Special to USAfrica multimedia networks, Houston • USAfricaonline.com
“The Anambra State Government will not hesitate to assist UNIZIK become a more competitive university” is the heart-warming pledge from Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State.
He stated this as he congratulated the newly appointed Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Prof. Charles Esimone; calling his appointment most deserving.
Obiano underlined his point, specifically, that: “Nnamdi Azikiwe University is not just another federal higher institution, but one named for the greatest person from West Africa in over two centuries, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, GCFR, PC, the man who led Nigeria to independence and inspired a generation of great African nationalists like Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. Therefore, Professor Esimone should always be conscious of the special place of this higher institution in Nigerian–nay African—cosmology.”
“UNIZIK has to do more than ever to produce graduates and researchers who can help drive Africa’s competitiveness in the age of globalization.
Obiano stated “This will be much in line with the vision of the Great Zik of Africa who spent all his life devoted to the emancipation of all Africans and Black people throughout the world, so that we can take our rightful position in the comity of nations.“Products of the University of Nigeria at Nsukka which Zik founded in 1960 were competing favourably with their counterparts from top universities across the world as early as the 1960s, just as those of the University of Lagos where Zik served as the Pro Chancellor in the 1960s”.
Prof. Esimone beat 37 other contestants, according to the Pro chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the university, Alhaji Azeez Oladotun Bello, who announced that the appointment will last five years with effect from June 4.
In a statement in Awka, the Anambra State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C. Don Adinuba, stated that Governor Obiano in the congratulatory message described Professor as “easily the best man for the job.
“Having served the university as Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics) and founding Dean of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, it is difficult to think of a more prepared person for the job”.
A graduate of the University of Nigeria at Nsukka, Prof. Esimone is a Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science, a Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Academy of Nigeria and a Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria.
The new Vice Chancellor became a full professor at only 37 years, making him one of the youngest professors ever in the Nigerian university system.
“Having displayed excellence in research and teaching, Professor Esimone is now required to display uncanny leadership as the UNIZIK Vice Chancellor”, Governor Obiano noted.
Obiano expressed satisfaction with the contributions of two scholars from Nnamdi Azikwe University, Professor Kate Omenugha, the Commissioner for Basic Education, and her counterpart in the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Professor Theresa Obiekezie, to the growth of the state.
Acknowledging the critical place of higher education in the development of nations, Governor Obiano regretted that out of the 43 federal and 48 state universities as well as 79 privately owned ones in Nigeria, only the University of Ibadan and Covenant University in Ogun State could make the list of the world’s top 1,000 universities in the latest annual Times Higher Education survey, which is the most respected and influential of such studies across the globe.