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

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.

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