Published On: Wed, Jan 3rd, 2018

ONGOEBI MAUREEN Etebu, Nigeria’s first female Professor of Mechanical Engineering …Culled from Nengi Josef Owei Facebook page

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PROF. ONGOEBI MAUREEN ETEBU

ONGOEBI MAUREEN Etebu, Nigeria’s first female professor of Mechanical Engineering, belongs in the league of legends. Until her appointment as the pioneer Vice Chancellor, Nigerian Maritime University, Delta State, she was a staunch figure in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Port Harcourt.

A noble daughter of Kaiama and Odi, both in Kolokuma Opokuma local government area of Bayelsa State, she is a fervent Christian who has gone so far as to demonstrate her love for God by building a tower of worship in his name. The Throne of Grace Ministry still stands today in the heart of Yenagoa, a monument to her devotion and the spirit of fellowship she seeks to encourage.

Ongoebi marked herself out as a child of great promise when, in 1968, she earned a distinction in her First School Leaving Certificate examinations. She confirmed that promise when she bagged a Grade II in the West African School Certificate, WAEC, in 1975.

She was overjoyed when he gained admission to the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America, in 1982. She took it as a personal challenge to earn a B.Sc in Chemical Engineering, and she did.

Three years later, in 1985, she put right into her academic kitty an M.Sc degree in Industrial Engineering from the same university. Her interest in the subject was manifest, and she pursued it to the very last letter. In 1997, she bagged a PhD in Industrial Engineering from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria, to great ovation.

Having reached the apex of her chosen discipline, Etebu took overlapping interest in another aspect of engineering. She got so involved in investigating the power of thermofluids in mechanical engineering, that the University of Port Harcourt was obliged to grant her a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2001. The following year, 2002, she added an MBA in Management from the same university.

Her mind was fixed on greater achievements. She had a point to prove to herself that she could be a master in all fields of engineering, and so it turned out to be. Five years later, in 2007, she bagged a Masters degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Port Harcourt. The following year, 2008, she added a Post Graduate Diploma in Mechanical Engineering, University of Port Harcourt.

To top up the cocktail of academic laurels, she went on to earn, in 2016, a PhD in Mechanical Engineering (with particular respect to Thermofluids), from the Rivers State University of Science & Technology, Port Harcourt. And she did it to the resounding cheer of family, friends and colleagues.

Professor Etebu’s work experience is wide-ranging, even in rough outline. In 1983, she worked in the Medical Research Laboratory, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, USA. When she returned home to Nigeria, she was engaged as a Supervisory Councillor, Yenagoa local government council in 1986.

In August of the following year, she filled a yawning vacancy at the National Directorate of Employment, Port Harcourt, serving as Senior Inspector of Programmes. She was to hold that office till February 1993 when she returned to the Ivory Tower as a lecturer on the first rung of the hierarchy in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Port Harcourt.

Six years later, in December 1999, just two months after the creation of Bayelsa State, she was called to take charge of the Directorate for Special Projects in the landmark government of Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha of blessed memory.

The zeal and innovation she brought to her job, the dogged drive with which she sought results, recommended her for quick promotion. In June 2001, she was formally appointed as Commissioner in the newly created Ministry of Special Projects. Two years later, in May 2003, she became another pioneer Commissioner in the Ministry of Public Utilities where she served until January 2006.

In March of that year, she returned to her professional base and held the forte as Head of Department and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Port Harcourt, until October 2008 when she was appointed as the new Director, Science and Engineering Workshop, University of Port Harcourt, a position she held for two solid years, counting up to October 2010.

She served as Associate Dean, Faculty of Engineering, University of Port Harcourt from December 2009 to October 2011. Within the same time bracket, she was Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Port Harcourt.

From October 2012 to date, she has been a full-fledged Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Port Harcourt, the first female don to emerge in that exalted capacity in the annals of Nigerian history.

Professor Ongoebi Maureen Etebu went on to prove her mettle without challenge. Between April 2013 and August 2016, she served as Director, Institute of Engineering, Technology and Innovation Management, University of Port Harcourt.

In May 2015, the Goodluck Jonathan presidency found good reason to appoint her as the pioneer Vice Chancellor, Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State. She would be following in the distinctive footsteps of Professor Alele Williams, the first Nigerian female Vice Chancellor, University of Benin.

Etebu was all set to get to work. She acquainted herself with the full scope of her assignment, and drew up a blue-print for running the new university. But then, political hurdles needed to be cleared, and so she retreated to mark time as Dean, Faculty of Engineering, University of Port Harcourt in September 2015.

Two years later, in October 2017, she was confirmed by the incumbent Buhari government as the substantive Vice Chancellor, Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State.

 

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