The Anambra State government and the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) have congratulated Prof. Charles Egbu on his emergence as the first black Vice-Chancellor of a British university.
Egbu, who hails from Abatete in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, is also a collaborative associate of FUTA.
The professor of Quantity Surveying will on November 1 assume duties as the vice-chancellor of Leeds Trinity University in England.
He is currently the pro- vice-chancellor (Education & Experience) at the University of East London, having served as the Dean of the School of the Built Environment and Architecture of the London South Bank University and a senior academic at the University College, London.
“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”, said Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State in a statement made available to The Nation.
He continued: “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.
“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”.
In an electronic letter the FUTA Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Joseph Fuwape, described Egbu’s appointment as “well- deserved elevation for a Nigerian in the Diaspora who engendered a thriving collaboration with FUTA”.
Fuwape praised Egbu’s contribution as the guest lecturer at the eighth Annual Lecture of FUTA’s School of Environmental Technology, on May 4 2015 where he addressed the topic: “Construction and Project Management in a Changing World” as the University and many stakeholders in Nigeria’s Building Industry benefited from his experience and scholarly presentation.
Fuwape said as Dean, School of the Built Environment and Architecture, London South Bank University, Egbu also spearheaded a three-day International Conference on “21st Century Human Habitat” jointly organised by London South Bank University, De Montfort University Leicester and FUTA in Akure in 2016.
Fuwape said Egbu’s ground breaking attainment is bound to rub off on “not just the image of our compatriots living in the UK but our dear nation, Nigeria and would rekindle the hope of many Nigerians in the Diaspora and give a sense of pride to black people globally”.
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