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HomeOpinionProf. Friday E. Okonofua: A Shining Star In The Firmament Of UNIBEN...

Prof. Friday E. Okonofua: A Shining Star In The Firmament Of UNIBEN – By Ray I. Ozolua

I am extremely delighted to be among the several millions of people all over the world who are celebrating a truly quintessential academic.

How else might one describe a man who has to his credit 380 journal articles, 4 books, 26 book chapters, 22 monographs, a citation index of 6,322, i-10 index of 189, and H-index of 58?

What other adjectives best fit a man who has been a lead recipient of 52 international grants including high profile ones from the World Health Organization, the World Bank, the Ford Foundation, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, United Nations Population Fund, Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC) to mention but a few?

Would it be inappropriate to roundly and thunderously applaud a man who through collaborative research has etched UNIBEN in the annals of high profile institutions such as Harvard University (USA), the University of Louisville (USA), Ottawa University (Canada), Queen’s University (Belfast), the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (UK), Imperial College, London (UK), Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium), and the Chicago State University (USA)? This man is phenomenal!

His all-round achievements in academics and research parallel his physical attributes of height, handsomeness and debonaire – qualities that stand him out for respect and recognition.

The aura that he exudes is not only on account of his academic profundity and fecundity but on other scores as well.

I write of a man who is gregarious, affable, altruistic, and gentility personified, a chief in two great kingdoms, yet self-effacing. This man is intriguing!

Since 1996, when this star appeared in the academic sky of UNIBEN, he has brought transformations, innovations, and exponential growth to scholarship and grantsmanship.

He has given many the needed shot in the arm that helped them overcome their academic inertia of inactivity induced by despondency, despair, and disillusionment, to gaining relevance and recognition.

As he retires from the services of UNIBEN, I know he has mentored but he will keep mentoring; he has researched but he will research more; he has written articles and books, he will even write more; he has won huge grants, he will yet win more; he has solved health problems, he will solve more.

This man is fascinating! He is iconic!

I am tempted to write in the style of Dr Henry Jacob Bigelow, an eminent surgeon, on Dr William T.G. Morton, who first demonstrated general anaesthesia for surgery in the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA in 1846:

_“Friday E. Okonofua, Professor And Researcher At UNIBEN, Benin City. Before Whom, In All Time, UNIBEN Was Great In Research. By Whom Academic Indolence In UNIBEN Has Been Further Averted And Annulled. Since Whom, UNIBEN Has Become Greater In Research And Grantsmanship”._

May this star shine brighter in the very many years ahead to the greater glory of God with knowledge for service untold at the University of Benin.

Ray I. Ozolua
Professor and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic)
University of Benin.

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