Nigeria’s Prof. Charles Egbu has been appointed the Vice Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University in England.Egbu, a professor of Quantity Surveying, will assume duties on November 1 as the first black Vice Chancellor of a British university.
He is currently the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education & Experience) at the University of East London, having served as the Dean of the School of the Built Environment and Architecture of the London South Bank University and a senior academic at the University College, London.
Reacting to the appointment, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari expressed delight at the news of the appointment of Professor Charles Egbu, from Anambra State, as Vice-Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University, United Kingdom.
President Buhari felicitates with the academic, who is the first black person appointed helmsman of a ranked university in the UK, urging him to continue to proudly hold the flag of Nigeria aloft in all his endeavors in the elevated position.
“With wide experience as Pro-Chancellor at the University of East London, Dean of the School of Built Environment and Architecture at London South Bank University, and stints at University of Salford, University College London, Glasgow Caledonian University, Leeds Beckett University, among others, I have no doubt that you will acquit yourself creditably once again in this new assignment,” President Buhari said
He adds that Professor Egbu, a foremost Quantity Surveyor with 12 books and over 350 publications to his credit, is a worthy example of an industrious Nigerian, whom the younger generation should adopt as a role model.
In a congratulatory message to Prof. Egbu, the Anambra State government said: “This is a great moment for not only the government and people of Anambra State, but also all Nigerians and indeed, Africans and Blacks across the globe.”
In a statement by Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State in southeastern Nigeria, said: “Prof. Egbu’s emergence is a game changer in the history of higher education in a conservative society like the United Kingdom, where only last January the Universities Minister, The Honourable Chris Skidmore, decried the fact that the number of Blacks holding senior academic positions in Britain is officially zero.”
“Prof. Egbu reminds all Africans of when Prof. Kenneth Onwuka Dike, another worthy indigene of Anambra State, became the first African and Black Principal of the University College, Ibadan, and later emerged its first African and Black Vice Chancellor of the university, which was established in 1948.
“Professor Dike, who graduated with First Class in the UK, just like Prof. Egbu, made the University of Ibadan to become synonymous with excellence in scholarship and administration throughout the world.
“A farsighted leader, Prof. Dike discovered early enough the great promise of such young scholars as Dr Jacob Ade Ajayi, and went out of his way to ensure their rapid rise, despite protests from certain quarters.
“The records which these scholars made in various disciplines and endeavours vindicated Prof. Dike’s actions, as he went on to become a distinguished professor at Harvard University until he was called upon, once again, to return home and serve his fatherland.”
The Governor noted that he is in no doubt that Prof. Egbu, who hails from Abatete in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, “will excel in his new role and consequently market our dear state to the world in a most uncanny way”.
“I have no doubt in my mind that he will not for a moment forget his roots and how he can contribute to our development,” he said.
Noting that Prof. Egbu’s appointment as the first Black Vice Chancellor of a UK university is purely based on merit rather than any primordial considerations, the Anambra State governor said, with pride, “it came when Anambra people in the state, in different parts of the country and all over the world are demonstrating, more than ever before, great competitiveness in education”.
He recalled that two weeks ago, Dr Chidubem Obi from Ifite Dunu in Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra State became the first African to emerge the overall best student in Russia’s oldest and most prestigious medical university, while Patrick Okigbo III, a member of the Anambra State Vision 2070 Committee set up by Governor Obiano to draw up a strategic plan to make the state fully developed like Dubai within 50 years, was one of the 12 persons across the globe appointed Senior Fellows at John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
“These are really good times for the people and government of Anambra State,” Governor Obiano said.