. . . Promises to Catapult UNIZIK from 4,047 Position to Top 200 Universities in World in Next 5 Years
. . . Extols Ahaneku
By Abuchi Onwumelu
The newly appointed Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Professor Charles Okechukwu Esimone, FAS, has assumed office on Tuesday, June 4, 2019 as the sixth substantive Vice Chancellor of the university. The immediate past Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Joseph Eberendu Ahaneku, FAS, handed over to his successor, Prof. Charles Esimone officially during elaborate ceremony on Monday, June 3, 2019 at the auditorium of the University .
Speaking shortly after receiving the baton from his predecessor, Prof. Esimone read riot act to randy lecturers, urging the lecturers in the university to rather see students as their clients and shun all forms of oppressive actions against them as such would not be tolerated.
He warned that non productive staff of the university would be declared redundant if they failed to improved, calling on the staff of the university to sit up as his administration would not condone untoward practices.
His words, ‘I am coming into this job with a vision primed on promoting the highest standard of academic excellence, productive community service, administrative reforms, discipline and advances in matrix of human capacity building, infrastructural development and students/staff welfare.
‘There’ll be zero tolerance to plagiarism, sexual harassment and inducement. A mechanism with be put in place to identify and punish culprits accordingly.
‘Productivity would be required of every staff, non-performing staff will be declared redundant and could be shown the way out if they do not turn a new leaf. Productivity bonus will not be mandatory, it will have to be earned,’ he said.
Prof Esimone said they we would introduce digital attendance register which, he said, would require biometric fingerprints for clocking in and out of work for staff and clock into the lecture halls by students, adding that Productivity would be required of every staff.
‘Non-performing staff will be declared redundant and could be shown the way out if they do not turn a new leaf. Productivity bonus will not be mandatory for every staff. It will have to be earned.
‘All Administrative Departments including the Registry and Bursary will be computerized in line with international best practices to enable real time tracing of documents and on-the-spot assessment of our financial status which will be made transparent.
‘There would be zero tolerance to plagiarism, sexual harassment and inducement. A mechanism will be put in place to identify culprits and punish them accordingly.
‘In an atmosphere of discipline, there is progress. There will be proper orientation of both teaching and non-teaching staff on the rights of students who are human beings that should be treated with respect because they are our clients, the major reason we are here. The customer is king,’ he stated.
The new Vice Chancellor, while speaking on what his administration would do to improve the infrastructure in the university, said it would enter into a public private partnership with individuals and organisations to build hostels and improve the institution.
‘We’ll also pursue complimentary collaborations with foreign universities to enable our researchers carry out procedures where we lack capacity,’ he said.
‘It is with unfathomable gratitude to God Almighty and great humility that I present myself for this hand-over/Installation as the sixth Vice-Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University.
‘To fully appreciate the magnificence of the divine intervention in this appointment made by the Governing Council; but in reality ordained by God, it needs to be recalled that only twelve years ago, being still a Senior Lecturer at the University of Nigeria, I was interviewed for appointment in Nnamdi Azikiwe University, hoping for the position of Professor at the best or Reader at the worst; it is remarkable that ten years after I assumed duties as Professor and Pioneer Dean of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, I was found worthy for appointment first as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and then as Vice-Chancellor.
‘Such a meteoric rise, may, to mundane thought be wrongly ascribed to human efforts; in reality it is the hand of God. To Him be all the Glory.
‘Having thanked God, the fountain of all blessings, I must thank the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Alhaji Azeez Oladotun Bello, FASAN,FNIAS, an astute administrator under whose superintendence the University witnessed the most serene Vice-Chancellor selection process in its history.
‘I also thank other members of Council whose cooperation and cohesion was key to the outstanding success of the selection process. Together, they tread the path of selflessness, transparency and integrity.
‘In thank the out-gone Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joseph Eberendu Ahaneku, FAS, who reposed great confidence and trust in me in appointing me Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) for two terms of a total of four years.
‘This position was pivotal in preparing me to assume higher responsibility as Vice-Chancellor. I congratulate him for the calm ambience of the University that prevailed during his entire tenure of five years; such calm that most persons did not even know that the Vice-Chancellor’s selection process was in progress until the appointment was made; yet this is a process that had in the past generated much turbulence in the University.
‘I salute him for the tremendous progress the University made during his tenure: in infrastructural development, teaching and research, particularly research, the international visibility of the University and University governance generally.
Prof. Esimone said that his administration would use his predecessor’s achievements as launch-pad to further advance the University.
He commended his fellow contestants for the position he attained, saying that they all paraded outstanding credentials and were each well qualified for the position; but then only one person could be appointed, adding that their sportsmanship was a significant factor in what he described a hitch-free selection process.
‘I am coming to this job with a vision primed on promoting the highest standards of academic excellence, productive community service; administrative reforms; discipline and advances in a matrix of human capacity building, infrastructural development, Staff/Students’ welfare and Internally generated revenue.
‘To accomplish this, I will count on the cooperation of all of you: Staff, Students and Well-wishers of the University. The strategies for bringing this vision to fruition, which will be expatiated in due course. We will create non-discriminatory, non-selective and meritorious research conducive environment, where every researcher is enabled to excel in research, supported with grants and given every assistance required to attract external grants. TETFund IBR will be repositioned to be used by staff who are passionate about research.
‘Our main focus will be on research translation and commercialization which will have symbiotic association with our basic research outputs. We will enthrone merit and this will reflect in our promotion assessment criteria as we seek to encourage publication in top and impact factored journals in every discipline.
‘We will introduce postdoctoral fellowships and attract foreign postdoctoral fellows to work with principal investigators in our university.
‘We will pursue complimentary collaborations with foreign Universities to enable our researchers carry out procedures where we lack capacity. We will require all departments to source and maintain collaborations with local and international Universities to enhance research.
‘On teaching, Quality Assurance Unit: The Quality Assurance Unit will be strengthened to monitor the quality of what the students are taught and the attitude of lecturers toward the students. Students will be required to give feedbacks on every lecturer at the end of every semester.
‘The outcome of this feedback survey will count towards promotion assessment. The main purpose, however, is to discover teachers who may need further training to be able to teach using the new pedagogy of learning that stresses on inclusive and flipped learning where the lecturer is no longer the centre and the emperor of the classroom.
‘Resources will be provided so that lectures are delivered using digital resources in line with transformative higher education pedagogy which positively inculcates transferable skills required in industries to our students.
‘We will reposition the library with an e-library solution that will interface with the physical library which will enable both staff and students access the library at anytime and from anywhere in the world.
‘On infrastructure, the infrastructure deficit in the University will be tackled. We will strive to complete on-going projects, make provision for a new Auditorium, a Senate Building, an ICT Centre and we will complete our stadium complex. We will build new classrooms, laboratories and offices.
‘On welfare, staff and Students’ welfare is very important to me. I will ensure that our Staff receive all their entitlements and on time too. We will put mechanisms in place to avoid paying arrears after promotion. In other words, assessments will be announced timely where possible.
‘We will build staff quarters using Public-Private-Partnership (PPP). The first beneficiaries will be our junior staff.
‘More students’ hostels, especially postgraduate hostel, will be constructed to the extent that we can accommodate at least 70% of our postgraduate students and at least 50% of undergraduates on campus. Recreational amenities will be put in place to make living inside the school very attractive.
‘Ladies and gentlemen, in our next gathering which will not be far from today, I will present to you the work plan of the University where all these will be clearly detailed so that you know where you fit in as an individual and can as well hold me accountable.
‘I hereby, in the name of God urge all hands to be on deck to enable us catapult this University from 4,047 position to the top 200 Universities in the world in the next 5 years. With your support and by God’s grace we shall get there.
Earlier, Joseph Ahaneku, the outgone vice chancellor of the university, said within his five years in office, he has placed the university in the world map as far as university system was concerned.
He urged all to give his successor the same level of support for him to be able to succeed.