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Hilary Owamah: From Life Storms To Stardom



Hilary Owamah: From Life Storms To Stardom
Dr. Owamah

By John P. Omeonu
Human colossal strides are often marked with pomp. While some roll out the drums in loud celebration amidst clinking glasses of wine, some still prefer to mark such momentous occasions in quiet and solemn appreciation to the Almighty God who is the giver of all successes, in anticipation of a better future ahead. At such epochal moments in one’s life, the success story always overshadows the exasperating hurdles, obstacles, and disappointments accompanying such feats. Though everyone succeeds at one thing or the other and at one time or the other, only a few excel in virtually all ways; they stand out in anything they venture into as shining light and shape their world.

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Furthermore, in spite of the pervading ineptitude and moral decadence threatening the survival of our contemporary society, one can still boast of great men, as few as they are, who stand tall in the midst of the decay in the society. Men who by dint of handwork, chose to write their names in gold while others did theirs in charcoal in the hearts of millions of people, can never be forgotten. When such exceptional individuals of unique poise are celebrated, it serves as the needed fillip for them to strive for greater heights and as an example worthy of emulation for the younger generation.

How else can one describe a super and multiple award-winning scholar, brewing administrator and distinguished public speaker of no mean repute, Associate Professor Hilary Ijeoma Owamah; Director, Academic Planning Unit, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria, as he clocks the age of 40 ? The celebrant right from childhood, has always desired to do only those things that make a difference in other people’s lives. This was what informed his studying engineering, venturing into academics and engaging extensively in humanitarian services. No wonder Dr Owamah does his teaching and research work with great delight. No one student has passed through him without being positively impacted upon. This rare quality has also made him one of the sought-after public speakers in Nigeria today. Dr Owamah is an extraordinary academic who has managed to overcome all manner of obstacles that pervaded his path. Though deprived very early in life of basic necessities that propel success, he against all odds, through diligence, got to the apex of his noble career at a very early age.

Permit me to inform us that Dr Owamah is awaiting his being announced as a full professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, any moment before the end of this year 2022.

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Dr Owamah appears to have the knack to succeed in virtually all endeavours he embarked upon in life. This inexplicable trait for success where others failed abysmally, led a few people to the erroneous belief and hasty conclusion that he might have been succeeding through the deployment of disingenuous and underhanded tactics. But nothing can be further from the truth. The fact remains that he attained his present height by dint of hard work and unwavering dedication to moral discipline.

In the lives of many men of history, birthdays are usually periods of sober reflections, stocktaking and deep introspection for greater self-rediscovery. Distinguished personalities take the advantage of such occasions to reflect on their contributions to the betterment of their societies. The 40th birthday anniversary of Dr Hilary Owamah is a combination of all of these. Engr. Dr. Owamah is an Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and the Director, Academic Planning, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria. Prior to this, he served as Deputy Director, Directorate of Intensive and Part-time Studies, Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka, Oleh Campus and Head, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He had earlier lectured in Landmark University, Omu-Aran, Kwara State, Nigeria and has served in many high-profile university-based committees. He has to his credit over 50 scientific articles, with more than 80% in the prestigious Scopus and Clarivate Analytics indexed journals.

Engr. Dr. Owamah became both a corporate member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and a registered engineer with the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) in 2011 at age 29 when many of his mates were yet to know the full meaning, or even the pronunciations of the two professional engineering bodies. He is presently an Examiner to the Nigerian Society of Engineers (national) for the examination of prospective corporate members. He was conferred with both the Fellowship of the Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers (FNICE) and the Fellowship of the Nigerian Institution of Environmental Engineers (FNIEE) in 2020 at age 38. He also became a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE) in 2021, at age 39. Engr. Dr. Owamah in his quest to serve humanity better in the areas of equipping men and women with cutting edge information on research and entrepreneurship, founded the Academic Research and Entrepreneurship Development (A-RED) Initiative, Asaba, Delta State, where he is currently the president. At the professional level, he has served as Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Environmental Engineers (NIEE), Delta State Chapter and General Secretary, NSE, Asaba Branch. He is also a past National Secretary of the Oil and Solid Mineral Producing Area Landlords’ Association of Nigeria (OMPALAN), and past National Technical Secretary of the Nigerian Institution of Environmental Engineers (NIEE). He is currently, a member of the NSE National Committee for the Establishment of Engineering College. Dr. Owamah in July 2021, at age 39, took the 1st position at the rectorship interview of the Delta State Polytechnic, Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State, Nigeria, but political expediency denied him the consequent appointment as a rector of the school. These are rare feats for any one in his thirties world over. Also, Dr. Owamah is a consultant to many universities and polytechnics on research and publication. He also consults for many industries and corporate organizations on pollution control, renewable energy, water treatment, storm water control, recruitment, leadership training, etc. Dr. Owamah has attended and presented papers in many national and foreign conferences, and has received local and international awards such as the National Jubilee Merit Award by the Nigerian Society of Engineers, in November, 2018 at Abuja; Distinguished Professional Career Award by the Nigerian Institution of Environmental Engineers (NIEE), Imo State Chapter in November 2021. Engr. Dr Owamah was recognized by the Times Africa Magazine as an outstanding scholar in July 2021. He was also recognized by the African Youth Advocates Assembly, for strategic leadership approach, innovative projects and solutions to the sustainable development challenges facing Africa, in March, 2021 at the West African Youth Summit, held in Accra, Ghana. He was announced the ‘Man-In- The- News’ by the Pointer Newspaper in December 17th, 2017. He recently received an Award of Excellence from the Nigerian Society of Engineers at Abuja, for delivering the March 4th, 2021 World Engineering Day Lecture as the invited guest speaker. Furthermore, Engr. Dr Owamah is a recipient of the prestigious and highly competitive PTDF Ph.D. scholarship and has won lots of research grants. He was recently announced by the Delta State University, Abraka as the top 4th highest research productive staff member of the university.

 READ ALSO: State Universities Are Quacks, Not Relevant In Our Strike – ASUU President

Dr. Owamah serves as a PhD external assessor to the Department of Civil Engineering, Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, and Andhra University, Andhra Pradesh, India. He was also an external assessor, School of Engineering, Federal Polytechnic Oko, Anambra State and the defunct Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro, Delta State for the promotion of academic staff to the rank of principal and chief lecturers. He was recently appointed external examiner for the undergraduate and post-graduate programmes of the Department of Civil Engineering, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. As a naturally endowed motivational speaker, who takes much interest in bringing out the best in people, he has on invitation, delivered over 70 high-profile national and international public lectures in the last five years. Engr. Dr. Owamah obtained his Ph.D. Civil Engineering (Water Resources and Environmental Engineering) from the University of Benin in 2016 at age 33. He earlier obtained the M.Eng. (2011) and B.Eng. (2006) from the University of Port Harcourt, and the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, respectively. Earlier, he had his First School Leaving Certificate from Umejei Primary School Ibusa, Delta State in 1993. He also attended St. Thomas’ College Ibusa, Delta State, where he obtained his Senior Secondary Certificate in 1999. Engr. Dr. Owamah is happily married to Mrs Victoria Owamah and the marriage is blessed with four wonderful kids. He hails from Owa-Alero, in Ika North East Local Government Area of Delta State and was born on Friday 27th August, 1982. To the glory of God, Owamah has been serving as a Sunday School Teacher at the Redeemed Christian Church of God for some years now. In the words of the legendary literary icon, Professor Chinua Achebe, it would seem that Dr. Ijeoma Owamah is that proverbial one “whose palm kernel was cracked by a benevolent spirit.” Sent away with his five other younger siblings and mother at barely 13 years of age by his father, the story of Associate Professor Owamah is that of the triumph of the human spirit over the vagaries and viscissitudes of life. His is a proof that with a strong will and determination to succeed in life, and of course divine help to one’s actions, one can turn all obstacles to blessings. He is the quintessence of humility, an apostle of change, a revolutionary and core disciplinarian adept at engineering continuity between the past and the present; diligently reshaping today for brighter tomorrow. Owamah, with the lean support from his mother’s meagre salary as a secondary school teacher, saw himself through the different stages of university education via borrowing and doing all sorts of menial jobs to augment. Life was indeed tough for the man whose success story has become a household story in Nigeria today. Dr Owamah’s indisputable wits and oratorical skills are legendary. Through consistent positive actions and sterling intellectual engagements, he has brought progress and global attention to his Owamah family, university and the Nigerian engineering profession at large. He has propelled the citadel of learning forward in an unprecedented manner through quality research, publication and community services. He has also demonstrated a high sense of integrity, courage, confidence, capacity, doggedness, and sincerity of purpose in all his assigned tasks. By any benchmark deployed to assess him, and in whatever clime, Associate Professor Hilary Ijeoma Owamah is a stunning success; a unique gift to the academic world at this critical moment in history, and he deserves to be celebrated by all as he turns 40 years.
Happy birthday to a mentor, teacher and role model.

. Omeonu is a Warri- based engineer and researcher. He was one of the students of Dr Owamah.


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Abiodun Seeks US Partnership In Developing Critical Sectors



Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun

The Ogun State government has solicited for partnership with the United States of America in developing the critical sectors of the State’s economy.

The State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun who stated this when he received the American Consul General to Nigeria, Mr. Will Stevens, who led a 5-man delegation on a courtesy call in his office at Oke-Mosan Abeokuta on Wednesday, noted that the State considers the United States as a progressive partner in the areas of economy, good governance, security, climate change and human capital development around the world.

Governor Abiodun posited that the State apart from the sophistication of its people and their cognitive political culture, is unanimously and popularly adjudged as the New Jersey of Nigeria and the leading industrial hub in the West Africa Sub-region, hence the need to tap from the American experience to further its developmental stride.

The governor said his administration at inception in 2019, assembled a team made up of highly resourceful technocrats and cerebral policy architects and conceptualized a transformational philosophy coined ISEYA, which is an acronym for Infrastructural Development, Social Welfare and Well-being, Education and Human Capital Development, Youth Empowerment and lastly, Agriculture and Food Security.

He said: “Through this concept, we have strategically transformed the state with modern infrastructure, deliberate policy steps to attract businesses and moving the economy from being federal allocation-focused to becoming the state with the third largest Internally Generated Revenue in the country.

“The State’s strategic location as the primary gateway to Lagos State – the largest market with the busiest ports in Nigeria has contributed to its status as the Industrial Hub of Nigeria.

“Our State is home to one of the largest industrial zones in Sub-Saharan Africa, which includes the 8,000 hectares OPIC-owned Agbara Industrial Estate, which accommodates the Federal Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone (OGFTZ), with forty-four (44) operational companies, factory tenants from across the world, with over 6,000 Nigerian employees and an estimated 100,000 metric tons of freight moving in and out daily.”

Prince Abiodun noted that in its quest to make Ogun State the first destination for investors in Nigeria, his administration is currently constructing an Agro Cargo International Airport at Iperu-Ilishan road in Ikenne Local Government Area of the State, adding that the project is strategically designed to create the needed infrastructure to boost the exportation of agricultural and non-agricultural goods.

“By its structure and business plan, the Cargo Airport remains a game-changer in our import and export promotion efforts, as it was specifically constructed to be an aerotropolis (Airport City) equipped with components such as a special agro-processing zone to process raw agricultural materials for exports, an international testing centre to certify that agro-produce complies with international standards before it is exported, and facility for passenger operations as well as facilities to receive parcels coming into Nigeria that are to be redistributed to other parts of the country.

“In addition to that, it is an important component of Ogun State’s transportation master plan expected not only to connect rail, road and water transportation but also to decongest the Lagos Airport,” the governor added.

Governor Abiodun appreciated the American government for her firm stance on democratic governance, specifically on the sanctity of the electoral process as well as supporting different reforms in the electoral process and taking an uncompromising position on electoral offenders.

In an interview after a closed-door meeting with the governor, the Consul General said their discussions centred on security and health.

He noted that health remains the number one investment in Nigeria as the US government is in the health sector to help Nigeria to reach the 95 95 95 goals of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country.

“It is my job to promote US trade and investment here in certain parts of Nigeria. I had a great conversation with the governor about the incredible investment the US companies are already making in the state as well as opportunities for more increased US trade and investment.

“We also talked about the tax sector, I think there are incredible opportunities right now to find jobs and opportunities for Nigerian youths to participate in the tax sector.

“We’ve seen the explosion of growth and investment in that sector throughout Nigeria, particularly in the South West,” the Consul General added.

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Toyin Falola And The October Harvest



Prof. Ezekiel Oladele Adeoti .Photo by ‘Gbile Oshadipe (2023) ©

By Ezekiel Oladele Adeoti

In the annals of academic and societal change, few luminaries shine as brightly as Professor Toyin Falola. As autumn leaves drifted in October, the literary world was astir from the changing seasons and the relentless enthusiasm of a septuagenarian scholar making waves across lecture halls and public platforms. In many cultures and traditions, October is a month of harvest – a time to reap the fruits of labour sown in prior months. Fittingly, for Professor Falola, this October truly lived up to that essence, bearing witness to an intellectual harvest that few could parallel.

Prof. Toyin Falola at the second  Distinguished Lecture Series of the Department of History & International Studies, Lagos State University, Ojo-Lagos, Nigeria on August 10, 2022. Photo by “Gbile Oshadipe (2022) ©

In many ways, the achievements of this month were a microcosm of Falola’s broader career: a testament to the confluence of hard work, passion, and a deep-seated commitment to societal advancement.

Within 31 days, Falola graced the podium for 3 public lectures, imparted wisdom in 2 university lectures, and was the beacon of 3 convocation lectures. Each of these engagements wasn’t just about sharing knowledge; they were conduits for sparking change, challenging established norms, and inspiring the next generation. However, to truly grasp the magnitude of Falola’s October endeavours, one must delve deeper into the essence of the man himself. At an age when many of his peers are retreating into the tranquillity of retirement, Falola’s spirit remains undiminished, if not encouraged. It’s not just the number of lectures or the honorary doctorates he received – which, in and of itself, is a remarkable feat – but the zeal with which he approaches each endeavour. His lectures, for instance, are not mere recitations of historical facts or academic theories. They are vibrant tapestries woven with threads of history, contemporary societal issues, and a vision for a brighter future. They challenge, they provoke, and most importantly, they inspire. But what drives a man of over 70 years to such relentless pursuit? To find the answer, one need not look further than his past works and the themes that permeate them. For Falola, academia isn’t a secluded ivory tower but a platform to engage with the real world. His research, extensive and varied as it is, always circles back to the core of societal problems. From the intricacies of Yoruba history to the broader strokes of African colonial and post-colonial narratives, Falola’s work sheds light on the issues that matter. These are issues that, in many ways, continue to shape societies today.

In this context, October wasn’t just another month in the calendar but a manifestation of Falola’s lifelong commitment to societal change. A promise that has seen him transcend the traditional confines of academia to engage with the broader public. His public lectures resonate with many audiences, often interspersed with anecdotes, real-life examples, and a touch of humour. From the eager university student to the curious layman, Falola’s words strike a chord, reminding everyone of the transformative power of knowledge and its role in sculpting a better future. In delving deeper into the man behind the October Harvest, one quickly realizes that Professor Falola’s achievements are not a product of overnight success but the culmination of decades of unwavering dedication. It’s a journey that’s seen him navigate the tumultuous waters of academia, societal challenges, and personal hurdles, emerging each time with a renewed sense of purpose. More than anything, this tenacity has been the cornerstone of his October endeavours and his broader career. One might wonder, what is the essence of these lectures and engagements? Why do they matter? The answer lies in the content and context of each meeting. Take, for instance, one of his public lectures from October. While the topic might have revolved around historical narratives, Falola deftly intertwined it with contemporary issues, drawing parallels and highlighting lessons. His ability to bridge the past with the present, to draw lessons from history and apply them to current challenges, is what sets him apart. In doing so, he educates and empowers his audience to view issues through a multifaceted lens, promoting critical thinking and proactive engagement.

Moreover, the venues of these lectures—from universities to public platforms—underscore his commitment to inclusive education. Universities, the traditional bastions of knowledge, are just one part of the equation for Falola. By stepping out and engaging with the broader public, he’s democratizing knowledge, making it accessible to all, irrespective of their academic or socio-economic backgrounds. It’s a move that challenges the status quo, emphasizing that learning shouldn’t be confined to ivory towers but should permeate every stratum of society. However, it’s not just the lectures that stood out in October. The two honorary doctorates he received are symbolic of his contributions to academia and society at large. Such accolades, while celebratory, are also reflective. They compel us to examine the body of work that merits such recognition. For Falola, it’s a vast tapestry of research, publications, mentorship, and public engagement. Each strand, be it a book, an article, or a lecture, is imbued with a purpose: to enlighten, challenge, and change. Yet, amidst all the accolades and achievements, what’s truly remarkable is Falola’s humility. Interact with him, and you’re not met with the airs of a celebrated academician but the warmth of a mentor, the curiosity of a lifelong learner, and the passion of a societal changemaker. This unique blend of excellence and humility makes his October Harvest not just an academic feat but a life lesson for many. It serves as a poignant reminder that success isn’t just about personal milestones but about the impact one leaves on society and the legacy one creates for future generations.

Reflecting on the October Harvest and the man at its epicentre, we must contextualize Professor Falola’s achievements within a broader societal framework. At a time when the world grapples with myriad challenges – from socio-political upheavals to environmental crises – the role of intellectuals and academicians becomes ever more crucial. And Falola, with his October engagements and lifelong commitment, epitomizes the potential of scholarly intervention in driving societal change. But why is this important? In an era dominated by bite-sized information and fleeting trends, the depth and breadth of academic research provide a counterbalance. Falola’s lectures, rich in historical context and analytical depth, offer a respite from the cacophony of superficial narratives. They remind us of the importance of understanding the past to navigate the present and shape the future. Every lecture and engagement is a clarion call for introspection, urging society to delve deeper, question more, and strive for a holistic understanding. This is not to say that academia is the sole bastion of truth or the only path to societal change. But scholars like Falola, who bridge the gap between the academic and public spheres, play a pivotal role in grounding discussions in research, evidence, and historical context. They serve as beacons, illuminating the path forward with the torch of knowledge.

Furthermore, Falola’s October engagements underscore the timeless essence of commitment and passion. His journey is a testament to perseverance, dedication, and lifelong learning in a world that often prioritizes instant gratification. It’s a narrative that resonates beyond the confines of academia, inspiring professionals, creatives, and changemakers across various fields. The underlying message? Age is but a number; passion and commitment are timeless. As we draw the curtains on the October Harvest, carrying forward the lessons it offers is essential. It’s a month that celebrates Professor Falola’s achievements, the ethos of scholarly engagement, and its potential impact on society. It’s a call to action for scholars, students, and the general public to engage, question, learn, and drive change.

In conclusion, Professor Toyin Falola’s October Harvest is more than a chronicle of a month’s achievements. It’s a celebration of a lifetime of dedication, a tribute to the transformative power of knowledge, and a reminder of the potential each one of us holds. As the leaves of October give way to the chill of November, the echoes of Falola’s lectures, the wisdom of his words, and the passion of his commitment continue to inspire, urging us all to sow the seeds of change, knowledge, and progress. For in every seed lies the promise of a harvest, and in every effort, the potential for impact.

Prof. Adeoti wrote from  the Department of History & International Studies at the Faculty of Arts, Lagos State University, Ojo-Lagos, Nigeria.


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Keep Witchcraft Accusations Out Of Politics In Sychelles



Witch Burning, Impunity And Abuses Linked to Witchcraft Beliefs In Benue State
Dr. Leo Igwe

By Leo Igwe

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches urges the government of Sychelles to keep charges linked to witchcraft beliefs out of politics in the country because they make no legal and political sense. This call became necessary following a report that the country’s main opposition leader, Peter Herminie has been charged with witchcraft. Charged with witchcraft in this 21st century? He was accused along with seven other persons including a Tanzanian. According to the report, Herminie and other persons have been charged with “possessing items intended for use in witchcraft, conspiracy to perform witchcraft and procuring services related to witchcraft”. It was stated that the name of this key politician was allegedly mentioned in a whatsapp message between a local and the person from Tanzania, who was arrested at the main international airport on September 21, 2023. The report says that “Items related to witchcraft, including stones, black wooden artefacts, small bottles of brownish liquid, a collection of powders, and documents with strange language and “demonic and satanic” symbols” were found in the possession of this Tanzanian.

State prosecutors are of the notion that the documents might be some vandalised materials from the local churches. Mr. Herminie has denied the charges, and dismissed the allegation that items linked to witchcraft including bones, body parts, and objects associated with Christianity” were found in his office or in his possession.

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches is asking the government of Sychelles to drop these charges, because they are absurd and constitute a show of shame and embarrassment. The prosecution of Herminie and other co-accused is witch hunting in both literal and political sense. And witch hunting should has no place in 21st century politics in Sychelles.

Otherwise, how does the government define witchcraft or witchcraft items? How does the government distinguish witchcraft items, whatever that means, from traditional religious objects? How did the prosecutors know that the said items were intended for use in witchcraft? Are stones, black wooden artefacts, and small bottles of brownish liquid witchcraft materials? I mean how will state prosecutors establish that some symbols are demonic and satanic?

Has the government the facility or expertise to prove beyond reasonable doubt what is witchcraft and what is not witchcraft, what is demonic or satanic and what is not? How will the government prosecute this case without flagrantly violating the right of its citizens to freedom of religion or belief? At a time of growing cases of witch persecution in many parts of Africa, the government of Sychelles should discontinue this unfortunate and unwarranted instance of witch hunting.


Dr.Igwe directs the Advocacy for Alleged Witches.

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