On Thursday, August 6, 2020, Vice-Chancellor, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu- Alike, Ebonyi State, Prof. ChinedumNwajiuba, accompanied by the Registrar, Odisa Okeke (Mrs.) and some officers of the Vice-Chancellor’s Office, were at Port Harcourt, Rivers State, home of the newly appointed University Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Prof. Nimi Dimkpa Briggs, to pay homage and acquaint him with the young University.
The VC’s entourage was warmly received by the host and his wife, Lady Data Nimi Briggs, who did not hesitate to express gratitude to God for granting their visitors a safe trip to their Port Harcourt residence and appreciation to VC and his team for finding it worthwhile to honour them in that manner, despite COVID-19 challenges. Recall that on Monday, July 13, 2020, new council members for the 13 Federal Universities, which AE-FUNAI is one, were inaugurated, with Prof. Nimi Briggs as Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council for AE-FUNAI. Prof Briggs becomes the 3rd Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, after the late Prof. MbaUzoukwu (2016-2018), who unfortunately could not complete his tenure due to ill health and eventual demise. Engr AnayoOnwuegbu (2015-2016) was the first Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council.
While making presentations of relevant information and documents on the University, Prof. Nwajiuba enthused that the visit was to express the profound excitement of the University Community heralding his (Prof. Briggs) announcement as Pro-Chancellor of the fast-growing University and to show solidarity to him in the new assignment. The VC stated that the University is lucky to have him, an erudite Professor of high standing and deeply experienced University administrator. Prof Nwajiuba revealed to the Pro-Chancellor that the University is acclaimed ‘most serious’ public University in Nigeria, having consistently achieved uninterrupted academic calendar since inception with no outstanding convocation, which has always happened in December of every year, from the 1st in 2016 to the 4th in 2019.
Prof Nwajiuba also pointed out that the university is blessed with its naming after Dr Alex Ekwueme, a renowned Nigerian and former Vice- President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, priding that going by what is happening with the institution, AE-FUNAI is God’s project. He reiterated that the strategy has always been the openness of the administration, enlarged management meetings, where people have opportunities to air their views and contribute in policy-making and execution and working in harmony with the staff.
The documents presented to the new Pro-Chancellor include an abridged update on the university, covering vision, mission, location, motto, academic programmes, population, officers, past and present council members and other information; staff and students manuals and all other relevant working documents.
Emeritus Prof. Briggs was elated as he received the presentations, expressing satisfaction and appreciation to the Vice-Chancellor for the articulated presentations and the useable information made available to make his work easy. ”From all the records so presented, I can see the seriousness, commitment and co-operation in running the university and, I will take advantage of the existing conducive working environment to operate and succeed”. He, however, said that the first priority was getting a new Vice-Chancellor, to take over from the incumbent, Prof. Nwajiuba, who will be exiting in February 2021, when his tenure will end, and that the process will commence immediately. He prayed that God shall bring another Vice-Chancellor, who will take care of the young university as Prof. Nwajiuba is doing.
The Rivers State-born Prof Nimi Dimkpa Briggs was Vice-Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt (2000-2005); Chairman, Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigeria Universities (AVCNU), 2004-2005; Distinguished Fellow of the National Post-Graduate Medical College of Nigeria (DFMC); Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Federal University Lokoja (2016); Pioneer Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Bayelsa University of Medical Sciences (2019); Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Port Harcourt, among other national and international responsibilities and recognitions.
In her vote of thanks, the Registrar and Secretary to the University Council, Mrs Odisa Okeke, thanked God for the appointment of a great man of honour, in the person of Emeritus Prof Nimi Dimkpa Briggs, as Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the University, this particular period in the history of the young institution. She appreciated him and his amiable wife for the very good hosting. “God ordained you our Father now and God will give you the strength and divine wisdom to soar,” She said.