A Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Joseph Ikechebelu, has been elected as the new Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration) of Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka.
In an election during the 204th Senate Meeting of the University, Prof Ikechebelu polled a total of 222 votes to defeat Prof. Charles Okafor who had 9 votes.
Until his election, Prof Ikechebelu, a Minimal Access Surgeon and Assisted Reproduction/Gynaecological Endoscopy expert, was the Director, Academic Planning of the university.
He is also the Chairman of the COVID-19 Response Team of the university and has been a visible face in the university management team of the Professor Charles Esimone led administration.
In a brief chat, Prof Ikechebelu, who is the President of Life Hospital Group in Awka, said that he would use his new position to support the vision of the Vice-Chancellor encapsulated in the “ACADA Project 200”, targeted at bringing Nnamdi Azikiwe University to be the best in Nigeria and among the best 200 in the world.
He noted that Prof Esimone’s vision is a tall order but that with committed staff and students of the university it can be achieved.
“All we are working on and trying to put in place are what those ivy-league universities have done to get to the position where they are today. Making the university administration seamless, student-centred, addressing the challenges of students, ensuring discipline also in the university, promoting research in all ramifications and innovation. The staff of the university would be known worldwide because of the quantum of research coming from the university. That is what the Vice-Chancellor is targeting,” he stated.
“We are already getting results in this direction too because, in the last Scopus listing of first 500 scholars in Nigeria, UNIZIK had eight. If by the next listing, we get 10 or 20, it means we are making progress. If you come into the university now, you will see the research atmosphere in place because people are being encouraged, promoted as at when due while assessments are going on as at when due.
Recently, we are developing molecular research laboratories so that we can have postgraduate research going on too.
“Coming on board and having been the Director of Academic Planning, I have been on the fulcrum of pushing these things and I happen also to be the focal person for the Project 200 initiative. Occupying the post of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration) now gives me more leverage to drive the initiatives.
“As the chairman of the COVID-19 Response Team of the university, with all these things, we have to drive the research, the initiative, the discipline and the innovations coming up in the university and in that momentum, we would ensure that UNIZIK won’t remain in whatever rating we are today. After the challenges of COVID-19, we know that we would be somewhere to reckon with in the next rating,” the new Deputy VC said.