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UB Gets Another Female As VC 

By Francis Wache & Walter Wilson Nana
— Another female, Dr. Pauline Nalova Lyonga, has been appointed to the post of Vice Chancellor, VC, at the University of Buea, UB.

Incoming VC; Dr Nalova (L) & Prof Titanji, outgoing

She is the second female VC of UB after Prof. Dorothy Njeuma, the pioneer VC who served from 1993 to 2006. Dr. Nalova Lyonga was appointed by a Presidential Decree on Friday, June 29. She takes over from Prof. Vincent Titanji who has been VC since 2007. Titanji is going on retirement.

Before her appointment, Nalova Lyonga (Associate Professor and scholar of English & Gender Studies) was Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Teaching, Professionalisation and Development of Information and Communication Technologies. She earlier served as Director of Academic Affairs.

After obtaining her BA from the University of Yaounde, Nalova Lyonga proceeded to the UK where she obtained an MA from Sheffield. She later moved to Ann Arbor University, Michigan in the US, for her Ph.D.

In 1993, Dr. Lyonga co-edited Anglophone Cameroon Writing. Six years later, she edited “Socrates in Cameroon: The Life and Works of Bernard Fonlon.” Nalova Lyonga has equally authored numerous articles on feminist theory and African literature.

A University don with sterling qualities as a scholar-researcher, she is known for her no-nonsense approach to academic matters.  After several years as a close aide to the venerated Prof. Bernard Nsokika Fonlon, Nalova Lyonga will stand in good stead in her long walk to academic excellence.

Within academic circles, Lyonga is recognised as a fine brain – brilliant and articulate. She is said to have drank deeply from the wells of two giants – the intellectual juggernaut Fonlon and the management maestro Prof. Dorothy Njeuma – a combination that should make UB respect the Fonlonian prerequisite that a University, worthy of its name should gravitate around the tripod of a University Library, Bookshop and Printing Press – infrastructure sorely lacking in UB of today.

Since its creation in 1993, UB has had four VCs: the pioneer and intransigent, Njeuma who successfully quelled the turbulence of the early days. There was Cornelius Lambi whose days were numbered because an additional list for medical students was unilaterally changed by the central authorities.

Prof. Peter Titanji (no relation to the outgoing VC) says Nalova Lyonga’s appointment was expected “because we knew the incumbent was on retirement and when you looked around UB, the choice, invariably, fell on Nalova Lyonga even though there were other potential contestants.” Titanji adds that he was happy when he received news of Nalova Lyonga’s appointment.

“The new VC was chosen from within the house. This means that she masters the house. An outsider would more likely have behaved like a bull in a china shop – smashing to smithereens what has been carefully built over the decades.” Asked what he expects from the incoming VC, Titanji said: “She will be expected to foster the triple mission of the University – teaching, research and outreach.”

Talking about the problems the new VC will face, Titanji maintains that, “they are enormous. But, if she assumes her responsibility and creates an enabling culture and ensures that the challenges are shared, then, she will overcome. In other words, she must put in place a new team with fresh ideas. If she considers the challenges as tasks to be tackled by her alone, then, that will be a clear recipe for failure.”

“The future,” Titanji concludes, is promising because Dr. Nalova Lyonga is an integral part of the established Anglo-Saxon traditions and culture of UB.” Titanji’s stewardship was marked by a relative truce. He, somewhat, successfully wielded the whip and the lollipop blending threats with placebos.

And, now comes the rigorous and unflappable Nalova Lyonga. Nalova Lyonga’s installation is scheduled for July 4. On that day, a new era will begin in UB. To paraphrase T. S. Eliot: let the Nalova Lyonga wheel turn.

Other Appointments

Meanwhile, Prof. Maurice Aurélien Sosso takes over at the helm of University of Yaounde I. He replaces Prof. Bouba Oumarou, redeployed to University of Yaounde II (Soa) as the Rector.

Before his latest appointment, Sosso, a surgeon, was Inspector General in charge of Services in the Ministry of Higher Education. Sosso, a son of the Nkam Division, Littoral Region is the first Sawa man to get to the top of University of Yaounde I since its creation in 1993.

Prof. Dieudonné Oyono of the Good Governance Programme, lodged in the office of the Prime Ministry and lecturer at the Yaounde School of International Relations, IRIC, is now the boss of the University of Douala. He replaces Prof. Bruno Ebe Bekolo, fired for alleged misappropriation of public funds. 

Prof. Jean Tabi Manga, who had been in control of University of Yaounde II for a long time, was also sacked in the June 28 Presidential decree for also pilfering State money, according to the Control Missions in the Ministry of Supreme State Control. Before Tabi Manga moved to Yaounde II, he was Rector at the University of Yaounde I.

Prof. Bruno Bekolo Ebe quits the university milieu after having served in the University of Yaounde II as Rector before moving over to Douala in the same capacity. Before his dismissal, he was the President of the Rectors’ Conference and Vice President of the Conference of African Universities.

Recently, the media carried stories of students in University of Yaounde II calling on Tabi Manga to resign or be dismissed for alleged embezzlement of public funds. The Rectors and Vice Chancellor of the other state universities; Dschang, Ngaoundéré, Maroua and Bamenda remain unchanged.

First published in The Post no. 01355

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