By Eze Chukwuemeka Eze
15th May, 2022 marks a great and epochal day in the history of Rivers State, the oil hub and rich State of Nigeria as she celebrates the 57th birthday of one of the best gifts God in his mercy and love bestowed on the State through the birth of one of the most renowned outstanding and celebrated twins ever on earth – Professor Owunari and Hon. Justice Biobele.
In the field of public service Professor Ownari Georgewill and Justice Biobele Georgewill are the most renowned twins that have distinguished themselves as Professor of Pharmacology (Pharmacy) and in Civil Law discipline.
While Professor Owunari graduated from University of Port Harcourt, his twin brother, Justice Biobele studied at University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Tricia Marrapodi in his quote with the Georgewills in mind stated, “Being a twin is like being born with a best friend”. These two great gifts to Nigeria have maintained their relationship as both brothers and best friends but most importantly excelling in their various areas of specialization. While Chief Hon. Sir Justice Biobele is the Justice of the Court of Appeal, Federal Judiciary, Abuja, Professor Owunari is the Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology and the current Vice Chancellor of University of Port Harcourt one of the best Federal Universities in Nigeria. These remarkable twins are global brands and have performed meritoriously in all tasks they have engaged into.
Prof Owunari A. Georgewill, KSC, FRSB
I must state that I am one of the few privileged Nigerians that can boast of having wonderful relationship with these two outstanding Nigerians but the fact remains that out of these two I am a bit closer to the erudite Professor so this birthday treatise will be more on him than his twin brother who has distinguished himself in the Legal Profession.
Prof Owunari Abraham Georgewill, KSC, FRSB, London, Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, an erudite scholar, a respected administrator, author of repute with several publications to his credit. He has introduced several revolutionary inputs in repositioning University of Port Harcourt as one of the best in Nigeria today. Under his administration University of Port Harcourt has won various local and international Laurels and awards becoming the champion of last Nigeria Universities Games Association, NUGA held in the University of Lagos.
Let’s highlight the 26th Nigerian University Games (NUGA) hosted by the University of Lagos which ended on Saturday, March 26, 2022.
The weeklong universities’ sports fiesta saw the University of Port Harcourt leading the medals table for the fourth time in a row having garnered 120 medals, the host, University of Lagos emerged as first runner-up with 86 medals while Nile University, Abuja emerged second runner-up with 38 medals.
Still under this inspiring leadership, the University today can boast of an exquisite Guest House at Abuja situated at 6 Harare street, Wuse 1, Abuja.
Some of the Feats by Prof Georgewill that Placed Him Ahead of His Peers
His administration was able to attract quantifiable projects to the University which hopefully include construction of hostels and a lecture auditorium. Some of the projects include
a. Perimeter fencing at the Senate Building
b. Ongoing construction of the Social Science Annex building
c. Damages at various blocks and buildings within the three campuses which were caused by the heavy rainfall on Monday 18th April, 2022.
University of Port Harcourt was amongst eight universities chosen by the Head of Chancery, Nigerian Embassy, and Canada for a meeting with a delegation from University of Ottawa for possible collaborations.
For the purposes of ease of identification, the University carried out labeling of offices of Principal Officers of the University.
Under the administration of Prof Georgewill Dr. Obari Gomba of the Department of English Studies won the Pan-African Writers Association (PAWA) Poetry Prize and emerged as Africa’s Best English Poet.
The University participated in an International Conference on Continental Educational Strategy for Africa CESA-16-25 to deliberate on National Research and Educational Networks in Africa. The programme which was held in Nairobi Kenya, was organized by the Association of African Universities.
Another great feat was the gold medals won by the University Debate Club at the just concluded National Debate which was held at Kwara State.
An on-the-spot assessment of the ongoing Phase II of the Faculty of Social Science building, Unipark was carried out.
Embarked on giving a facelift to the Senate Building and Ebitimi Banigo Auditorium.
Accreditation for the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSN) by the Accreditation Team from National Universities Commission was successfully executed
The following projects was inspected
a) Prototype building at Ghana-Ama
b) Demolition of abandoned hostels (Aminu Kano Extension and Kwame Nkrumah Medical Hostels) at Choba Campus.
c) Renovation and Furnishing of the Pro Chancellor’s lodge.
d) Renovation and Furnishing of the Council Chambers.
e) The provision of borehole at the School of Science Laboratory Technology.
f) The supply of 250 units of chairs at the ICTC.
g) Renovation of Senate Chambers
Prof Owunari A Georgewill, who hails from Abonnema, Rivers State, graduated with an upper division second-class honours, from the University of Port Harcourt Medical School in 1990, and proceeded to do his housemanship at the UPTH after which he did his NYSC in Edo State. He began residency training in 1993 and was employed as Lecturer 2 in Pharmacology in 1994. He also obtained a master’s degree in pharmacology and became a professor of pharmacology on May 4, 2010. He also holds a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, Master of Science in Pharmacology and a Doctorate of Medicine in Pharmacology and Toxicology among other qualifications. He is a professor of pharmacology, a researcher and administrator.
Services to UNIPORT:
Currently he is the Vice Chancellor of University of Port Harcourt but
In 2010, he was appointed Dean, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, NDU.
In 2012, he was elected deputy provost of UNIPORT Medical School.
In 2013, he was voted into the Governing Council of UNIPORT as Congregation Representative.
He has published a book, Reasoning in Drug Biology, over 50 original articles in many journals, over 15 abstracts and several research works which took him to many places, including Harvard.
And by virtue of Prof Georgewill’s membership for four years (2013-2017) of the Governing Council of Uniport, playing significant role in the affairs of the university and in addition to having served as member of council, Dean, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences of Niger Delta University (2010-2011), deputy Provost of the College of Health Sciences of Uniport (2012-2015) as well as Associate Dean, Students Affairs (2000-2006) and acting Head of Department of Pharmacology (2006-2008). In all these positions stated above, his exceptional performance and the results were well documented.
Earlier, he has been trusted to serve in the Finance and General Purpose Committee of council, Campus Security Committee of council, Appeals Committee of council, Board of Cordec/University Bottling Company, chairman/member, Senate ad-hoc committees; chairman, board of UDPS; chairman, Post-graduate verification committee; member, Board of the Graduate School.
Others were: Chairman, Departmental Graduate Board; chairman/member of faculty boards; member of the University Senate since 2010; member, Board of the College of Health Sciences, UNIPORT and NDU; chairman/member, Nigeria University Commission accreditation terms to universities; resource person to Nigerian Senate on Education summit; consultant to Senate Committee on Education; member of panel on Commonwealth scholarship plan of Federal Ministry of education, etc.
Membership of International Bodies
He is a fellow at Royal Society of Biology, London; Member of International Association of Medical Educators, USA; Member, Society of Pediatric Oncologists, Italy; American Society of Neurochemistry; West African Society of Pharmacology; Nigerian Medical Association; Specialist Medical Doctors in Academia; Indian Society of Pharmacology; World Academy of Science; Research-in-Medicine Society; National Cancer Investigation in UK; World Health Workers without Borders; West African Society of Toxicology and fellow, Institute of Industrial Administrators..
In 2015, he served as a commissioner, Rivers State Commission of Enquiry. Currently, he is a member of the editorial board of Asian Pacific Journal.
1. Justice of Peace, 2002, by Dr Peter Odili, then governor of Rivers State.
2. Knighthood of St Christopher, Niger Delta Diocese of the Anglican Communion, 2008.
3. Kalabari Chieftaincy in the Abonnema Council of Chiefs, 2009.
4. Rotaract Club of Port Harcourt Township: Award of excellent service, 2015.
5. Rotaract Club of COE, St John’s: Award of excellence in professional service, 2006.
6. St Clement’s Anglican Youth Fellowship, Degema: Patrons Shield for service to God and humanity, 2005.
7. Niger Delta Diocese, Anglican Communion: Service Award in recognition of service and show of love to the Diocese and the Bishop, an epistle written in the hearts of men 2010.
8. St Augustine’s Anglican Church, Abonnema: Distinguished Service Award for service to God and humanity 2013.
9. Association of Biochemistry/Chemistry Tech: Award of Patron for vast experience and benevolence service as a sign of confidence as a good leader 2019.
10. National Association of Biomedical Students: Award of Excellence for generosity, philanthropy, fatherly service and benevolence to students at large 2019.
11. Port Harcourt University Medical Students: Honours Roll 2019
12. Grand Nigerian Youth in Ghana: Honour as Patron 2019.
13. Nyemoni Grammar School Abonnema Old Boys 81 class: Commendation for professional achievements and doyen of prestigious class, 2019.
14. Kalabari Kengema Ikia Ogbo of Abonnema: Award of Excellence as a worthy medical icon of good service for contributions to the development of Abonnema community over the years 2012.
15. Port Harcourt Rotary Club: Conferment of Honorary membership for service to God and humanity, 2014.
16. International Institute of Professional Security: Best security supporting personality, South-south, 2014
17. The York City Choir Abonnema: Living Legend of Music Award for assistance and encouragement to choristers and the church of Christ, 2011.
18. Man ‘O’ War, University of Port Harcourt Command: Award of Excellence for remarkable contribution to humanity and the command, 2005.
19. Port Harcourt university medical association and Port Harcourt university medical graduates association: Distinguished alumnus award for inspiring and contributing to the sustenance of PUMSA and its alumni association, PUMGRADA, 2017.
20. Nigeria Red Cross: Special award as life member in recognition for contributions to the society and humanity, 2013.
21. National Union of Izon Ibe, Ijaw worldwide: Award of Excellence for contributions to the enhancement of education in Ijaw Nation, 2018.
22. National Union of Rivers State Students: Award of most student-friendly-lecturer, for unending quest to improve the lives of Nigerian youth through various educational support and empowerment 2019.
23. Youth Leadership Network of Nigeria: Certificate of recognition for Meritorious service, sterling leadership qualities and positive contributions to development, 2018.
24. St Mark’s Anglican Church, Alakahia: Macedonian Award, 2019.
25. League of African Development: Merit award of excellence for 2019 distinguished African Patriots service as African Patriotic Personality of the Year 2019, in recognition of outstanding patriotism, immense contribution to African quest for development, service to God, humanity and Africa 2019.
26. Snooker Section Senior Staff Club, University of Port Harcourt: Snooker merit award, 2018.
27. Association of Nigeria Authors: Conferment of honorary membership of the association, 2018
28. Partum Awards recognising creative individuals and organisations creme de la creme awards: Award of excellence for sterling performance and contributions towards the development of UNIPORT, 2019.
29. Ghana-Nigeria Awards 2019: Impactful personality in health award for great achievements, effective leadership, passion for humanity and consistent efforts in being a positive role model to young people across the world 2019.
The Twin Reacts:
“We grew up in our village Abonnema after we relocated from Lagos due to the death of our father who was the breadwinner of the family when we were less than one year old. Life was difficult as growing up kids with no support save for the determined belief of mum and grandma that their little twin sons must be educated no matter what it takes even if it means selling their priced possessions.
We were introduced early to the knowledge of God and christianity by our mum and grandma. We went through various stages of education solely depending upon God as we worked hard to make good grades despite the huge challenges that faced us. People gave it to us. God granted us favour too. The circumstances of our upbringing made us realize early in life that many people like us out there need others to give to make them achieve their dreams. This is the origin of the spirit of giving in our lives that grew from little giving to substantial giving to people, churches , organizations etcetera.
We give in obedience to God’s word that instructs us to give and be given back in good measures shaken together and running over. We give out of compassion for the needy. We give out of our desire to make people happy. We give out of our desire to make people smile. We give out of our desire to make people achieve their dreams.
We give out of our desire to see organizations such as churches, schools, hospitals and communities meet their needs to provide services and transform people. We give because we are not interested in primitive accumulation of wealth. We give and God gives more than we give. We give and God blesses us tremendously. The prayers of the receivers availeth much.
We give because it is more blessed to give than to receive. We give when we have little. We give when we have much. Testimonies abound in people and organizations such as schools, hospitals and communities who had and are receiving from us. The joys we get out of giving cannot be quantified.” Sir Chief Hon Justice Biobele Abraham Georgewill JCA and Sir Chief Professor Owunari Abraham Georgewill
We thank GOD for sparing our lives on our 57th Birthday today May 15th 2022. We thank the entire University community for your prayers and felicitation. We thank you for all your support to this administration, enabling us to move one day at a time towards a greater University of Port Harcourt. However because of the present circumstances we have found ourselves in our entire university system occasioned by strikes by all the unions, there shall be no celebrations on this birthday. We plead for your continuous prayers and support as we forge ahead in the business of growing our University. God bless and keep us all always in Jesus Mighty Name Amen 🙏– Prof. Owunari Georgewil.
Let me formally conclude this treatise by stating that my good friend Chief Sir Professor Owunari Georgewill has served at the highest decision making organ of the University of Port Harcourt governing council, while his twin brother, Chief Sir Hon Justice Biobele served as a panelist in Commission of Inquiry, Freetown. They have occupied distinctive positions in the University of Port Harcourt and in the Judiciary (local and international) respectively.
I must state that Nigeria, Rivers State and kalabari kingdom in particular is blessed to have such men of impeccable qualities as sons.
As I join friends, brothers and associates to celebrate this World’s most celebrated Twins, I pray God to grant them more fruitful years for better services to humanity.
Eze Chukwuemeka Eze is a Port Harcourt based Media Consultant & can be reached on: firstname.lastname@example.org or 08022049770.