THE ILLUSTRIOUS JOURNEY OF HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. PLACID NJOKU (FORMER DEPUTY GOVERNOR OF IMO STATE); AN ARCHITECT OF ACADEMIC BRILLIANCE – AS HE MARKS 77TH BIRTHDAY ON THE 10TH OF FEBRUARY, 2024.
In the hallowed halls of academia, there exists a luminary whose name has become synonymous with erudition and scholarly excellence – Professor Placid Njoku (Former Deputy Governor of Imo State). Prof. Njoku’s trajectory from academic grassroot to the pinnacles of academic achievement is a testament to his unwavering dedication to knowledge and education. Four years ago, same Prof. Placid Njoku made an unexpected entry into politics as a Deputy Governor in Imo State and as he left office mid-January, 2024, he demonstrated his class in excellence, a testament that good people can very actively participate in politics and leave the stable sane and undented.
Early Life and Academic Ascent:
Prof. Placid Chike Njoku was born on the 10th February, 1947 in Umuri Amaimo, Ikeduru LGA in, Imo State. From an early age, he displayed an insatiable curiosity and innate thirst for knowledge. His academic journey began at a local primary school, where his exceptional intellect quickly caught the attention of his teachers. Driven by passion, young Placid set his sights on higher education and obtained the West African School Certificate, Division 1, in December 1964. After completing his secondary education with flying colors, Placid Njoku was among a select group of brilliant children from Eastern Region of Nigeria sent to Emergency Federal School of Science, Lagos for Higher School. At the end of the intervening Nigerian Civil War, Placid earned a coveted entry into the prestigious University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he pursued a degree in Animal Science and graduated with Second Class Upper Division, laying the foundation for a remarkable career in academia.
Prof. Placid Njoku’s academic odyssey took him to renowned universities across the world, where he honed his expertise and contributed significantly to the advancement of knowledge. After his National Youth Service Corps year in Lagos State, Placid was appointed Graduate Assistant at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. In 1976, he obtained a training leave from ABU to study for his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Poultry Science and Monogastric Animal Nutrition from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, U.S.A, which he earned in 1978 and 1980, respectively. At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, U.S.A, Placid. Njoku’s academic brilliancy did not go unnoticed, as he was awarded a Graduate Assistantship in the Department of Poultry Science from 1976 to 1978 for his Master’s programme. Subsequently, he was appointed a Research Associate during his Ph.D., which he obtained in 1980, solidifying his position as a rising star in his field of study.
Returning to Nigeria immediately after graduation, Prof. Njoku continued with his university career at ABU Zaria, where he lectured and rose to the rank of a Senior Lecturer in 1986 and a Reader/Associate Professor in 1989, leaving indelible marks on countless students who were fortunate enough to learn from him. His lectures were not mere lessons; they were intellectual journeys that inspired a new generation of thinkers and scholars. On October 01, 1989, then Dr. Placid Njoku was granted sabbatical leave by ABU Zaria to Scotland, UK, where he was a Visiting Scientist to the Poultry Department at the renowned Roslin Research Station, AFRC Institute for Grassland and Animal Production, Roslin Edinburgh, Scotland.
As a scholar with a stellar reputation in academia, his academic impact covered a range of Universities including Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi, where he taught many Post Graduate courses as a Professor of Animal/Poultry Science, School of Agriculture. In 1991, Prof. Njoku accepted a position as the Director of Research and Postgraduate Development at the National Universities Commission (NUC). He was later appointed Director of Academic Planning Department where he featured prominently in developing policy and structure for private universities in Nigeria and the Education Trust Fund (ETF) (now Tertiary Education Trust Fund – TETFund). Prof. Placid Njoku’s unwavering dedication and commitment in the academia resulted to his appointment in 1993 as the pioneer Vice Chancellor and consequently the Chief Academic and Administrative Officer at Federal (now Michael Okpara) University of Agriculture, Umudike, from May 27th 1993 to December 31st, 1999. By the time he left the University of Agriculture Umudike, the institution was ranked by NUC as the overall second best University in academic quality index among the 36 existing Universities following the results of the 1999 accreditation exercise in all Nigeria Universities. During his tenure as Vice Chancellor, Prof. Njoku was elected and served as Chairman, Committee of Vice-Chancellors (CVC) of all Nigerian Universities.
Beyond the confines of the lecture hall, Prof. Placid Njoku embraced his responsibility to contribute to the development of his nation. As a seasoned academic and a quintessential professional who rose to the climax of his career as Vice Chancellor at (now) Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Professor Njoku was unanimously elected in 2007 in far away Ile-Ife Osun State as the pioneer President of the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science, thus making him one of the few Nigerians who has pioneered the establishment of two chartered Federal Institutions. His performance in both institutions is laden with outstanding legacies. His expertise led him to be appointed to various national committees and task forces including:
• Chairman, Presidential Task Force on the Closure of Satellite Campuses (2002);
• Chairman, NUC Committee on Debt Swap for Education in Nigeria (2003);
• Member, Ministerial Committee on the Implementation of Government White Paper on the report of the panel on the inquiry on the activities of the Council of Kaduna Polytechnic (2003);
• Chairman, University System Management Award Scheme Committee, NUC, Abuja(2002-2007), where he played a pivotal role in shaping policies related to tertiary education governance;
• Member, Governing Board of National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI)
Prof Njoku was also involved in several consultancies with the World Bank, British Council, Swiss Embassy, Association of African Universities, Senate Committee on Education, National Planning Commission, TETFUND.
Professor Placid Njoku’s commitment to excellence and integrity in these roles earned him the admiration of colleagues and policymakers alike.
Professor Placid Njoku in Politics:
The greatest turn of events in Placid Njoku’s life was his venture into politics. Previously, Prof. Njoku had, to the astonishment of many, suddenly left a most flourishing career in research in the universities to go into University governance at NUC and University of Agriculture Umudike. Subsequently, he changed to professional governance as he accepted the position of pioneer President, Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS), where he established the structures and brought visibility and respectability to his Animal Science profession. His professional colleagues say with pride, that Prof. Njoku is their professional anchor.
But nothing shocked Professor Njoku’s colleagues, friends, and professional network as his decision to go into politics. His choice by Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodinma to be his Deputy Governorship candidate to fly the flag of All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019 was like a silver bullet that many could not fathom. Prof. Njoku joined the campaign fray and traversed the length and breadth of Imo State with his Principal elucidating why APC is the Party for the State and the Party of the day. Subsequent to post-election Judicial processes, on 15 January 2020, Prof. Placid Njoku was sworn-in as Deputy Governor of Imo State and his principal, His Excellency Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodinmma, as the Executive Governor of Imo State. Many held their breath, Placid Njoku, a Deputy Governor? Prof. Njoku – how is he going to survive among the political sharks? What about his career heights, his integrity? Many just watched him with great anticipation. Shortly after taking office, then came the vicissitudes of the times: EndSARS, Breaking of the Owerri Correctional Centre (Prisons), COVID 19, Regional Separation, Sit-at-Home, unbridled Insecurity, Naira Redesign (and consequent scarcity), Oil Subsidy Removal, etc. Throughout the four years, the State was seriously challenged, yet Prof. Njoku survived. In fact, with the savvy leadership of his principal, Governor Uzodinmma, they carefully managed to steer the State to incredible good health – diminishing insecurity, developing roads and infrastructure, restoring utilities, building and equipping hospitals, stabilizing and enhancing the quality and governance of educational institutions, developing new tertiary institutions, aggressively tackling youth unemployment through entrepreneurial empowerment and the “Skill Up Imo” project, institutionalizing transparency and accountability, diminishing corruption, stabilizing the Civil service, optimizing the judiciary and the legislature, working to finally define Imo boundaries and innate resources, defining the content and architecture of the Orashi industrial and marine opportunities, and more.
Prof. Njoku’s tenure as the Deputy Governor was characterised by a significant rise in educational standards and increased access to quality learning. Institutions with programmes with denied accreditation for various academic programmes had their programmes accredited. Moribund institutions were resuscitated, with his involvement, to provide Imo children more opportunities to actualize themselves academically. As Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prof. Njoku was also the Chairman of the State Boundary Committee. Here, he applied his wealth of experience in resolving age-old boundary/land disputes between Local Governments. He also provided the fundamental base which enabled the National Boundary Commission complete the field work for the delineation of the boundaries of Imo and Rivers States.
In the period too, Prof. Njoku traversed all over Imo State making friends and enthusing people, representing his Boss in many important Community, State, Regional, and National meetings and fora. Placid Njoku is today well known in Imo and national political circles, and his leaving office on 15 January 2024 brought to him a torrent of goodwill messages and acknowledgements. Known for his unmistaken and implicit faith in God, the future trajectory of Prof. Njoku will certainly be defined by time and fate, with God superintending.
Legacy and Future Endeavors:
As Prof. Placid Njoku quietly marks his 77th birthday on 10th February 2024, his story continues to inspire and shape the minds of the next generation, with his legacy firmly cemented in the annals of academia, governance and politics.
Certainly, as Deputy Governor, Prof. Njoku used his education, rich experiences in governance, and wisdom to navigate a path where many non-discerning have met the ripe banana peel.
In fact, in an era where knowledge is the currency of progress, Prof. Placid Njoku is indeed an embodiment of a book that must be read by budding politicians, a guiding light, illuminating the path for those who dare to dream and aspire to achieve greatness through the pursuit of knowledge, and a lexicon for success in deputising and in good governance. His story is not just a biography; it is a testament to the transformative power of rich education with the resultant self-confidence, integrity, and contentment as well as the indomitable spirit of a man dedicated to shaping a brighter future for generations to come. Join me in saying Happy Birthday, Your Excellency Prof. Placid Njoku.
Chinedu Nsofor is the authorized biographer of His Excellency, Prof. Placid Chike Njoku and he writes from Owerri Imo State
MAKING AN IMPACT WITH CHORAL MUSIC, DR DK AND DR SHADE OLUKOYA SETS A NEW STANDARD
MAKING AN IMPACT WITH CHORAL MUSIC, DR DK AND DR SHADE OLUKOYA SETS A NEW STANDARD FOR CHILDREN IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS ACROSS LAGOS STATE.
For some weeks now the Dr. Dk and Dr. Mrs. Shade Olukoya Choral Competition for secondary schools in Lagos state has been on going, this is an event that discovers raw singing talents across the state, this competition is held Throughout the 6 educational district of the state and has featured over 164 participants from all the Lagos state educational districts both online and offline, with 14 participants emerging as the finalist.
On the 25th of February, the final competition will hold at the grace hall of the MFM INTERNATIONAL HEADQUARTERS YABA LAGOS NIGERIA. it is not surprising that the pioneers of this one-of-a-kind life changing event is the General overseer of the mountain of fire and Miracle’s ministries worldwide DR. D.K OLUKOYA and his wonderful wife DR. SHADE OLUKOYA
This competition is put in place to discover great musicians at their prime and enable youngsters find their love in the music space while they win awesome cash prizes and other academic benefits.
The finals of this great event will take place on the 25th of February 2024 so come and be a part of history, this event is fully certified by the Lagos state government WATCH OUT YOUR STATE MAY BE NEXT.
Governor Sanwoolu Replicates Primate Ayodele’s ‘Palliative Market’ Initiative In Lagos
*Governor Sanwoolu Replicates Primate Ayodele’s ‘Palliative Market’ Initiative In Lagos*
Since Nigeria has been enmeshed in economic hardship that started after the removal of fuel subsidy last year, Primate Elijah Ayodele, a Nigerian prophet, has been practically taking several measures to alleviate Nigerians from penury through different philanthropic activities.
Long before fuel subsidy was removed, Primate Ayodele has always dedicated the first Sunday of every month for ‘food service’, a service where everyone would go home with packs of food items like Rice, Beans, Garri, crates of eggs, tubers of yam, and a token.
Immediately fuel subsidy was removed, Primate Ayodele doubled his effort by making food service almost every Sunday. He understood the effect of the fuel subsidy removal on Nigerians and as an influential personality in the country, he effectively played the role of a succor provider for the people.
As time went on, the federal government announced that it will release some funds for palliatives in order to reduce the impact of fuel subsidy removal which has turned out to become a full blown economic hardship. When the government came up with this idea, Primate Ayodele knocked down the idea and said it would be another means to embezzle funds because it won’t get to the right people.
These were his words,
’’The N8,000 palliative is corruption, I see nothing in the palliative and it will not reach out to the poor masses. Despite the fact that Mr President has signed it, it will not make any impact. The governors will use it for their selfish needs. The poor will not enjoy it at all.’’
‘’It will not be a blessing to the majority, the palliative is just a waste of time and energy, it cannot work for its purpose,’’
Ever since, Primate Ayodele proposed in his heart to teach the government how to effectively organize a palliative that will impact the people directly. Instead of merely talking, Primate Ayodele went ahead to organize a ‘palliative market’ where he sold food items for ridiculous prices.
The idea behind this palliative market was to purchase items at the exorbitant prices they are being sold for and sell to the people at cheap prices. The first edition which was held in November 2023 saw a bag of rice sold for less than N5,000. There were other items like beans, indomie, tubers of yam, garri, groceries, turkey, groundut oil sold for very ridiculous prices and this wasn’t opened to church members alone, people from distant places benefited from this initiative.
As if that wasn’t enough, again on Wednesday,14th Of February 2024 to celebrate his annual thanksgiving programme, Primate Ayodele held another edition of palliative market and sold a full bag of rice for N20,000. There were also different food items bought at exorbitant prices by the man of God and sold to the people at cheap prices.
While speaking at the palliative market, Primate Ayodele called on state governors to replicate the same palliative market initiative in their various states because of the economic hardship in the country. He explained that affordability of food will go a long way in reducing the impact of the hardship on citizens.
In response to Primate Ayodele’s actions and calls, it appears Lagos state government has keyed into the palliative market initiative with the announcement of Governor Babajide Sanwoolu on Thursday morning during a live interview session.
Given the rising cost of food and other staples, Mr Sanwo-Olu expressed the state government’s resolve to open more markets where residents can buy food items at discounted rates.
Specifically, the governor disclosed that plans have been concluded to open Sunday Markets in at least 42 identified markets across the state where residents will be able to buy food items at discounted price. “You will only be able to buy items worth up to N25,000,”
This is no doubt a welcome development and it vividly shows that state governments are now interested in doing the right thing for the benefit of the people. If other state governments follow suit, the impact of economic hardship would be reduced to its barest minimum.
Labour Party Candidate Accuses Former Chairman of Forgery and Electoral Sabotage in Ebonyi State
Labour Party Candidate Accuses Former Chairman of Forgery and Electoral Sabotage in Ebonyi State
Eze Oko Splendour, the Labour Party’s 2023 governorship candidate for Ebonyi State, has levelled serious allegations against the party’s former National Chairman, Julius Abure, in a statement released on Wednesday. Splendour accuses Abure of orchestrating a campaign of “criminality, deceit and manipulation” to deny him the governorship candidacy.
Following his victory in the party’s primaries, Splendour claims Abure pressured him to step down in favour of Edward Nkwegu Okereke, who had unsuccessfully contested the primaries for the All Progressives Congress (APC). When these efforts failed, Splendour alleges Abure resorted to forgery, fabricating a withdrawal letter bearing his forged signature and submitting it to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to facilitate an illegal substitution.
“I was left in utter shock when I eventually caught wind of the reprehensible actions of the former Chairman,” Splendour states in a speech he read at a press conference. He describes Abure’s actions as a “betrayal of trust” and a “brazen act of criminality” that undermines “internal party democracy, free and fair elections, and the rule of law.”
Splendour further claims that after pursuing legal action, the Federal Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) recommended Abure’s prosecution. However, he expresses concern that the case has stalled, prompting him to appeal directly to the new Attorney General of the Federation, Lateef Fagbemi.
“The prosecution of Abure is not only a matter of justice but also a reaffirmation of our commitment to the principles of transparency, fairness and accountability in governance,” Splendour emphasizes. He urges Fagbemi to take swift action, highlighting the importance of holding those who attempt to manipulate elections accountable.
He concludes with a call for upholding the rule of law and ensuring no one is above it. While Abure has yet to respond to the allegations, Splendour’s accusations raise concerns about potential manipulation within the Labour Party and the integrity of electoral processes in Ebonyi State.
Also the party Governorship flag bearer in plateau state had his name removed and substituted by National Chairman, Julius Abure who allegedly forged his signature on purported letter of withdrawal.
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