Birthdays of great men and women are not just annual events; it offers
a significant time and space to appreciate their good works and
successes, and pray God, on their behalf, for more grace and wisdom to
be added unto them, as they continue to impact the world positively.
Hence today, the 15th of August 2019, as the academic community world
over, and Abia State University in particular, rolls out drums to celebrate
a consummate academic, a trail blazer, exceptional administrator, a
catalytic leader, uncommon achiever, mentor, and our revered and
respected Vice chancellor, Distinguished Professor E. Uche Ikonne, who was also recently appointed Chairman, Optometrists and Dispensing
Opticians Registration Board of Nigeria (ODORBN) by the President,
Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is only meet, that within the little space
available we appreciate and express gratitude to God for the gift of this
great leader to Abia State University in particular, and the entire country
as a whole, as well as reflect on some of his achievements since
assumption of office on 1st December 2015, as the 7th substantive Vice
Chancellor of Abia State University. Professor Ikonne, the 8th child, out of 9 (nine) children of a catechist in Anglican communion, late Mr. and Mrs. William Ikonne of Agburuike Nsulu in Isiala Ngwa North L.G.A. could perfectly fit into the mold of leaders, who William Shakespeare, the popular playwright and poet
described as those “who achieve greatness; and not necessarily
having greatness bestowed upon them.
When he joined the services of the University, in the then Imo State
University, as a senior lecturer, little did he know that God was
preparing him for the exalted position of a Vice Chancellor of the
University. He passed through the ranks, from Senior lecturer, to Head
of Department, Director, Dean of Faculty, Deputy Provost, Deputy Vice
Chancellor, Acting Rector, Abia State Polytechnic Aba, quietly fighting his
battles, and under studying closely different administrations, and
identifying peculiar areas of improvements, until he was appointed the
Vice Chancellor, in December 1, 2015 having been tested and prepared
for leadership at this level. Little wonder, he quickly unveiled his vision,
mission and strategies for the university in a document captioned “My
Mandate, “Our story must change”, as if this blue print, was already
lying in wait for the opportunity to come.
Within the three and half years of his administration he has recorded
many numerous achievements in every area of the core mandate of the
University, Teaching, Research and Community Service which includes
Improving the ranking of Abia State University in the webometric
ranking of universities from 93rd on assumption of office to 30th, as
well as employ-ability of its graduate to 17th among universities in
Nigeria. Improvement in the delivery of inaugural lectures by
professors from 19th (between 1981 – 2015) on assumption of
office to 49th as at today.
Ensured four years of uninterrupted academic activities, thereby
making it possible for students to graduate as at when due.
Expansion of Academic progammes in the University with the
introduction of Engineering and new Medical Science courses
including Pharmaceutical sciences, which is about to take off.
Ensured full accreditation status of academic programmes by the
National University Commission (NUC) and other professional
bodies including medicine, which got increase in admission quota
from 75 to 120.
Increase in admission by JAMB
Prompt call-up of ABSU graduates for NYSC
Attracting sponsorship of 38 Research topics by TETFUND in 2018,
and 43 topics in 2019, the highest for any university
Introduction of functional website for the University, e Administration, E-Senate, online registration of courses, uploading
of results and delivery of student’s transcripts as so on.
Prompt payment of staff salaries and promotions.
Establishing robust relationship with the University Alumni all over
the world, and bringing them to partner the University in several
Visibly enhanced security system
Unprecedented infrastructural development with new
Departmental buildings, hostels, lecture theaters, reactivation of
street lights, new engineering complex under construction in Aba
Cordial relationships with the students which made him to be
called the senior course rep. of ABSU student.
And so many other achievements which time and space will not permit
us to mention. Indeed, Professor Ikonne is a special breed, almost @ a
supernatural level, with an uncommon gait that is all his. He is
supremely self confident, bold, daring, and never gets discouraged even
when his motives are misjudged.
He is a man of immense vitality, integrity and strong character and fear
of God, living a life bordered by superfluity of humility. He is a star with
global recognition, respect and relevance.
At this point, we must also take a moment to appreciate the Governor,
and visitor to the University, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, for his support to the
administration, and more importantly for his foresight in appointing this
great leader as the Vice Chancellor to take this great institution to a new
level, the golden era of the University.
In the end as Abraham Lincoln one of the great Presidents of the United
States of America, said “It is not the years in your life that counts,
it is the life in your years”.
Happy birthday our dear Vice Chancellor Professor E. Uche Ikonne.
Happy birthday the Ugo Nmuta of Abia.
Congratulations for your great achievements and service to humanity.