President Muhammadu Buhari, Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano and former Governor of the State, Mr Peter Obi have expressed delight at the news of appointment of Professor Charles Egbu, from Anambra State, as Vice Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University, United Kingdom.
The President felicitates with the academic, who is the first black person appointed helmsman of a ranked university in the UK, urging him to continue to proudly hold the flag of Nigeria aloft in all his endeavours in the elevated position.
In a statement by Presidential Spokesperson, Femi Adesina, President Buhari stated that “with wide experience as Pro-Chancellor at the University of East London, Dean of the School of Built Environment and Architecture at London South Bank University, and stints at University of Salford, University College London, Glasgow Caledonian University, Leeds Beckett University, among others, I have no doubt that you will acquit yourself creditably once again in this new assignment.”
Buhari added that Professor Egbu, a foremost Quantity Surveyor with 12 books and over 350 publications to his credit, is a worthy example of an industrious Nigerian, whom the younger generation should adopt as a role model.
The President urged the new VC, who assumes office in November, to build on the strong foundations laid by his predecessors at the university, where he is equally an alumnus.
In the congratulatory statement by the Anambra State government, Chief Willie Obiano said “this is a great moment for not only the government and people of Anambra State but also all Nigerians and indeed, Africans and Blacks across the globe.
“Professor Egbu’s emergence is a game changer in the history of higher education in a conservative society like the United Kingdom where only last January the Universities Minister, The Honourable Chris Skidmore, decried the fact that the number of Blacks holding senior academic positions in Britain is officially zero”, continued Obiano.
“Professor Egbu reminds all Africans of when Professor Kenneth Onwuka Dike, another worthy indigene of Anambra State, became the first African and Black Principal of the University College, Ibadan, and later emerged its first African and Black Vice Chancellor of the university, which was established in 1948.
“Professor Dike, who graduated First Class in the United Kingdom, just like Professor Egbu, made the University of Ibadan become synonymous with excellence in scholarship and administration throughout the world.
“A farsighted leader, Professor Dike discovered early enough the great promise of such young scholars as Dr Jacob Ade Ajayi, and went out of his way to ensure their rapid rise, despite protests from certain quarters.
“The records which these scholars made in various disciplines and endeavours vindicated Professor Dike’s actions, as he went on to become a distinguished professor at Harvard University until he was called upon, once again, to return home and serve his fatherland”.
Governor Obiano said that he is in no doubt that Professor Egbu, who hails from Abatete in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, “will excell in his new role and consequently market our dear state to the world in a most uncanny way. I have no doubt in my mind that he will not for a moment forget his roots and how he can contribute to our development.”
Noting that Professor Egbu’s appointment as the first Black Vice Chancellor of a UK university is purely based on merit rather than any primordial considerations, the Anambra State Governor stated “with pride that it came when Anambra people in the state, in different parts of the country and all over the world are demonstrating, more than ever before, great competitiveness in education.”
Mr. Peter Obi, who was the Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 elections said in a statement released Thursday by his Media Office said he was overjoyed when he heard the news of Egbu’s appointment, which he described as a clear reward for excellence, commitment and focus.
Commenting on Egbu’s achievements and that of many Nigerians making waves abroad, Obi noted that “it simply corroborates what the literary icon, Prof. Chinua Achebe, said, that nothing is wrong with the air Nigerians breathe, nor the water we drink. Our problems are mostly self-inflicted, arising from leadership failures and our inability to rise above our weaknesses.”
The former Anambra State Governor encouraged Prof Egbu to keep giving in his best in his position.
Beyond the eulogies and celebrations, Obi called on Nigerian youths to “see the likes of Prof Egbu as role models, and stop looking up to some politicians hell-bent on enriching their insatiable pockets at the expense of the poor masses.”
He added that “such personalities as Egbu who have defied all odds and conquered their limitations through hard work deserve the adulation and admiration of youths.”
Obi reminded the younger ones that the future is elastic and that they have the potentials of becoming whatever they want to be in life, if they are willing to work hard. Reiterating the importance of education, Obi told the youth to take education seriously, as that would give them the necessary skills and knowledge they need to compete on the global stage.
Miss Agnes Ego Maduafokwa from Ihiala scored a bull’s eye in Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) history by getting 365 marks out of a maximum 400 in the 2020 examination while David Nwobi from Nawfia in Njikoka Local Government Area made the second best result in the country.
Two weeks ago, Dr Chidubem Obi from Ifite Dunu in Dunukofia Local Government Area became the first African to emerge the overall best student in Russia’s oldest and most prestigious medical university while Patrick Okigbo III, was one of the 12 persons across the globe appointed Senior Fellows at John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.