science Center at the University of Texas in San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in the United States.
She began working at the University of Lagos’ College of Medicine as an assistant lecturer and advanced through the ranks, finally becoming the department’s first professor of physiology in 2007. In 2008, she also held the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Lagos State University.
She also served as LASU’s acting vice-chancellor from July to December 2010 and from January to October 2011, as well as its deputy vice-chancellor from December 2008 to December 2011 and its deputy vice-chancellor (academic) from November 2011 to January 2013. From October 2007 to December 2008, she served as the department’s head.