By Ikenna Nwokedi
Department of Pure and Industrial Chemistry (ICH), Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka on Thursday, 4th May 2023 witnessed the official handing-over ceremony for the outgoing Head of Department, Prof. Uche Eunice Ekpunobi and incoming Head of Department, Dr. Nkechi Helen Okoye as well as prize giving to the best graduating students of the Department.
The colourful exercise which featured songs, praises and conviviality was witnessed by three elderly scholars of the Department; Former Deputy Vice-Chancellor of UNIZIK, Emeritus Professor Austin Eboatu, Professor Patrice-Anthony Chudy Okoye and immediate past Dean of Faculty of Physical Sciences, Professor Josephat Ogbuagu.
The new Sheriff of the Department, Dr. Okoye appreciated the immense contributions of the outgoing HoD, Prof. Uche Ekpunobi during her tenure, especially for addressing students’ complaints and promoting hardwork, teamwork, unity, and efficient service delivery among staff to keep the Department flying high.
Dr. Okoye also expressed her delight by thanking God for the opportunity to serve the department stating she will work with the status quo by moving from the known to the unknown.
The scholar emphasized that the members of staff are basically at the Ivory tower for tutelage and character moulding of her students with the main aim of transforming reactants to products.
She pointed out that the Department needs a tripod of the students, non-teaching and teaching staff working together towards achieving the departmental set goals in line with the ‘Project 200’ vision of the present administration under the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Charles Esimone, FAS.
In her speech, Prof. Ekpunobi stressed that humility, promotion of academic excellence, considering lecturers and non-teaching staff as her colleagues as well as giving listening ears to everyone was some of the variables she applied in keeping the Department’s flag flying high.
She urged the members of staff to replicate the same energy and support they gave her during her tenure to the incoming HoD.
On his part, Emeritus Professor Austin Eboatu expressed delight that the Department he joined in 1994 has grown in leaps and bounds as can be seen with the number of scholars the Department has produced and academic results over the years. Eboatu informed that the present HOD needs cooperation and support from the staff of the Department and all hands must be on desk in ensuring that the Department moves ahead.
Awards were given to the best graduating students for the 2020/21 session, Prof. Uche Ekpunobi’s Prize of N50,000 for Best Graduating Female student went to Chukwu Ogechi Blessing who graduated with first class honours, Chukwu Ogechi Blessing also emerged winner of Prof. Mabel Akpuaka’s Prize of N30,000 for Best Graduating Organic Chemistry student while Ike Arinze Chukwuemerie with a first class honours degree claimed the Prof. Mabel Akpuaka’s Prize of N50,000 for the Best Graduating Student for 2020/21 academic session.
Ike Arinze also annexed the Prof. Josephat Okechukwu Ogbuagu’s Prize of N10,000 for the Best Graduating Industrial Chemistry student.
Highpoints of the occasion was special award to Prof. Patrice-Anthony Chudy Okoye and other staff members for various achievements as well as dummy cheque presentations to Chukwu, Ogechi Blessing and Ike, Arinze Chukwuemerie.