By Eze Chukwuemeka Eze
Friday, 15th of May, 2020 marked a great and epochal day in the history of Rivers State, the oil hub and rich State of Nigeria as she celebrated the 55th 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 and outstanding 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 twin that have distinguished themselves as Professor of Pharmacology and Justice of the Court of Appeal..
While Professor Owunari graduated from University of Port Harcourt, his twin brother, Justice Biobele studied at University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Tricia Marrapodi must have also had the Georgewills in mind, when he 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 specialisation. While Chief Hon. Sir Justice Biobele is the Justice of the Court of Appeal, Federal Judiciary, Abuja, Professor Owunari is a Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology. These remarkable twins are global brand and have preformed 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 a 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. Described as an outstanding scholar whose main vision and mission is to turn the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Rivers State, to one of the most viable and leading institutions in Africa.
In this regard, Dr Clement Edet, a renowned scholar introduced Georgewill in a text message he sent to me, as follows: “Prof Georgewill simply makes things work with his direct, innovative and teamwork approach. He is self-driven, impactful, thinks on his feet and has a knack for results. His hallmarks are communication skill, dedication, scholarship, and excellence.”
Throwing more light on the person and personality of Georgewill, Comrade Kenson Ibialabo-Briggs, the author of ‘A Journey into the Creeks’ described Georgewill thus: “He is a man humble and kindhearted. An encounter with him will let you know his nature and true character. Very intelligent, yet doesn’t pride in his achievements. Befriends all, his relationship cuts across status, levels and lines. He relates freely with the poor as much as he does with the rich. To him, life is just a passing phase and every opportunity given to you should be used to make living better for others and the society. With Prof. at the helm of affairs in UNIPORT, there will be massive turn-around in the varsity’s educational system. He is a man with great vision and passion for the educational advancement of the society.”
To explain this ingenious and innovative personality better, my friend whom I graduated with from the University of Calabar, in the late ’80s – a radical philosopher of repute and no-nonsense scholar who threads where the lions are afraid to operate – Prof Andrew Efemini described Georgewill Owunari in the following terms: “He is a respecter of elders, colleagues, staff and students. He is conscious of the fact that the rights of staff and students must not be abused. We can, therefore, expect a conscious effort by him to negotiate and reach consensus with stakeholders on the way forward. Prof Georgewill has engaged in self-development within and outside Nigeria, necessary for running a first-class university like UNIPORT. I am convinced that UNIPORT under his watch will surely benefit from his well-articulated vision of a great university. Perhaps, the greatest quality he will bring to the table is his respect for constituted authorities in the country. We can expect special funding and projects to flow into UNIPORT from his goodwill and understanding and support to the administration of President Buhari of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. With Professor Georgewill Owunari as vice-chancellor, we should expect full expression of students without brutalisation and victimisation. I expect him to have good working relationship with the unions on campus.”
Prof Georgewill’s Academic Feats
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
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.
He’s also a friend to New York Academy of Medicine and a Justice of Peace.
In 2015, he served as a commissioner, Rivers State Commission of Enquiry. Currently, he is a member of 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: Distinguish 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 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 for 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 REACTION OF PROF OWUNARI A.GEORGEWILL AND HIS TWIN BROTHER, SIR CHIEF HON. JUSTICD BIOBELE A. GEORGEWILL
“No One Like God”.
We are 55years today and we can’t stop thanking God for His amazing grace mercies and favours on our lives. God gave us good families and He gave us good friends and associates.
In His time He makes everything beautiful
Giving Is Our Passion
We grew up in our village Abonnema after we relocated from Lagos due to the death of our father who was the bread winner 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 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 to us. God granted us favour too. The circumstances of our upbringing made us to realise 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 organisations etcetera. We give in obedience to God’s word that instruct 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 organisations 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 recieve. We give when we have little. We give when we have much. Testimonies abound in people and organisations 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
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 brothee, 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.
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 is a Port Harcourt based Media Consultant & can be reached on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Celebrating renowned and celebrated twins – Prof & Justice Georgewill @ 55
By Eze Chukwuemeka Eze