Monday, 4 July 2016

What I hate about my job — VC, Ambrose Ali University, Prof Onimawo


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Professor Onimawo to Asabeafrika....'I have the simple ambition to re-structure Ambrose Ali University'
Prof Ignatius Onimawo obtained his PhD in human nutrition specializing in human energy balance from University of Ibadan. His research interests include public health nutrition, human energy metabolism, studies in anaemia, development of new foods, non-communicable diseases and glycaemic indices of traditional foods. He was the director of Academic planning, at the Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma from 2011 to 2014. The Prof was also the Dean of the College of Food Processing and Storage Technology  at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike between 2006 and 2007.
Professor Onimawo is the immediate past National President of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria from 2009 to 2012 and currently the Secretary General, Federation of African Nutrition Societies.

Onimawo was a former Editor-in-Chief of Nigerian Journal of Nutritional Sciences and Annals of Natural Sciences.  This erudite professor of nutrition sciences has authored several books and over 100 scientific articles in national and international journals.
Onimawo is a knight of St. John International and a fellow of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria.
He is also a Consultant/Resource Person to GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition), UNICEF, FAO,  Federal Ministry of Health,  Federal Ministry of Education and EU/ETI (European Union/ETI Consult-France) on nutrition matters in Nigeria. He was recently appointed the Vice Chancellor of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State (South-South Nigeria).
 Professor Onimawo who is married with children was one of the special guests of honor and discussant at the Peak Nutrition Forum 2016 which held at the Oriental Hotel, Lekki-Lagos (South West Nigeria) on Wednesday June 15 and was equally one of the launchers of the newly introduced PEAK 4-5-6 at the event. Your soar-away Africa’s number 1 Celebrity Encounter blog, Asabeafrika spoke with the Professor on his life as a university leader among many other things. Enjoy the excerpts.


Professor Ignatius Onimawo receiving an international honor from a white fellow

Sir, what do you see to the FrieslandCampina launch of PEAK 4-5-6 and the message for Nigerian Parents about developing intelligent kids from age 4 to 6?
It is good. There is opportunity for Nigerians to understand the good in this campaign. The good development of their children is very, very important if Nigeria as a country must move forward and the key to that growth and development is nutrition. So, that is why when I started speaking during my presentation, I talked about the first one thousand days of life. From pregnancy to two years is very critical. Then, thereafter, from age 4 to 6 years when you see the child quadrupling his weight, his height is improved; activities are highly increased. Such a child may need an equivalent mental development and that is why nutrition is quite important and whatever they have launched today, the one they call the PEAK 4-5-6 is just very, very timely for the Nigerian child. That is what I can say now.

“To be a Professor is the peak of academic. Once you get to that point, you are fulfilled as an academic. So, I have lived a fulfilling life”

Professor Ignatius Onimawo to Asabeafrika...'Mothers must get quality nutrients while pregnant in order to enhance the intellect of the  child'

You came with your beautiful wife Mrs. Jane Onimawo to this event, how would you define her?
My wife is a very, very good friend; a loyalist per excellence, a mother and a credible helper.
Is she also a professor?
No, she is a lecturer. She is not yet a professor.
How will you describe your experience as the Vice Chancellor of Ambrose Ali University?
To be a Professor is the peak of academic. Once you get to that point, you are fulfilled as an academic. So, I have lived a fulfilling life. Though there are lots of challenges there but we are equal to the task.
Do you have a philosophy and if you don’t mind sharing it with me?
My philosophy is to always go for the best. That is my philosophy.

“We have a lot of good quality and well disciplined staff and students but we have a few ones that are not too good. We are trying to see how we can cope with them and re-orientate them and make them feel that they are important”

Professor Onimawo (2nd left) during the Health Forun session)

What do you enjoy about your job?
Well, I love interacting with people and making people’s lives better.
What do you hate most about your job?
Times when there is crisis; maybe when students are not happy or the staff are not happy. That kind of crisis saddens one.
So, how do you react to such crisis?
Well, you have to face it up. Square it up with them; address the issues frontally and in most cases, you succeed. 

“We need funds to do a lot of research. If you have a lot of money, research is very interesting”.

Professor Onimawo (R) with his successor at the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Professor Ngozi Nnam (M) and FrieslandCampina's Marketing Director, Tarang Gupta

How would you describe your experience after taking over as the new VC two months ago?
I am just a month one week as Vice Chancellor and it is too early to access my tenure now but all I know is that the events have been going steadily; we are improving on what we met on ground. There are some misconceptions about the institution which we are trying to correct. We have a lot of good quality and well disciplined staff and students but we have a few ones that are not too good. We are trying to see how we can cope with them and re-orientate them and make them feel that they are important. I think they should feel needed because sometimes they feel that they are not needed but we have to make them feel needed because when they know that they are being needed they will concentrate and become homely. We are simply trying to re-build their esteem and with that we can take off with their career and build them into responsible and knowledge-able citizens of Nigeria.

Professor Onimawo to Asabeafrika....'I hate it when my staff and student are unhappy. That is the bit of my job that puts me off'

What is the biggest challenge that you think people in your profession face?
It is funds. We need funds to do a lot of research. If you have a lot of money, research is very interesting.
So, how do you think Government can help in the area of research?
Ah, well; my university is a state owned university. The state government has been trying and we are also trying to look for a way to generate our own internal revenue. But on the whole, the economy of Nigeria at this moment is not too good. So, it affects every aspect of the country and literary studies including research.
On a last note, give a word to students you have trained in the past who are now leaders?
Well, what I tell them is that they can always do well. They should believe in themselves and hope for the best.

Gbenga Dan Asabe

Africa's Number One Celebrity Encounter Blog

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