His journey to the helm of the university, right from school days, is one of resilience and commitment.
Dr. Emeka Akaezuwa of IUEA. (Credit: Abou Kisige)
After working as International University of East Africa's (IUEA) dean of Faculty of Science and Technology for five years, Dr. Emeka Akaezuwa has been promoted to the vice-chancellor's office.
The decision was made last week by the University’s top organ, the University Council. He has been appointed to take over one of the private universities in the country, which started in 2011.
Akaezuwa, aged 64, is a don well versed with science and technology, and this explains why he could have won the job, owing to the fact that IUEA was to be heavily grounded in innovation and entrepreneurship.
The Nigerian left his country at the time it was politically instable to further his studies in the US. Decades later, he returned home; though out of his country. He returned to Africa.
His journey to the helm of IUEA, right from school days, is one of resilience and commitment.
Akaezuwa started off as a young man, with his education goals threatened by the then-raging war in his country. During the war in the west African nation between 1967 and 1970, his studies were disrupted. It was tricky for him after his primary school to start his secondary education.
But he did not give up and remained focused.
He got a job at one of the universities in Nigeria, much as he was still studying. He later managed to get a scholarship to the US for further studies.
Dr. Akaezuwa has been part of teams that have built technology that has revolutionised the world
When Akaezuwa's studies were interrupted, he obtained a job at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria.
He was working at the film and television school as a performer and at the same time a manager. He worked with prominent world renowned authors, including Wole Soyinka, Okot p'Bitek and David Rubadiri.
It is this journey that started his drive from the humanities world to that of sciences; especially in the computer world, which leaves you perplexed. He skipped all the hurdles in his education journey and has worked with the best technology organisations all over the world.
While working at Obafemi Awolowo University, he got a trip to perform in the US in 1980. Some senior dons in Nigeria had already connected him to universities in the US. He sat for interviews, was assessed on his knowledge acquisition and was admitted for a Master’s programme in Art at the Rutgers University in New Jersey.
After his studies, Akaezuwa wanted to return home, but realised that there was a high rate of unemployment. He decided to stay in the US.
He was at the time the president of African Students Organisation in the US. Two years later, he got a job at the African World Press as manager.
He developed the love for computers and learnt how to set up computer networks, after which he later enrolled for a PhD programme in information systems and structures at Rutgers University.
He has been part of teams that have built technology that has revolutionised the world. Prominent of such technologies is the development of critical systems of the US Navy and among them the torpedo. In the year 2000, he was got a Congressional Award for the Naval Research Laboratory of the United States Navy for his work on the torpedo.
Akaezuwa is now lecturing at IUEA and is also a visiting scholar at the Paul Robeson Centre at Rutgers University.
He is also a recipient of the 2013 New Jersey Governor Jefferson American Wall of Fame in 2010.
Dr. Akaezuwa has a patent, pending application on universal search engine.
He is currently working on three major technical innovations, a new source of energy that is based Digital Matrix; the SET innovation method which is network for rapidly growing technical capabilities and on Knowledge Sets– a new approach to knowledge retrieval based om Micro Time.
His recent invention, Search OS, won numerous awards for innovation.
In 2009, the software was included in the computer encyclopaedia as a major contribution to the knowledge and to software engineering. That same year, he was named a 'Search Wizard', an honour given to technologists who have made significant contribution to the Search technology.
In 2008, his Search OS software was considered one of the best in the world by the Software and Information Industry and Association. The Association is a Washington-based global association that represents software and information institutions worldwide.
Akaezuwa was also awarded for designing the world’s largest business information retrieval system for Dow Jones and Company.
He is also the founder of Gaviri Technologies, Inc. Prior to founding in Gaviri Technologies; he worked as director of digital libraries at Elsevier, where he was involved in developing the world’s largest science, technology and medical online information retrieval system.
He has also developed numerous large scale information retrieval systems for governments, universities and for corporations worldwide. He built critical systems for Canada’s national information retrieval system for science and technology.
He also has a stint at the Tsinghua Consortium’s scientific information system. Tsinghua Consortium is composed of 100 of the best universities in China. He also worked with the governments of Brazil, Britain, and Italy.
Akaezuwa says that part of his plans is to make IUEA a leading university in science and innovation on the African continent.
“We plan to the make the university a top innovation and entrepreneurship centre of Africa. We need to be the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“We will be judged by the quality of graduates we will be churning out, and the quality of innovations we will putting on the market."
He also explains that universities need to take the direction of teaching of sciences and innovating. “We want to be the technological university of choice. We must be leaders in education and entrepreneurship in years to come."
What others say
One of the proprietors of the university, Hassan Alwi, says Akaezuwa is "a great administrator and academician”.
"Unlike so many other dons, he can lecture, but also knows how to manage people. He is a people’s person and also knows how to get results from people," he says.
Adding: "Dr. Emeka is always on point and is dependable. He analyses issues differently. He gets better results at a better time."
The chairman of the IUEA Council, Ambassador Moses Ssebunya, says that Akaezuwa is an honest man and we can trust him with the university’s management.
“He has always been called to join other universities, but he stood his ground and stayed. He is dependable," says Ssebunya.
He also noted that since Akaezuwa has spent a good number of years working at this university, “He knows it well to ably take it to the next level. He has also helped the university improve in the teaching of sciences.”
Micheal Musinguzi, a former student of the university, says: “Dr. Emeka is a great choice for this university. He is a man of action and always demands results.”