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Verdict of Deans on Prof Bartho Okolo’s Administration

Verdict of Deans on Prof Bartho Okolo’s Administration

On the 9th of June 2009, when Prof. Bartho Okolo took over as the 13th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, he promised the university community   that he was on a mission to position the Institution as a global force in research and knowledge creation. He said he was to achieve that by improving the state of infrastructure, enhancing staff competence and output, fostering new strategic alliances and creating enabling environment.
Five years after, as Prof Okolo prepares to ‘step aside’ for another Vice-Chancellor, Dean of Faculties, in faculty board meetings with the Vice-Chancellor, bared their minds on how Prof. Okolo’s administration had affected their individual faculties and the University in general.
Dean Faculty of Agriculture, Prof. S.O.C. Ugwu said “With respect to staff development, it is noteworthy that during your tenure, you employed 32 Graduate Assistants in the departments of the Faculty, all of whom had First Class in their Bachelors degree programmes. This underscores your respect for and deep interest in excellence”.
Prof. Ugwu added that “it can be unequivocally stated that since the end of the Nigerian civil war, which completely devastated the University, no administration has caused tremendous improvements in the University’s infrastructure than yours”.
Dean, Faculty of Arts, Prof. Uchenna  Anyanwu, maintained that history of the University of Nigeria would not be complete without the repeated and conspicuous mention of the administration of Prof. Bartho Okolo.
The Dean congratulated the Vice-Chancellor on his achievements and prayed God to grant him success in his futures endeavours.
Dean, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Prof. F. C. Chilaka said “the faculty is very appreciative of the work done so far in JIMBAZ Building. Before you became the Vice-Chancellor, the Faculty of Biological Sciences was mushroomed all over the University. Today the Faculty has a permanent address. We thank you immensely for the building and, more especially, the laboratories in JIMBAZ, DENET and ZWELLING buildings. Impact factor research can now increase in Biological Sciences”.
Dean, Faculty of Business Administration, Prof.(Mrs) C.E. Ugwuonah congratulated the Vice-Chancellor on the success of his tenure and noted that the University of Nigeria fared better under the Leadership of Prof. Okolo.
Dean, Faculty of Dentistry, Dr (Mrs) Linda Okoye, highlighted the benefits of her Faculty under the administration of Prof. Okolo to include: provision of nine (9) new state-of –the- art Phantom head units, and setting up of new prosthetic and advanced conservative laboratories. “Following your passion for internationalisation, and world best practices, the Faculty has secured collaborations with University of Columbia Canada, and Georgia Health Sciences University, USA. This has resulted in staff/student exchange programme between our faculty and that of UCC. The first set of three students just returned from Canada”, she said.
Dr Okoye added that the administration facilitated the relocation of the Faculty to its administrative building and also enhanced the full accreditation of the Faculty by the Medical Dental Council of Nigeria in 2012.
Dean, Faculty of Education, Prof. Ike Ifelunni acknowledged that the transformation strides of the Okolo’s administration were beneficial to his Faculty in the areas of refurbishments of building and environmental beautification.
“As a Faculty Sir, we cherish our position as strategic partners in these monumental accomplishments. We also thank you immensely for the refurbishing of the old Harden Faculty building and its corresponding beautification with attractive landscaping as well as the provision of numerous state of the art facilities for the promotion of teaching and learning. We cannot also forget the on-going VTE building”, he said.
The Dean described Prof. Okolo as an astute administrator   with sense of purpose, focus and courage. His word; “I am sure you have played your part as an academic, astute administrator, visionary leader and consummate apostle of world Class University with an unquenchable appetite for transformation. Without doubt, you were not only here; you came, saw and conquered”.
Dean Faculty of Engineering, Prof. T.C. Madume, said; “from the Southern gate to the Northern gate, and from the Western gate to the Eastern side of the University, there are visible signs of the legacy you will be leaving behind as former Vice-Chancellor of UNN. Any person or visitor to the campus will see the great transformation of infrastructure that has been put in place during your administration. This cannot be wished away as it is a present reality”.
Dean, Faculty of Environmental Studies, Prof. C. Okpala-Okaka, said Okolo’s administration has improved the quality of infrastructure and the standard of education in the University.
In the Faculty of Health Sciences and Technology, the Dean, Prof. O.E. Onwujekwe observed that the University of Nigeria has remained in the top three research active institutions in Nigeria since the Vice-Chancellor came on board. “Sir, permit me to observe that you came to the helm of affairs when the infrastructure facilities were grossly inadequate to promote/support the vision and mission of UNN towards restoring the dignity of man. You championed development appreciably and academic excellence towards international best practices”.
The supervising Dean, Faculty of Law and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Enugu Campus), Prof. Ifeoma Enemuo, stated that Prof. Okolo’s administration facilitated the faculty’s accreditation by the National Universities Commission (NUC), and the increase in its admission quota from 180 to 212. The administration, according to her, equally constructed Faculty building for the Faculty of Law, recruited 15 lecturers, provided project vehicle, furnished the Faculty’s classrooms with over 1000, seats, and championed the creation of three additional departments in the Faculty. “I pray that the next Vice-Chancellor would remember the Faculty of Law like Okolo”.
Dean, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Prof Basil Ezeonolue noted that Okolo’s administration was able to attract TETFund investment to the Cardiothoracic Centre of the Faculty. He thanked the Vice-Chancellor for remodelling the faculty’s classrooms, and fitting them with modern learning chairs.
The Dean, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Prof. Vincent Okore, took time to chronicle the impact of Okolo’s administration in his Faculty. According to him, the administration started the construction of the first phase of the Faculty building which had defied attention of previous administrations.
In staff development, the Dean said that the Vice-Chancellor ensured the promotion of its entire staff that were due for promotion. According to him, Faculty of Pharmaceutical sciences got “a total of ten professors during your tenure, more than what it got in any other Vic-Chancellor’s tenure in this University”.
Further, Prof. Okore said that the Vice-Chancellor graciously approved study- leave- with- pay for all staff of the Faculty that travelled overseas for their Ph.D programmes, and also approved the appointments of not less than seven graduate assistants from best graduating students of the Faculty based on the recommendation of the Faculty.
Besides allocating 20 hectares of land for medicinal plant garden as requested by the Faculty, the Dean said that Prof. Okolo had also facilitated a linkage programme between the Faculty, and College of Pharmacy, Howard University, Washington DC.
In the Faculty of Physical Sciences, the Dean, Prof. C. M. I. Okoye thanked the out-going Vice-Chancellor for reconstructing and upgrading the Carver building. “As a faculty, we would like to put on record our heartfelt appreciation of the effort of your administration to clean-up the outlook of our university. Visitors to our university marvel at this transformation. Your efforts in this direction are so evident that even the most pessimistic critique appreciates them.  We have benefitted from these, especially with the near- complete reconstruction and upgrading of Carver building, renovation of some of our laboratories, fitting of chairs to our classrooms and lecture theatre. These are clear landmarks, given the situation before you took office as the Vice-Chancellor. Our prayer is that these environmental and infrastructural developments will continue until all parts of our campuses are transformed”.
The Dean commended the Vice-Chancellor on his policy of employing first class graduates, stating that the policy would enrich the quality of staff of the University in the future.
Prof. C.O.T. Ugwu, Dean, Faculty of the Social Sciences had this to say: “It is on track record of this University that more than ever before, we had experienced an aggressive and unsurpassable infrastructure and human development in both campuses of the University. The completed projects and the on-going ones speak volumes in this regard
“As a Dean and member of the University Appraisal Committee, I know too well that it is an undeniable fact that within the five years of this administration, we have had so many staff who have been promoted to the rank of Professor and other cadres of the University”.
Prof. Ugwu said that the Okolo-led administration was equally outstanding in enhancing the aesthetic ambience of the University to the level that “the blind and all and sundry can testify to the ever-blossoming and radiating colours of buildings, flowers and the symmetrical landscaping arrangement in all our campuses”.
Dean, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Prof. S.V.O. Shoyinka, said the administration of Prof. Bartho Okolo helped his Faculty to build capacity in the areas of teaching and research. “Not less than 25 of the teaching and non-teaching staff members of the faculty here seated today were employed during your tenure as the Vice-Chancellor. A remarkable number of the teaching staff members benefitted from the TETFund travel grant, and you were always providing necessary support to the Faculty during the different accreditation/Examinations monitoring visits of the Veterinary Council of Nigeria”.
Prof. Shoyinka added that his Faculty, in 2012 and 2013, received consignments of laboratory equipments which helped to strengthen research and teaching works among staff of the Faculty.   “For all these and many more, time will not allow me to mention, we say very big thank you Sir”, he said.
Inya Agha E.

Source: University of Nigeria official website, www.unn.edu.ng

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