By Ikechukwu Odu
NSUKKA—-The University of America, Temecula, California, has elevated renowned academic and former Accountant-General of Enugu State, Dr. Paschal Okolie; Dr. Chukwuma Vitalis Onah; and Dr. Oladoyin Awoyale to the rank of professors.
The academics were officially conferred with the professorial status on Friday, October 14, 2022 at the Central Washington College of Nursing Sciences, an affiliate of the University of America in Enugu.
While Dr. Onah was promoted to the rank of Professor of Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination, Dr. Okolie, was elevated to the rank of Adjunct Professor of Public Finance and Accounting at the Institution. Equally, Dr. Awoyale was also promoted to the rank of Professor of Law at the University.
While presenting the newly promoted professors for investiture, the Director of Quality Assurance at the Institution, Prof. Christopher Orga, said the academic giants were considered worthy for the investiture having met several academic requirements and criteria which included teaching and learning, research and academic excellence, among others.
He said the University received “a long list of applications” but the trio were able to meet and scale through rigorous reviews of the University to qualify for professorship in the Institution.
He said, “They went through scrutiny and they were found worthy. We had a long list of applications, but only three of them made it to the finishing line.”
The visiting Professor of Business Administration stressed that the professorship was not an award, but meritoriously given to the recipients in recognition of their stellar performances and achievements in various aspects of academic and non-academic endeavours.
“They have demonstrated exceptional ability in variety of fields of academic excellence that is widely recognized both locally and globally,” Prof. Orga noted.
In a congratulatory message, the President and Vice-Chancellor of the Institution, Prof. Prince Gamaliel, said the University authority was impressed by the works and competences of the new professors, explaining that their records of academic excellence qualified them for the professorship.
Going further, the the President and Vice-Chancellor, who was represented by the University’s Proctor, Prof. Mike Sunday Ikupolati, urged the new professors to sustain the tempo and carry out more research to guide policy formulation and improve governance across the world.
He said, “They are supposed to be playing a major role in developing Nigeria. And in their various fields, we expect them to carry out lots of researches that will generate results that can help policy formulation in Nigeria and especially in Enugu State, so that they will be able to make meaningful contribution to national development.”
Also speaking, one of the new professors and a former Accountant-General of Enugu State, Prof. Okolie, expressed gratitude to God for attaining the academic feat just as he commended the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for providing him with the opportunity to gain public service experience which paved the way for his journey into the international stage.
“I feel fulfilled. I feel happy. I am overjoyed because that’s the (highest) you can attain in the academic world,” he began.
Continuing, Prof Okolie said, “I am also happy because I have also attained highest height in the civil service having retired as a Permanent Secretary and Accountant-General and today, I have made in-road into the academic world because I have been promoted to the rank of a professor.”
On his part, Prof. Onah, commended the University for finding him worthy for the professorship.
Prof. Onah assured that he would deploy his knowledge in the fight against financial fraud in Nigeria.
“I am going to be very assiduous in my duty as a Professor of Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination, to ensure that financial fraud in the society is highly minimized,” he said.
Asked if he would contribute in fighting corruption in Nigeria, a country believed to be neck-deep in corruption, Prof. Onah stated, “ We will be organizing symposium and seminars on fraud and fraud evaluations in the country to ensure that people know the implications of all these frauds especially electronic frauds.”
He contended that Nigeria’s economy has been unstable as a result of the activities of corrupt politicians who deplete our treasury through fraud.
Some of the high-profile individuals who attended the event included Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, represented by the State Commissioner for Rural Development, Dr. Kingsley Udeh, top academics from the University, vice-chancellors of various universities in Nigeria, among others.