Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano has pleaded state government’s willingness to assist the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (Unizik) Awka, to become a more competitive university.
Speaking while congratulating the newly- appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Charles Esimone, the governor who acknowledged the critical place of higher education in the development of nations lamented the backwardness of Nigerian higher institutions in the international rankings.
He noted with regret 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.
Obiano who described Prof. Esimone’s appointment as new vice-chancellor of Unizik as most deserving, urged him to display uncanny leadership.
Professor Esimone whose appointment was announced last week by the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the university, Alhaji Azeez Oladotun Bello and who would assume office on June 4, 2019, beat 37 other contestants to emerge victorious.
In a congratulatory message issued by the state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C. Don Adinuba, Governor Obiano further described Esimone as the best man for the job.
He said: “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.
“Having displayed excellence in research and teaching, Professor Esimone is now required to display uncanny leadership as the UNIZIK vice-chancellor.
“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, 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 globalisation.
“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.”
Obiano also 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.