Charles Arinzechukwu Igwe, , new Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka , is a Professor of Soil Science . Native of Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria and born, August 23, 1958, Igwe holds a PhD, M.Sc. and B. Agric degrees in Soil Science from University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
He also obtained Postgraduate Diploma in Soil Science from Agricultural University, Norway, He was Head of Department; Associate Dean of Faculty; Dean of Faculty and Directors of Centres at various times. Charles was Visiting Researcher/Professor in Universities located in Germany, Japan, Norway, Italy and France. He is a member, University Governing Council and has supervised Undergraduates, Masters and many PhD students in his discipline. He is an External Examiner and Professorial Assessor in many Nigerian and European Universities.
He is also a NORAD Fellow; Fellow of Alexander von Humboldt (AvH) Germany; Regular Associate, International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy; Fellow, Japanese Society for Promotion of Science; Winner, University of Nigeria Vice-Chancellor’s Faculty and University Prizes 1992/93; Listed in Marquis Who’s Who in Science and Engineering; participant in German DAAD/DIES Deans Course 2009. Professor Igwe, until his most current appointment, was the Deputy Vice-chancellor, Administration, University of Nigeria Nsukka.
Upon the announcement of his appointment, the new VC set aside time to grant exclusive interview to Ugonna Anejionu, Assistant Editor, Verbatim Magazine, on his vision and dream for the University. The interview, the first to any media establishment, took place in his office in the university. Excerpts:
Verbatim: Congratulations Sir on your new appointment.How do you feel over the appointment?.
Igwe : Thank you Editor and welcome to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. I feel very excited and I owe gratitude to God Almighty that made it possible. I also thank the university governing council who were thorough in the selection and screening process. The process was very thorough and unbiased indeed, and I am happy I was chosen.
Verbatim: Prof, there is a general excitement in the entire university over your appointment which gives the impression that you are a man of the people. Can you tell us what you feel led to this?
Igwe – Well I can only say I am a grass root person who has contributed immensely to the growth of the university. I have been on ground and helped formulate and shape policies in the university over time. Remember I was the Deputy Vice Chancellor (administration) for two tenures under Prof Benjamin Ozumba, my predecessor who taught me a lot and exposed me to the intrigues of leadership. On the other hand, I schooled here in UNN, got my PhD here, became a Head of Department, Dean, council member, and was involved in a lot of committees before becoming the DVC. You can see I grew through the ranks.There is a picture of myself and the then Vice Chancellor, Prof Oleka Udeala where he was shaking my hands as one of the best graduating students on my PhD convocation. The picture has been in my office and you can take a shot of it if you wish.However, I am the first alumnus of this university to become the Vice Chancellor here and I feel that alone gave people of the university community that feeling that a true insider has come. They are relaxed and happy. Again, I think I am loved and respected by almost everybody around here because of my simplicity, tolerance, humility and contributions to the growth of the university. Maybe that is why they are happy and excited.
Verbatim: We heard you won the contest with a very clear margin above others. What do you think gave you that leverage over the other contestants?.
Igwe: Well, it could be because of the things I had already told you. I have been on ground so there was this general belief that I am the best candidate for the job.
Verbatim: so you are confirming to us that the process was unbiased.
Igwe: That is what I am saying. I have already told you that before. It was unbiased. Very unbiased and thorough. As a matter of fact, none of my co contestants have complained or condemned the process and there have been no litigations since then. Everyone accepted me and there has been a general peace in the university since then. That shows the process cannot be faulted.
Verbatim : You were a very close ally of Prof Ozumba who we hear you served so diligently. How would you describe him as a person?
Igwe : Prof Ozumba is simply exceptional. He is a great man with great intelligence who developed himself intellectually, administratively, academically and spiritually. He is an excellent administrator, a man of the people and it was a big fun serving under him. I will always respect and appreciate him for teaching me a lot of things.
Verbatim: Prof, you have eulogized and praised your predecessor, Prof Ozumba and it seems to be a known fact here that you enjoyed a good working relationship with him. Do you think you can sustain the tempo and legacies he left behind?
Igwe: Sure, I will. I will sustain the tempo andlegacies he instituted and will even try to take them to a higher level. He strived to change the face of the university and I do not think I have any other option than to key into them and improve on them where necessary.
Verbatim: What remarkable things will you do at UNN?
Igwe: I am here to work. nothing more, nothing less. I know expectations are high, being the first alumnus to become the Vice Chancellor here. People expect so much. Remember to whom much is given much is expected. I am conscious of these facts and I can only say I know the terrain well enough and cannot fail. UNN must be made more visible in all its ramifications. I have my plans and everybody will be happy at the end of the day. Our university I must say is in good and safe hands.
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