Thursday, 18 April, 2024

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Professor Ugboaja formally joins the apex exclusive club in academia


By Ezeakukwu Emmanuel Nsoedo

Professor Joseph Odirichukwu Ugboaja (OON) was among the thirty-four Professors and eighty Readers the Governing Council approved for promotions and has been honored and accepted. It is worthy of note that in 2019, Professor Ugboaja was promoted to Reader by the University.

While it is exceptional to reach the apex of academic at a relatively young age, Professor Ugboaja has been an all-around great achiever in various endeavors where he had impacted and continues to impact the well-being of his immediate constituency and the larger society.

Professor Joseph Odirichukwu Ugboaja (OON) is the Chief Medical Director of the prestigious Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH). He served two tenures as the Chairman of the Medical Advisory Council (C-MAC). Before then, he was the Deputy CMAC for four years.

What is true of Professor Ugboaja is that he is a visionary leader who sees the complexities of tasks with endless opportunities, and possibilities of excellence. This is the ideals he brought in whatever capacities that he had found himself since joining NAUTH.

Before being appointed the CMD, Ugboaja had articulated what he wanted to accomplish if appointed to the prestigious position. His utterances were, for the most part, seen as a cheap way to sweet-talk people into forming a fairy tale opinion of him and capacity even to broach the arduous tasks that the NAUTH’s permanent site presents.

For most of the people who listened to the well-crafted visionary exposition by Professor Ugboaja, it seems it was a mere deja vu. Deja vu “In simple terms, that means that when you have déjà vu, you feel like you’re experiencing something that you almost certainly couldn’t have”.

Against all odds, Professor Ugboaja convinced major stakeholders to buy into his vision, which he sang like a mantra about moving to the NAUTH’s permanent site, which will liberate the medical professionals and staff to give their best in a well-structured environment.

He professed to make NAUTH a medical destination point by investing appropriately in the necessary infrastructure that will allow the hospital to blossom. Within two years of becoming the CMD, infrastructures, and constructions going on at the site far exceeded what one could have imagined under normal circumstances where the hospital is financially buoyant. These developments are being made at a time when the country is experiencing very difficult financial stress that has affected very critical sectors.

The paucity of funds did not daunt Ugboaja because his “can-do spirit” kept him searching, and he never relented. He kept up the collaboration; he promised the stakeholders to work with him to drive the hospital to its rightful position.

The effort he has made and his record of achievements have not gone unnoticed in various quarters. HRH Igwe Kenneth Orizu III had adopted Professor Ugboaja as a son for what Igwe had seen at the permanent site intrigued him so much that from time to time, he went out there to observe the progress of work, despite his advanced age of nearing 100 years. HRH Igwe Orizu III is building an ICT center at the permanent site as a way to be part of the success story

The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria honored Prof Ugboaja with the National Merit Award as Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) for his quantifiable and relentless efforts to turn around the NAUTH in a very short space of time with immense added value to the health sector in Nigeria.

The Mbido Igbo Association’. The Association is made of prominent Igbo Traditional Rulers, Custodians, and passionate promoters of Igbo culture and tradition both at home and in diaspora jointly conferred on Prof Ugboaja the title of ‘IFEOMA EJI ÁMÁ ATU’ in recognition of his exemplary “leadership cum giant stride achievements as the acting CMD.”

His Majesty, Robert Eze (Okofia VI), Igwe Ukpo and clan head of Dunukofia ancient kingdom, honored Joseph Ugboaja with the title of “Kachi Si Eme Amaka.” The title was given to him based on the strident developmental moves he had embarked on at the Nnewi permanent site and the NAUTH’s annex at Ukpo.

The SWEET HOME FOUNDATION gave Prof Ugboaja “Merit Award for Humanitarian Visionary Leadership in Health.” At that time, Vision Newspapers wrote it “believes that it is in recognition of the structured and measured milestones that Prof Ugboaja, through his leadership, had put in place to project NAUTH as one of the leading health destination centers in Africa.

In all these, Ugboaja had never relented in ensuring that the welfare of the staff of the hospital was compromised. He ensured that all due promotions were granted to all the staff. And those who have acquired degrees were converted accordingly. He made the working environment friendlier as Ugboaja strives to maintain the family relationship (as he sees his staff) on the upbeat.

The latest recognition as a confirmed Professor is just another incentive to keep pushing for more glory for the hospital.

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