Recently President Goodluck Jonathan reappointed the Provost for a second term in recognition of her efforts to reposition the College as the best in Africa. Here are excerpts of the Provost’s background.
Dr. (Mrs.) Blessing Chima Ijioma, who is presently, the first female Provost of Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, was born in Umuezeala, Old Umuahia into the family of Late Ezinna Lazarus Iheukwumere Ufegbu and Late Susanna Ufegbu. She is married to Sir C. I. Ijioma, from Ozuitem in Bende L.G.A of Abia State, a former Rector of Abia State Polytechnic, Aba and their marriage is blessed with five children.
Dr. (Mrs.) Blessing Chima Ijioma had her educational background in the following institutions: Queen’s College, Lagos; Queen’s School, Enugu; the University of Nigeria, Nsukka where she obtained a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Microbiology; Federal University of Technology, Owerri where she obtained her Doctoral degree in Food Science and Technology; Imo State University, Owerri where she gained a Post Graduate Diploma in Education; Haggai Institute, Singapore where she was awarded a Certificate in Leadership.
She was born a Roman Catholic but became a Methodist by marriage. She has held many positions in the Methodist Church. She is a Lady of the Knight of John Wesley and an Elder. She was the Secretary, Women Fellowship of Methodist Church Nigeria, Owerri Diocese for 8years; Bible Secretary of the Women Fellowship, Methodist Church Nigeria; Member of Synod, Owerri Diocese of Methodist Church Nigeria and a Lay Preacher of the Methodist Church Nigeria. A great community leader and inspiration to women, Dr. (Mrs.) B. C. Ijioma was the Secretary, Ozuitem Women Development Union Federated for many years and now the Secretary of the Obuofia Women Association.
In 2010, Dr. (Mrs.) B. C. Ijioma was appointed the first female Provost of Alvan Ikoku federal College of Education, Owerri. Since then, she has been working doggedly to return Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri to its former glory. Based on her superlative performance in office, Dr. (Mrs.) Blessing Chima Ijioma has endeared herself to her staff. One of her greatest achievements as Provost is in the area of human development and empowerment. Her administration has as a matter of great importance funded numerous workshops, trainings, seminars and conferences for staff, and she is bubbling with the zeal to impact positively on the lives of people. She was the first Provost in Nigeria to send a dozen student leaders on a tour of higher institutions in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.
Truth to tell, her performance has earned her several awards from various organizations and bodies. Some of which are: 2013 Provost of the Year by the All-Africa Students Union, Kumasi; Rotary Club of Owerri (District 9140), Distinguished Award for outstanding qualities in College administration and Human capacity building, July 2011; Award of Excellence for outstanding leadership qualities and immense contribution to students by the Student Union Government, A.I.F.C.E, Owerri; Merit Award by the Methodist Church Nigeria; Merit Award as the best Dean by the National Association of Science students, A.I.F.C.E chapter in 2007;Merit Award by the Alvan Alumni Association; Merit Award by the Association of Heads of Security of Tertiary Institutions; Award of Excellence by the Nzezurume Council of Traditional Rulers and title holders; distinguished award as a worthy ambassador of Ozuitem by the Ozuitem Women Development Union Federated. Dr. (Mrs.) Ijioma also had the honour of being awarded a Federal University Scholarship as an undergraduate student at UNN, Nsukka.
A consummate academic, Dr. (Mrs.) B.C. Ijioma has written over forty peer reviewed papers in national and international journals. She has also attended numerous conferences in and outside Nigeria presenting papers at such academic events. Before her appointment as Provost, she also served as Head of Department of Biology, Dean, School of National Sciences and Deputy Provost.
Dr. (Mrs.) Blessing Chima Ijioma is affiliated to many reputed professional associations. They are: Life Member, Science Teachers Association of Nigeria; Member, Women in Colleges of Education; Member, Nigerian Academy of Education; Fellow Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology; Fellow Nigerian Environmental Society; Member, Nutritional Society of Nigeria and is registered with the Teacher’s Registration Council of Nigeria.
For a woman who has been a trailblazer in the world of academics, Dr. (Mrs.) Blessing Ijioma has remained humble, relating to both the staff and students in a professional and humane manner. She has maintained an open door policy in her administration, working assiduously to enable Alvan reclaim her pride of place as the best teacher education institution in Nigeria. Today, she is seen and regarded as the Blessing of the College.
The NUJ, Imo Council has commended the Management of the College and expressed great delight at the rate of development going on in the College. Chris Akaronye, the Vice Chairman of the Imo Council made the commendation when the NUJ toured the College as part of activities marking its 2014 Press week
Scores of journalists attended the event which included a courtesy call on the Provost, Dr. (Mrs.) Blessing Ijioma, tour of College facilities and buildings and a briefing detailing to the gentlemen of the Press the thrust and activities of the administration.
The Provost who was represented by the Deputy Provost, Dr. Godwin Okere, during her briefing detailed to the pressmen that, “The College currently boasts of about 170 PhD holders and about 380 Masters degree holders as members of the academic staff. About 205 academic staff are at various stages of completing their PhD programmes in universities in Nigeria and abroad, while 180 are in the Masters programmes. More than 150 academic and non-academic staff have benefitted from College and TETFund sponsorships to local and international conferences, seminar, workshops and skill acquisition programmes.”
She also revealed to them that the College is active in its social responsibilities with the Alvana Volunteer Services, a corps of staff who volunteer their time and skills to improve teaching and learning in Imo State. According to him, “The body is made up of over 60 academic and non-academic staff who have undertaken the retraining of about 500 Primary and Secondary school teachers in Ohaji-Egbema and Aboh Mbaise Local government Areas of Imo State. Plans are under way to extend the retraining programme to other Local Government Areas. Workshops on Space Science have been organized by the College for Physics and Integrated Science teachers in Imo State. Quizzes in the sciences and arts have also been organized for secondary school students.”
The members of the NUJ had earlier toured facilities around the College including the 70% completed administration building, the 2–storey building in the primary school, the recently commissioned new education complex, the 80% completed Micro-teaching complex, new science block, ICT building billed to house 600 workstations when completed and the 1000 seater School of General Studies hall.