Imo: A harvest of intellectuals

Something extraordinary is sure brewing in the heartland of the southeast. It’s not about the Ahiajoku intellectual feast happening in Owerri in a week’s time, nay. It is not about the shellacking of the three musketeers at the Appeal Court, nope.
It is about the intellectual harvest (or coup, if you like) wrought by Governor Emeka Ihedioha recently. While many who otherwise would have noticed the feat have been carried away by the inanities of a frivolous election litigation, Governor Ihedioha is pacing afield, seeking out the best minds wherever they might be found and wiring them up to his rebuild Imo grid.
We speak of course of the recently inaugurated Visitation Panels to Imo State University, (IMSU) and Imo State University Teaching Hospital, (IMSUTH).
The panels have a harvest of nine professors viz: Professors Chinedu Nebo, I K Ogbonnaya, Basil Nwosu, N. F. Ukaigwe, Emmanuel Anyanwu, Frank Akpuaka, Theodore Okeahialam, Akah Peter and Prof. (Mrs) Florence Nduka.
This is not to suggest that the numerous members not bearing the tag of ‘prof’ are not eminently qualified in their own right no; the point being made here is to showcase the intellectual powerhouse from across the southeast arrayed under one State or under one roof if you like.
To further drive home this point, Consider Professor Nebo, an erudite, much sought after international citizen. Former federal minister, twice a vice chancellor and scholar per excellence.
A venerable gentleman, Professor Nebo is a laureate of numerous honours and academic awards. Distinction in school certificate and first class in Engineering, his has been a life of high service with excellence and dignity.
These qualities and more, he will bring to the IMSU panel. No doubt, IMSU is in for a great time ahead. There couldn’t be a better man for this job at this moment.
If you thought Professor Nebo was a giant, take a look at Professor Chinedu Akpuaka who heads the IMSUTH panel:
He is an Emeritus Professor of Surgery and Applied Anatomy who during his very active years had overaching influence in nearly all the medical schools across the length and breath of Nigeria and beyond. Where he was not setting up departments and faculties, he was working for the medical council or the universities commision to ensure that medical schools were properly accredited. Not many have trained more doctors and medics in Nigeria today.
For instance, he was part of accreditation and even reaccreditation to more than 22 medical schools in Nigeria and Turkey. Some of these include Bayero University, Kano, University of Port Harcourt, University of Jos, University of Ilorin, Lagos State University, Enugu State University, Universities in Turkey and Universities in North Korea, to name a few.
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery as well as Applied Anatomy are his forte in which he has earned national and international recognition. Two years ago, Abia State University, Uturu appointed Prof. Akpuaka its first emeritus professor after 36 years of existence.
Again, just like Prof. Nebo, there couldn’t have been a better choice for this job than Prof. Akpuaka.
And what shall we say of Professor Theodore Chukwunyere Okeahialam; an octogenarian who was a medical officer at the General Hospital, Lagos in 1960. He Pediatrician, he was a pioneer in many spheres of his practice.
He worked in Nigeria’s number one ‘baby factory’, the Massey Street Children Hospital, Lagos and was the specialist in charge of sick children during the civil war as well as the Civil War Hospital for Children in Libreville, Gabon. Of course Prof. Okeahialam’s profile is the size of a book.
The lady in their midst, Professor Florence Nduka of the University of Port Harcourt is specialised in Clinical Research and Epidemiology. She holds a doctorate in Parasitology from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Another egghead member is Professor Dr. Kenneth Iregbu. A hands-on academic so to speak, Prof. Iregbu is a Clinical Microbiologist and parasitologist at the National Hospital, Abuja. He is the current head of Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology in the hospital.
Prof. Iregbu was a founding member of the Nigerian Society of Infection Control and has earned immense reputation in that field.
There will be no point x-raying the august members of the visitation panels one by one. Suffice to say that Governor Emeka Ihedioha is a freak for exceptional minds and top-rate individuals. Someone had quipped that: “O naghi eji anya a ghu ndi ma ihe”. Meaning that he cannot get his eyes off quality minds; he would grab them immediately.
And it does not matter their state of origin or tribe or even tongue. For instance, Prof. Nebo is from Anambra State, just as Prof. Akpuaka. Dr. Ezekiel Ajayi who is doing a marvelous medical missionary at Imo Foundation is from Osun State while Mr Adeoye who is a director in the Ministry of Environment and who is in charge of Nekede Zoo and Gardens currently carrying out massive rehabilitation of the place is probably from Lagos State.
But beyond the first rate membership, the underlying narrative is that Governor Ihedioha seeks to return these institution to benchmark institutions of learning comparable to any in the world. It is only apposite that it takes first class minds to build first class institutions.
Governor Ihedioha made it known to them that they were not on a witch hunt but on a mission to sanitize and reposition the institutions. Imo is surely on to something great.
Osuji writes from Owerri, Imo State

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