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Scorecard: Prof. Stan Udedi’s Sterling Records as Dean of Biosciences

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By Gabriel Chy Alonta

“Like yeast, it’s impressive how considerably an ounce of determination can make one’s efforts grow and expand” – Richelle Goodrich.

The above quote is most suitable wordings to describe the determination and doggedness of the outgoing Dean of Faculty of Biosciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Prof. Stanley Chidi Udedi, who has left many footprints and enviable records in the last two years despite the _’majeure’_ of the COVID-19 pandemic and long strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

Prof. Udedi, widely dubbed a digital Dean, seized every opportunity of his office to transform the Faculty of Biosciences as seen and attested to by staff and students alike. This, he was able to accomplish because of his dogged determination and with the massive support of his coteries.

Udedi, who is a professor of Applied Biochemistry, upon his assumption of office on January 25, 2021, promised to leave no stone unturned. He was never found wanting in this regard as his laudable achievements in the faculty speak volume to his unwavering resolve. Little wonder the university vice-chancellor, Prof. Charles Okechukwu Esimone, FAS, at the post-conference party and awards organized by the Faculty of Biosciences on Thursday, January 12, 2023, was full of praise for the one-time member of Governing Council, representing Convocation (2005-2009).

“I want to commend Prof. Stan Udedi for the landmark achievements he recorded during his tenure despite the daunting challenges that the university faced in the last two years. “This is a reflection of the holistic attainment of Nnamdi Azikiwe University in the endeavours for which universities are known. I therefore thank the Biosciences faculty for working in tandem to the actualization of our vision”, Esimone, the 6th substantive vice-chancellor said, while extolling Prof. Udedi for documenting his achievements.

Highlighting his administration’s achievement during the Biosciences week-long 2nd international conference, Prof. Udedi, a former chairman, Unizik Needs Assessment Committee (2021-2022) said, “Upon assumption of office, we immediately went to work and made some humble contributions to the faculty growth and development.

“We restored EEDC light supply to science village after over 13-months of lack of electricity supply, Fixed non-functional transformer and replaced the three collapsed electric poles; Fixed the 500 KVA science village generator ably supported by some Professors and Readers from both faculties of Biosciences and Physical Sciences who raised the total sum of N581,000 for the project; Remodeled the Biosciences Central Laboratory (BCL); Deployed 36 technologists to the BCL drawn from all the Departments in the faculty now headed by Mrs Bene Anajekwu, A Chief Technologist from Department of Biochemistry.

“We introduced conference marking which has progressed for 4 semesters; Developed the 3 new Biosciences Lecture Halls; Renovated the Biosciences faculty buildings and staff canteen; Developed a Faculty Virtual classroom sponsored by High Chief Hon. George Edozie Ozoh, Transition Chairman, Njikoka LGA; Developed the Biosciences Faculty hybrid library; Installed and Deployed 4 Projectors in all faculty lecture rooms; Purchased and deployed two 4.5kva generators to the lecture halls to ensure that the projectors are in constant use.

“We constructed and installed the DNA double stranded structure as faculty logo and faculty signage sponsored by 2020/2021 BIOSSA; Attracted the TetFund Centre of Excellence for Biomedicine, Engineering and Agricultural translational studies to the Faculty; Departments of Applied Biochemistry, Botany, Parasitology & Entomology and Zoology had full NUC accreditation in 2021 under our watch; Effective waste and water management, as three new wells were constructed while existing two reactivated; Biosciences football team won the University football tournament, the first ever in the history of the faculty.

“We reactivated the Faculty Annual lecture series; Partitioned seven new offices for staff at the Needs Assessment building; Initiated the process of establishment of Establishment of Departments of Biotechnology and Science Laboratory Technology; Establishment of Faculty coconut plantation; Initiated the process of establishment of Centre for Molecular Biosciences & Biotechnology which the vice-chancellor promised to fully equip; among other contributions too numerous to mention”. Indeed to describe these achievements as “mouthwatering”, will only be stating the obvious for a Dean who faced unprecedented challenges in the office.

In addition to his many accomplishments and contributions to the Faculty of Biosciences and the University at large, Prof. Udedi is a team player. As a team player, he recognised that the ‘modest’ achievements recorded would not have been possible if not for the support he enjoyed from the university management, his Subdean, Dr. K. U. Ekwealor, staff, students and friends of the faculty. In fact, he embodied the philosophy of a great and servant leader, whose actions are bent on the good of others. This is evident in his principles of encouraging diversity of thought, creating a culture of trust, having an unselfish mindset, and fostering leadership among staff and students.

To crown it all, Prof. Udedi, who once held sway as the Dean Student Affairs (2016-2019), has served the University in different capacities in the past. He was once the Alumni Liaison Officer (2003-2008); Ag. HOD Department of Applied Biochemistry (2008-2009); PG Coordinator, Department of Applied Biochemistry (2009-2013); Deputy Director, Biotech Research Centre (2013-2015); Chairman, Faculty Examination Misconduct Committee (2014-2021); Director, Biotech Research Centre (2015-2016); Chairman, Hostel Management Committee (2016-2019), and so on.

Today, as Prof. Stanley Chidi Udedi vacates office as the Dean, Faculty of Biosciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, I join the rest of the staff and students of the faculty, University community, family, friends and well-wishers to celebrate the legacy of this intellectual guru, an astute administrator, a seasoned scholar, a colossus, the digital Dean with a difference and an accomplished leader. This is wishing Prof. Udedi the very best in his future service to the University and humanity at large.

GABRIEL CHIDIEBERE ALONTA is a media consultant and Business Education lecturer at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria – Reach him on [email protected] – +2347037948689.

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