Professor Joseph Ikechebelu Takes Office as Acting Vice-Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University

By Franklin Onwubiko

In a ceremony marked by profound gratitude and a sense of responsibility, Professor Joseph Ifeanyichukwu Ikechebelu assumed the role of Acting Vice-Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK). The event was attended by top university officials, deans and directors in the Vice-Chancellor’s office.

In his acceptance speech, Professor Ikechebelu expressed deep appreciation for the trust placed in him by the Chancellor, council members and his predecessors, also acknowledged the support of Nigeria’s President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for his attentive response to the needs of federal universities.

Reflecting on the contributions of Professor Esimone, Ikechebelu praised the outgoing Vice-Chancellor’s leadership and the notable advancements made under the Project200 initiative. He credited his prior roles, including Head of Department, Dean, Director of Academic Planning and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), as instrumental in preparing him for his new responsibilities.

“As I assume this significant position, I am deeply aware of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead,” Ikechebelu stated. He outlined his vision for the university, focusing on the short-term goals encapsulated in the “BLEDS” targets: Beautify UNIZIK, Light-up UNIZIK, Excellent UNIZIK, Digitize UNIZIK, and Secure UNIZIK. These initiatives aim to enhance the university’s infrastructure, academic excellence, and overall environment.

Ikechebelu emphasized his approach, drawing inspiration from biblical figures: the heart of David for empathy and dedication to the university community, and the wisdom of Solomon for fair and just leadership. He called for unity and collaboration among staff and students to achieve their shared goal of making UNIZIK the foremost university of their time.

“Together, we will make UNIZIK not just a great university, but the best university of our time,” he proclaimed, urging the community to join him in this new era of excellence with optimism and a collective commitment.

Recall that Professor Ikechebelu was announced to oversee the office of the Vice-Chancellor as Professor Charles Esimone’s tenure concluded on June 3, 2024.

The announcement was also ratified at the special Senate meeting held at the University Auditorium on June 3rd, 2024.

Professor Ikechebelu, being the only Deputy Vice-Chancellor in the institution, was announced in accordance with the NUC’s circular to Vice-Chancellors of Federal Universities dated May 28, 2024. The circular, entitled “RE: END OF TENURE OF SOME VICE-CHANCELLORS OF FEDERAL UNIVERSITIES,” directs outgoing Vice-Chancellors to nominate a Deputy Vice-Chancellor, as recommended by their Senate, to temporarily oversee the office of the Vice-Chancellor pending the inauguration of a Governing Council.