PROFESSOR ASUZU UNVEILED!


One bright sunny Friday in the month of November 1953, a certain birth took place. The family celebrated for yet another child had been born to them, a male. The community rejoiced with the family as tradition demanded. But neither the family nor the community had any inkling into the stars of this new birth, as there was nothing remarkable about his birth to foretell the greatness that awaited him. So the progression of life for the infant boy continued, nurtured by family care and community support, as usual.

That new born has eventually come of age. Those who witnessed his birth then can no longer reconcile the glory of the present, with its honour and aura of influence and achievements, with the seemingly rustic, inconsequential and non-descript past. He has become large in influence. His name now opens doors. When he calls one now many stand at his door waiting to take his instructions. Like the oak tree, has indeed found a place to grow and branch out. 

That infant of a distant past is now a full man in the person of Professor Isaac Uzoma Asuzu, the eminent academic, and Vice Chancellor, Federal University, Oye Ekiti.

Prof. Asuzu is a professor of Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology. His foray into the academia started in 1981 as Lecturer II at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. As a man on a set mission, he obtained both his Master’s and doctorate degrees between 1982 and 1988. Four years later in 1992, he became a Professor.

WHAT A FEAT!

Prof. Asuzu has been a university teacher all his working life. In the course of his career in the university; he has been Head of Department, Dean of faculties, a two-term Deputy Vice Chancellor, all at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He has been involved in a lot of Research works before with particular emphasis on isolating and identifying active drugs from medicinal plants that are found in the tropics. This has been his research interest all along.

Besides research, Prof. Asuzu has served as Visiting Lecturer to some institutions, prominent among which are Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Maiduguri, Bornu State between 1988 and 1990 as well as Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology, Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, Nigeria, in 1990. Besides these, he has served as External Examiner in various institutions across Nigeria right from 1994. Added to this research experience, is uncountable post - graduate supervisions.

Prof. Isaac Asuzu is a member of many professional bodies and scientific organizations. Prominent among which are the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association, Science Association of Nigeria (SAN), International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy; Veterinary Council of Nigeria, American College of Toxicology, Board of Trustees, Christian Veterinarians of Nigeria; Association of Commonwealth University Scholars, etc.

In the course of his academic development, Prof. Asuzu has won a lot of Scholarships and Fellowships. For instance, he won the Federal Government of Nigeria Scholarship for DVM programme, 1975-1980. He won the British Scholarship of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Italy 1988 and 1990 as well as the Commonwealth Academic Staff Fellowship for Post Doctoral Research at the University of Strathclyde Glasgow, 1990 1991. Besides, he was a beneficiary of the Welcome International Travelling Research Fellowship at the University of Strathclyde Glasgow, 1997 1999 as well as Travel Award by the African Society of Toxicological Sciences in New Orleans USA, between March 3and 102004.

Prof. Asuzu has won a number of awards; prominent among these are: Pioneer prize for the first PhD of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine University of Nigeria Nsukka.

University of Nigeria Nsukka Vice Chancellor’s Research Prize for the best Ph.D research project, 1988.

University Award for outstanding contribution to the growth and development of the Faculty ofVeterinary Medicine, 2008. At the international scene, he has received the following recognitions and awards:

Regular Association Award of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics Trieste, Italy in Biophysics, 1995-1999.

Wellcome Trust Development Research Award 2000-2003.

Senior Association Award of the international Theoretical Physics in Italy, 2001 -2007.

Elsevier International Publishers: Top Reviewer of the Year 2008 for the Journal TOXICON.

Besides these awards and achievements, Professor Asuzu has attended many workshops, conferences, colleges. In 2008, he attended the Training workshop for Project Managers organized by the World Bank at the Centre for Development Studies, Lagos Nigeria. Between 24 and 27 March 1997, he attended the Inaugural Planning and Review of Nationally Co-ordinated Research Programmes on Livestock Diseases: National Veterinary Research Institute Vom, Plateau State, Nigeria.

He attended among others, the Workshop on “Cyril Ponnamperuma Memorial and Trieste Conference on Chemical Evolution IV: Physics of the origin and evolution of life”:

International Centre for Theoretical Physics Trieste Italy, 4-8 September 1995. He was participant at the 15th World Congress on Animal, Plant and Microbial Toxins, Glasgow Scotland, between 23 and 28 July 2006, He actually presented a paper titled “Myths and realities of plant- based remedy for snakebites”. Between 3 and 10 March 2005, at New Orleans USA, he presented a paper titled” In Vitro Efficacy of Some Plant Extracts from Nigeria “at the 44th Society of Toxicology Conference. At the lstCongresso Intersocieta Sulle Piante Medicinali, Trieste Italy, he presented a paper titled” The Effects of Dennetia Tripetala on Glucose Uptake Mechanism”. There are more!

In spite of these remarkable exploits and achievements, Professor Asuzu has remained humble and accessible. One of his former students, Dr. Danial Anya K., described him in the following words: “Prof Asuzu is a devout Christian who regularly ministered at student fellowships at UNN.

He is very friendly, approachable, diligent, humble and indeed, a father. He is very research-minded, apolitical, astute manager of crisis, and a consummate teacher, loved by most. He is a straightforward person and very result-oriented”.

Dr. Onyeka Asuzu, A veterinary lecturer at the Ikole Campus of FUOYE equally described him as a father in role and intent, an erudite man who is able to effectively combine family and career”.

But how does Prof Asuzu see himself? His description of self captures his simplicity and attitude to life and work: “All my life I have always been a researcher. All my efforts have been primarily geared towards research. I never thought I would be this involved in administration.

But sometimes I have had to take up administrative roles when called upon in between my research activities. And in each case, I had always done my best even though I didnt push for them. Like I tell people, whatever I do, I put in my best”.

Asked of his vision for FUOYE, he said: “1 believe that by the time I finish with FUOYE in five years time the school would be the best in the country and able to compete with the first generation universities. That is my dream for the university”.

Professor Asuzu hails from Ogwa, in the present Mbaitolu LGA of Imo State. He is of a military parentage - having been born by a soldier father. Hear him talk of his upbringing: “I was born in the barracks in Enugu on November 13, 1953. My father, as a military officer, was always on transfer and this is why I happened to have attended many primary schools. My father trained us well. He was actually a disciplinarian who loved education”.

For his primary school, he attended different schools: St. Johns Primary School, Abeokuta and Army Primary School, Zaria, and completed primary education eventually at Demonstration School Afikpo with a Distinction.

For his secondary school education he attended the Government Secondary School Afikpo: one of the best schools of its time. It was here destiny first brought him and Prof Chinedu Nebo together. (Prof. Nebo, the present Minster for Power, is the pioneer Vice Chancellor of (FUOYE). He left secondary school in 1973 and gained admission to study Veterinary Medicine at the University of Nigeria Nsukka in 1974 and graduated in 1980.

Prof Asuzu has a fantastic testimony of the few who met their wives during their service year. He got married to his heartthrob, Chinwe, in 1981 while doing his compulsory national youth service. Mrs. Chinwe Asuzu is a professional botanist and an academic, lecturing at University of Nigeria, Nsukka. The union is blessed with four children.

In his maiden interview with Innovate he said: “I want to inform the FUOYE community that we are going to do serious business, and I would want us to co - operate with one another, every person doing his own bit. It is no longer going to be business as usual because we have serious assignment to deliver and we will all put our hands together toward achieving these set tasks- regardless of ethnicity, sex or religion.

I need maximum cooperation from everyone that plays in FUOYE. If any person deserves anything, that person must surely get it. All rights and privileges must be accorded to everyone without bias. But we must work for them”.

This charge is in line with his philosophy in life. Both his son and former student were unanimous when they said that to get his attention, you are required to articulate your presentation or whatever you had to discuss with him before knocking on his door. The plaque that used to adorn his office door back then at UNN said it all: “Any discussion that lasts more than five minutes is a distraction”.

                                                                                                                                 FUOYE, behold your Vice Chancellor!

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