TRIBUTE: Professor Celestine O.E. Onwuliri, Chairman Board of Trustees, ECUDOMEF and Chairman of National Universities Commission’s Standing Committee on Private Universities (SCoPU), former Vice Chancellor- FUTO.
ADIEU Chairman! ADIEU Great One!
Professor Celestine O.E. Onwuliri, Chairman Board of Trustees, ECUDOMEF and Chairman of National Universities Commission’s Standing Committee on Private Universities (SCoPU), former Vice Chancellor- FUTO.
Like the indefatigable warrior that you are for quality education, you were on this fateful date of June 3, 2012 , leading your talented platoon, on a mission to liberate Nigeria’s youths from the ghoulish fangs of inadequate and inaccessible university education in Nigeria. Your objective as Chairman of Standing Committe on Private Universities was to review and facilitate accreditation of private universities in Nigeria. Regrettably the ill-fated Dana airline plane you boarded crashed at Iju, Lagos State in Nigeria, leading to your death and that of other 152 persons on board. Although you died in action for the cause of your life, we can’t help but feel terribly saddened and selfish by your departure. At this instant what stirs within us is a silence, a quiet sadness, a longing for one more day, one more word, one more touch, we may not understand why you left this earth so soon, or why you left before we were ready to say good-bye, but little by little, we begin to remember not just that you died, but that you lived. And that your life gave us memories too beautiful to forget. In life there are two kinds of people, namely those who are present and those who have presence. You have presence and will always be present with us. Adieu Chairman, Adieu Great One!
Prof. Edward Oparaoji
For ECUDOMEF Management
PS: For Expression of Support: Our families have been inundated with requests from friends, relations and well-wishers on how to express their support. In this regard we would request that in lieu of flowers, you may make a donation to ECUDOMEF, the charity that Prof. Onwuliri served for over 20 years, as Chairman of Board of Trustees. This would enable us continue to serve those he cared for the most- the underprivileged. Thank you, ECUDOMEF Management.
Nature bestows greatness on many people in life. One of such great men of our time best
described as a man of distinction and integrity, a first class scholar, researcher and administrator and a devoted, caring and consummate family man is Professor Celestine Onyemobi Elihe Onwuliri. Professor Onwuiliri is the first son of Mr Adolphus Elihe and Mrs Rosanna Ihemegbulem Onwuliri of blessed memory. A native of Umuokazi, Amuzi, Ahiara Mbaise, Professor Celestine Onwuliri was groomed from the Community Grammar school Amuzi where he was deputy senior prefect (1967) and later senior prefect(1970/71).
He attended the prestigious University of Nigeria Nsukka and obtained a Bachelors degree-
BSc. (2nd class honors upper division) in Zoology in 1975 and a PhD in Parasitology (1980) after a year’s training at the University of Leeds United kingdom. His academic brilliance earned him the University of Nigeria Foundation AID scholarship (1972-75) and the Vice Chancellors prize as the best overall graduating post graduate student (1980). He thus became the first person to receive this honor from the University of Nigeria.
Professor Celestine Onwuliri has over 32yrs of teaching, research, administrative and community service experience in over 6 universities in Nigeria and many others abroad. He was twice Head, Dept of Zoology, 3 times Dean, Faculty of natural sciences, Sub-Dean, School of Post Graduate studies, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Acting Vice Chancellor, all at the University of Jos (1988-2006), Director Academic Planning, Imo State
University Owerri (1992-1994), and Immediate past Vice-Chancellor 2006-2011. He served as alternate chairman of the committee of VCs (CVC) of Nigerian Universities (June 2010- Feb 2011) and briefly as Chairman of CVC (Feb 2011-June 2011). He is currently a visiting
professor at the National Universities Commission, Abuja where he is Chairman Standing
Committee on Private Universities (SCOPU).
An accomplished leader in helminthic parasitological research, Prof Celestine Onwuliri has made outstanding contributions on the ecology and epidemiology of parasitic helminthes responsible for many debilitating communicable diseases of significant public health and socio economic importance such as Dracunculiasis (Guinea worm disease), Onchocerciasis (River blindness), Filariasis, schistomiasis and other intestinal helminthosis. Through this endeavor he has so far successfully supervised 25 doctor of philosophy (PhD) candidates and more than 160 other candidates at MSc. and Bsc. levels for the advancement of science and technology education in Nigeria and overseas many of whom today are distinguished professors, administrators, politicians, businessmen and women etc. He has also published over 200 well researched articles in peer reviewed journals and delivered several invited papers nationally and internationally.
Prof Onwuliri has served the larger society in various capacities such as National President Nigerian Society of Parasitology (now Parasitology and Public Health Society of Nigeria) 1993-1997, Honorable commissioner for Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Imo state
1997-99; Hon commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources 1998, Member Board
of Governors University of Jos, Demonstration Secondary school (1983-97), Member
University Press (1993-2001, Chairman Board of Directors University of Jos Bookstore, Chairman board of director NYSC Imo state 1997-99, Chairman Imo Broadcasting Cooperation 1997-1999, Chairman Imo Sports Council 1997-99. He hosted the 11th National Sports Festival tagged “Imo 98” (1998-99), Member of Council University of Jos 1996-2006, was first Vice President, Supreme Subordinate Commandery Nigeria, KSJ international 2003-09, Member Committee of Assessors, Nigeria National Merit Award 2002-08, Member Federal Government official delegation 2005 Christian pilgrimage to the holy land (appointed by President Olusegun Obasanjo, member of council Federal University of Technology Owerri (2006-2011).
A devout Roman Catholic, Prof Celestine Onwuliri has contributed significantly to the growth of the church in Nigeria and abroad. He has been conferred with many awards in the church including the pontifical honors by his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Ezinna Chimereze by the St. Judes catholic parish Amuzi, the St. Josephs’ the Worker distinguished merit award by Imo State University, Ambassador of Mary by the Ahiara Dioscesan CWO, Ambassador General of St. Jude, Provincial patron, Owerri Arch diocese Laity Council, Youth Ambassador, Catholic Ambassador Award, Patron CWO Umuahia diocese, and Grand Patron Federal University of Technology Owerri chaplaincy where he midwifed the building, the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Chaplaincy etc. He was the first Vice-President Supreme Subordinate Commandery, KSJ International Nigeria and currently Major General and Supreme Subordinate President (National President), of the same organization.
He is a proud recipient of several fellowships, honors and awards including; Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Sciences (FAS), Fellow Nigerian Society for Parasitology (FNSP- now Parasitology and Public Health Society of Nigeria), Fellow Biotechnology Society of Nigeria (FBSN), Fellow Civilian Institute of Democratic Administration (FCIDA), Fellow, Nigerian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (FNSBMB), Fellow the Association of Aquatic Sciences (FAAS), Honorary Fellow Nigerian Institute of Biomedical Engineering (HonFNIBE), Fellow, Society for Environmental Health (FSEH), Fellow African Scientific Institute (ASIF), Fellow Solar Energy Society of Nigeria (FSESN). Distinguished Academic Leadership Award (DALA) by COFICON etc. He has also served as consultant to several national and international agencies including World Health Organization, Japanese, International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Carter Center/Global 2000, African Program for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC), Federal Ministry of Health.
Prof. Celestine Onwuliri has been honored with several chieftaincy titles including Okanmuta Nwachinemere of Amuzi Autonomous community, Ezi -nwanwa 1 of Amaimo,the Ugo Mmuta of Okpuhu Nkpa autonomous community in Abia State, the Ezi- nwanwa 1 of Ikeduru clan, Ugo Nmuta of Mbaise, Nwa chimere eze of Amuzi.
A consummate and noble family man, Prof Celestine Onwuliri is happily married to Ezinne Noble lady Professor Viola Onwuliri who is currently serving the nation as honorable Minister of State 1 for Foreign Affairs. Together they have built a model family of 5 children, 2 grand children and many adopted children. He enjoys reading, writing, analytical discussion, table tennis, soccer and boxing.
F PROF VIOLA ONWULIRI A CURRENT MINISTER BEING CONSOLED BY THE THE FIRST LADY PATIENCE GOODLUCK JONATHAN