It is with utmost humility and great delight that I stand here this 26th day of July 2012 to deliver this august 68th Inaugural lecture of our great University. I must say that I am greatly overwhelmed by this mammoth crowd that has gathered today in this dignified arena to hear the scientific story I have to tell. To me, it is a great honour, and I am the happiest for it.As the name suggests, an Inaugural lecture in a university setting, is designed to enable persons, newly endowed to professorial chairs, introduce themselves to the university community and indeed the whole wide world. In other words, the raison d’être for this lecture is for the new professor to showcase, as it were, his or her research profile,expertise and focus. It also affords him or her, the opportunity to project to the world, his or her idea of what 10
an ideal professional practice in his chosen field should look like. Due to some exigencies however, this lecture has notal ways been coming up immediately upon announcement of the professorial endowment. In my own case, it is happening six years after.Vice Chancellor Sir, Distinguished professors, esteemed audience, permit me at this point, to briefly feel the ebb and flow of history on an idyllic boat as I stroll leisurely through memory lane.
2.0 INTRODUCING THE INAUGURAL LECTURER
Born on 16th January 1964, to the humble home of two delightful and consistent Christians, Mr. Godson Onyemnado and Mrs. Justina Ukachi Ibezim, from Ogadama, Ogada, Atta, Ikeduru, Owerri, Imo State, little Master Emmanuel Chinedum Ibezim, grew up under strict Christian discipline and atmosphere of love. His stint with education started first at St Thomas Primary School Ogada,and later at Ogada Community School, Atta, Ikeduru. At school, he was by every standard, too tiny and that earned him some, albeit, infamous derogatory names. For instance, one of his primary school teachers then, Mr. Iheriohanma, used to call him, Nwa oke nga m (my little rat). At the primary school, he proved his mettle and was consistently at the top of the class, to the admiration of his numerous teachers but, understandably, envy of a few of his class mates who did not see why such a ‘tiny thing’ should be ahead of them in class. Of course, this attracted beatings and other punitive treatments from the ‘big boys’.11 He later gained admission, in 1975, to the famous Amaimo High School, Ikeduru, for his secondary education, where the story was not different either. His small size attracted several other names – like ‘atom’, ‘Tom boy’ and the like.At a time, he was the smallest in the entire school and the Senior Prefect then, Mr. Jude Ugwoegbulem, when he wanted to emphasize that his announcement involves every student in the school, would always say, ‘This announcement is for everybody – From the Senior Prefect to Emmanuel Ibezim’.Back then at Amaimo High School, the little Emmanuel greatly got challenged by the academic prowess of his mates- Francis Ononogbo of Ubomiri, Cleopas Nwagwu ofIkembara, Ebenezer Emeribe of Umuoziri Inyishi, Nnamdi Nwachukwu of Umuri Amaimo and John Onuoha from Mbaise. Healthy rivalry later developed among these intelligent students that helped to model them and today,they are resounding professionals, making waves in their respective fields. Some teachers who greatly impacted Emma’s life then included Mrs. Cordelia – Nee Mbawike(Chemistry teacher) and Mr. Iwuanyanwu (Biology teacher)both from Amaimo, Mr. Ikwueze (Igbo teacher) from Anambra, Mr. Boniface Nkwocha (Literature teacher) from Owerri, ‘Ghana Pieces’ (Maths teacher) from Uzoagba, Mr.Bruque (Physics teacher) and Mr. Oforha (Igbo Teacher).His principals, Mr. H. N. D. Ebonine and Mr. A. O. Nzerem also encouraged him a great deal.The following uncles of his also made unrivalled impact in this his early formative life and he owes a great deal of his success in life to their wise counsels and encouragements: 12 Mr. Nathan Agubosim, Mr. Benjamin Agubosim, Mr.Emeka Agubosim, Ven Ephraim Onwubuariri, Late Mr.Jonathan Ibezim, Chief Longinus T. Ogide, Mr. EddyOgide, Mr. Clifford Onwubuariri, Mr. Raphael Uwakwe,Mr. Robert Ibezim, and Sir Remigius Nwaloka. His maternal grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. Felix and Abigail Agubosim (both of blessed memory) really showered him with great love and care.Friends, they say, are like diamond, difficult to get, hard to mould but easy to lose. His five special childhood friends -Gozen (Nnadozie) Ekwueme, Ifeanyi Asiegbu, Dennis Ezirim, Nnamdi Nwachukwu and Linus Mmezu, like diamond, specially touched his life and he has been making efforts not to lose them.Knowledge is the fortress that protects mankind from the tyranny of ignorance while ignorance is the dagger that pierced the soul of truth. It is the early realization of this fact that made Emma, in 1980, to seek and secure admission to study Education/Chemistry at Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Owerri, where he quickly got integrated and made special friends like Mr. Moses Njoku. His Head of Department then, Dr Mrs. Onyiuke (Now at Abia State University) had special influence on his life. His stay there was however short-lived as he immediately gained admission to read pharmacy here in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, same year. He equally passed the interview for civil service job in Imo State, but had to, understandably,opt for further studies. 13 Late into his secondary school days, little Emma embraced Christ through the instrumentality of his friend, Nnamdi Nwachukwu (now Dr Nwachukwu). His Christian faith got strengthened during his brief stay at Alvan and blossomed when he entered UNN. The Student Christian Movement greatly shaped his Christian destiny at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Many thanks to his Christian friends –Late Pharm Ozioma Okoli, Mr. Chijioke Ezeofor, Bro (Now Prof) Augustine Ubachukwu, Mr. (Now Ven Engr)Emmanuel Olewuezi, Mr. Ngozi Emenogu, Mr. Amos Balami, Mr. Innocent Iorkyar and Mr. (Now Engr) Ozoemena Osiedo. He graduated from the pharmacy school in 1985 and quickly left for General Hospital Owerri, where he undertook his one year mandatory Internship under the tutelage of Pharm Dr Atasie and Pharm Ann Chilaka. Thereafter, he proceeded to Jos for his one year National Youth Service Scheme where he worked with the Christian Health Association of Nigeria, Pharmacy (CHANPHARM) under Pharm. Dr Brown. The Christian Corpers’ Fellowship which he served as National Drama Coordinator provided a great platform for Christian growth and evangelism. Christian friends like Nosa, Tope, Andrew, Hillary, Anderson, Foluke, Late Dr Erastus, Yinka, Funmi and Titi, were there to make the service year very memorable.He later got a job at Bauchi after his NYSC and had just arrived at Bauchi to take it up when the Holy Spirit expressly told him not to. He had to leave the job and continued the search until he eventually pitched his career tent with JOMAF Pharmacy, Kaduna.