ONYEDI GABRIEL, Port Harcourt
Professor Owunari from the Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has defeated 12 other contestants to emerge the new Vice-Chancellor of the institution.
The Chairman of the university’s Governing Council, Senator Andrew Uchendu, made the announcement at the school’s Senate Building at the weekend.
The current VC took over from Prof. Stephen Okududu, who was appointed last year on acting capacity following delay in inaugurating a Governing Council, which was later put in place in May 17, 202.
Uchendu said: “The 16th council was inaugurated on 17th of May 2021, and during our first meeting, we realized that the moral of service was at the lowest ebb. Most all of the principal officers were all on acting appointment , and we know that systems and managements cannot grow in such setting”
“So, the council felt that addressing such a vacuum will be the greatest priority to pursue and about two and half months later, the council was able to do advertisements, we considered the fact that a lot of things have gone wrong so we couldn’t build on the existing parameters. We decided to start afresh and we were patient for six weeks, after we advertised, we collected applications , and started the process of recruitment”
He said the council complied with the provisions of the University Act on the selection of the VC.
“After interviewing about 12 applicants , we found three of them appoint able and on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, and following the report of the selection board , the council approved the appointment of Professor Georgewill Owunari as the 9th vice chancellor of the University of the Port Harcourt”, he said.
He asked Owunari to avoid discrimination, saying: “ You must work with all to do good to all but be firm”, said Uchendu
“I was shocked when I read in one of the publications that the University of Port Harcourt was rated 6th in the country a few years ago. I don’t know where it is now but you must get it back to that point”.
The new VC vowed to work with his team to ensure the institution is ranked among the top 100 universities in the world.
“I will strive to work to ensure that we surpass the 6th position to be among the top five in Nigeria, top 10 in Africa and top 100 in the world”, he said.
Owunari said he would run an all-inclusive government, utilize the abundant human resources in the institution to move the university forward.
While commending the president for the opportunity to serve, Owunari called on all the persons who contested with him to join hands with him to advance the institution.