By Bright C. J. Okereke
Out of the 16 female Vice Chancellors known to have headed Universities in Nigeria, only 6 were of the Federal Universities, others are of either state or private Universities. And, Prof Nnenna Oti, is the 7th in the order.
The reading public must have been inundated with the classic and decent professional and academic credentials of this noble Amazon, of our time, Professor Mrs. Nnenna Oti, hence, my resolve to profile, the other side of the institution’s first woman head.
Certainly, divinity, hard work and diligence may have played a dominant and pivotal role in placing Prof Nnenna Oti, at the line of remarkable and revered leaders of, one of the highest academic Institutions in our divide.
I guess, she must be deeply honored to record as the first female, to lead, Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), established in 1980, succeeding an unbroken chain of seven (7) Male Vice Chancellors within the 41 years of the University’s existence.
With this development, she has set an amazing record of being the first female Vice Chancellor of the University and as well the first alumni of the Institution, to occupy its headship position.
Though, an unprecedented elevation, yet, many will be pondering what the years ahead would hold at the helm of this dynamic institution, under Oti’s watch.
Professor Nnenna Oti, is a rare symbol of courage, a skilled administrator and an embodiment of humility and honest service.
Her, colossal confidence in God and the kinetisation of her potentials and abilities have always paved way for her success towards greatness. Her excellent performances in various challenging positions, held in the past, clearly attest to this assertion.
She must have aspired to this enviable height, even with its attendant and enormous responsibilities. Very hopefully, she would build an enduring legacy, that would be in tandem with global best practices.
She is one of the few African women of quality, distinction and honour that could be described as a silent ‘Powerhouse’.
Despite her significant and enviable achievements, Prof Oti, has resisted the trending temptation of flexing muscles in challenge of superiority.
Prof Oti, is one, whose dogged academic pursuit, extraordinary leadership, dedication and excellence have helped advance Gender concerns and Women’s capacities in many ways.
She is an astute scholar, who have held several challenging academic and leadership positions; and in all these capacities, she has been a champion, breaking glass ceilings and new barriers for women around the continent. She has always served as an enforcer of gender abilities.
Prof Nnenna, is one of the torch-bearers leading the pathway in achieving gender upliftment and women education in our parlance. She is the immediate past Chairperson of the University’s Gender Policy Unit.
She has been quietly serving her Institution well and without fuss, a rare resolve, in a clime, like ours, where the commonest rhetorical question revolves around self-mythology and egocentrism.
She is a virtuous wife with impeccable family values and the mother of a lovely Christian home. Her amiable husband, Pastor Nnannaya Oti, an Architect, has always been there, for her, as a strong pillar, providing all the needed love and support.
However, holding that, our debt to your courage and vision is immeasurable, it is pertinent to advice that your decisions in the days ahead, be truly indispensible to peace and human dignity, in order to build a common enterprise that would revolve on humanity’s deepest values and highest aspirations. May God help you, Prof.!
The new Vice Chancellor, who took over office from Prof Eze, on Friday, June 18, 2021, is a Professor of Soil Science and Environmental Conservation; she holds a Bachelor of Agriculture degree (B.Agric) in Soil Science from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, UNN; (First Class Honours), Masters in Soil Science (Soil Biology and Biochemistry Option), UNN; a Postgraduate Diploma in Irrigation Engineering (Distinction) from Katholic University Leuven, Belgium and capped her academic laurels with a PhD in Soil and Environmental Conservation from Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO). Providence and brilliance provided her with scholarships and numerous awards for excellence at various levels of her educational career.
She has had over 34 years in academics, teaching, research and administration in the Nigerian university system with international exposure, including working as a consultant to governments and the private sector at various times in diverse capacities ranging from TETFund, Anambra Imo River Basin Development Authority, National Biotechnology Development Agency amongst many others.
She is a member of very many prestigious local and international professional bodies. A renowned Consultant and Public Speaker for various Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Religious and Non-Governmental bodies.
As an accomplished and versatile academic, she has well, over 65 academic papers, 40 seminar and workshop papers, 50 public lectures and over 10 technical reports for the Federal Government of Nigeria.
She was a two-time Dean of FUTO’s Post-graduate School and a three-time Head of Department of Soil Science and Technology in the School of Agricultural and Agriculture Technology (SAAT). Chairman, Committee of Deans, FUTO (2019-2020), member of the University Senate, member, Joint Council/Senate Committees and former Director of University Examinations, FUTO (2011-2012).
Until, her appointment as the 8th substantive Vice Chancellor, of FUTO, she was the Deputy Vice Chancellor, (Academics) of the same University