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Special Citation on
PROFESSOR MAURICE MADUAKOLAM IWU
Presented on the Occasion of Conferment of
the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters (D.Litt)
by Imo State University, Owerri, Nigeria
(Saturday 2nd May 2009)
If ever there was a Nigerian Civilian in more recent times who put his life and hard earned reputation on the line in a singular mined determination to save his country from disintegration, it is this highly accomplished and much cherished honoree standing tall and dignified as indeed he should before us today. If you permit me to borrow a celebrated quote, “He came, He saw, He conquered!” And because of his triumph over impediments and a campaign of calumny that would have defined other mortals, our country was spared the horrors of political turmoil, even civil war.
The hands of faith and fate have remained ever so strong in the eventful life of Maurice Maduakolam Iwu, a professor of phamacognosy. He was born on April 21, 1950 in a fairly large family in Umukabia, in what is today Ehime, Imo State. By June 2005 when he was appointed Honourable Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Maurice Maduakolam Iwu had covered a great mileage both in physical travels and the journey of life and career. Remarkably through this eventful and fulfilling journey, he never wandered far from home and his heritage.
Professor Maurice Maduakolam Iwu had his early education at Christ the King School, Aba in Imo State and St. Pius X College, Bodo, Ogoni in Rivers State. He proceeded for higher education to the University of Bradford, Brandford England, where he obtained a Masters degree and a PhD in pharmacy in 1976 and 1978 respectively, specializing in the area of pharmacognosy.
His professional career has been as eventful as it been rewarding, not only for him as a person, but also for the larger and humanity. He has a focused and dogged intellectual all his adult life, with a working career that spans the realms of academics, research and administration. He has been a teacher, a lecturer at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (1984-1993), where he became a professor at the age of 34. As a researcher he occupies an enviable place in the realm of scientific research, in specifics in the area of medicinal plants. The many parents he has for original discoveries speak of his success as a researcher.
Professor Maurice Maduakolam Iwu’s rich working life has also seen him at various times as the vice president, research and Development of Tom’s of Maine (a personal care manufacturing company) as well as a member of the board of directors Axxon Biopharm Inc.
He has consulted on technological management and the establishment of strategic alliances and multinational cooperative research and development project fort international agencies such as UNIDO, UNDP and the International Organization of Chemistry for Development (IOCD).
He was a United Nations Lead Consultant for the development of Nigeria’s National Biodiversity strategy and Action plan as well as a consultant and scientific adviser to many international pharmaceutical institutions.
Professor Maurice Maduakolam Iwu has served on the board of several non-profit and charitable foundations including InterCEDD, Fund for integrated rural development and traditional medicine, and Center for Economic and Social Justice. Until his appointment into the Electoral Commission as a National Commissioner in 2003 after the General Election of that year, Prof. Iwu was a senior research Associate at the Division of Experiment Therapeutics of Walter Rees Army Institute of Research. Washington D. C. United States of America.
Professor Maurice Maduakolam Iwu has a basketful of awards and honours shows for his professional fecund mind and career. Among the awards he has received are the World Health Organization (WHO); Visiting Scholar to the Dyson Perrins Laboratory, University, of Oxford (1980); Fulbright Senior Award (Ohio State University, Columbus Ohio and Department of Chemistry, Columbia University, New York (1993); Senior Research Scholar Award. U.S. National research Council, Washington D. C. (1993 - 1995) and the Richard Schultez International prize for Ethno biology (1999).
Professor Iwu has presented over 200 scientific papers and has published more than 100 research articles. He is the author of four books and is also the series Editor of the Elsevier Science series “Advances in phytomedicine”. Till date he remains member of the Editorial Board of several international scientific journals. Between 1996 2002 Prof. Iwu was president, International Society of Ethno biology; member and ex-president, Nigerian Society of pharmacognosy; member, American Society of Tropical medicinal Plant Research. He as the executive Director, bioresearches Development and Conservation Programme (BDCP).
The focus on professional career did not and has not blunted the sense of social engagement in Professor Maurice Iwu. He served as branch secretary (UNN) and National Vice-Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). In 2005, two years after he was appointed into the Independent National Electoral Commission as National Commissioner,
Professor Maurice Maduakolam Iwu was appointed Honourable Chairman of the Commission, thus becoming the Chief Electoral Officer of the nation. As chairman of Independent national Electoral Commission/Chief Electoral officer of Nigeria, Prof. Iwu has initiated far-reaching reforms in Nigeria’s electoral process. He introduced a new regime in voter registration through the Electronic voters registrar, a new platform that has eliminated the practice of Nigerians wasting two or more weeks every four years in queuing up to register as voters. Professor Iwu also president over the establishment of the Electoral institute. Steadily but quietly, he has continued to overhaul the operational structure of Nigeria’s electoral management body, with the objective of making it more efficient. Against all odds and an inclement political environment, Professor Maurice Iwu conducted the first successful transition election from one democratically elected government to another in Nigeria, a historic accomplishment the full import of which Nigerians will appreciate over time.
Professor Maurice Iwu is dedicated family man. He is married to Mrs. Kate Iwu. His life is rich in varied ramifications. He is blessed with four children, grandchildren, parents for original discoveries, sound mind and body and a record of dedicated service to God, the nation and humanity. This is Professor Maurice Maduakolam Iwu, knight of the Order of St. Mulumba.
Lord Chancellor, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is Indeed this knight in shining armour, this innovative scientist, this indefatigable administrator, this irrepressible political thinker, this tenacious warrior in the service of humanity, that have the distinct honour of presenting for the award of the Degree of Doctor of letters (D. Litt.) Honoris causa of the Imo State University with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto.