It was a moment of double honour for Prof. Ujah Innocent, the Director General (DG) Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba, Lagos as he was conferred with two awards by Arewa Youth Assembly (AWA) and Northern Youth Council (NYC) in one occasion.
While the Arewa Youth Assembly, conferred on him with “Sir Ahmadu Bello Platinum Leadership Peace Award,” the Northern Youth Council bestowed on him, “Defender of the Northern Youths Award.”
Conferring him with the award on behalf of the Arewa Youth Assembly (AYA) Dogo Shagari, Deputy Speaker, AYA, said that Ujah was being honoured because of his exemplary leadership.
According to Shagari, his group is inspired by Ujah’s character and ideology, even as they described him as “personality of a great, visionary and foremost nationalist that has, and continues to provide a standard reference point for this generation, demonstrating a true and selfless leadership characterized by dynamism and efficiency.”
The Arewa Youth Assembly is a pro-democracy group of northern Nigeria extraction, who share a common vision of political, social and economic unity of the entire Nigeria. It is the umbrella legislative body of all youth organizations in northern Nigeria.
The Deputy Speaker further said that AYA is a generation of young men and women that actively engage the society and recognize individuals who have made positive marks in their careers and contribute to human upliftment.
Shagari also explained that this was why his group decided to honour the NIMR DG.
He said: “Our recognition of such individuals is a tribute to their hard work, commitment and spirit of nationalism, all of which are glaringly found in the man, Professor Innocent Ujah.”
Extolling his qualities and the invaluable contributions to the society, the Deputy Speaker said that NIMR contributed immensely during the fight against the deadly Ebola Virus disease, under his leadership.
He added: “This honour is our little way of saying well done, and to spur you to do more and ensure that the health sector through research is well positioned and in line with global health standards.
“At 61, Professor Ujah has continued to serve his fatherland with the energy and vitality of a youth. This is why the Arewa Youth Assembly today brands you as “a 20 year old with 41 years’ experience!”
Similarly, Isa Abubakar, President, NYC, eulogizing the sterling qualities of the NIMR boss, urged him to act as a champion to rally other professionals and eminent persons from to join in the fight against Boko-Haram and the insurgency.
Abubakar lamenting the effects of the insurgency, said it has impoverished the Northern region, especially the North East area, where the mutiny is at its peak, and expressed optimism that Ujah as an epitome of Northern community scholars would mobilize others to stop Boko-Haram attacks.
Bemoaning the untold hardship, unemployment among the calamities which the insurgency has brought on the Northerners, the NYC President, further implored Ujah to ensure that all hands are on deck to end the crisis.
Ujah’s award is just one out of his long list of award in recognition of his valuable contributions to improve medical research and services.
Recently, the DG also received the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN) ‘Health and Medical Awards.’
Professor Ujah, was among the four persons who were honoured APBN during the association’s 29th Annual General Assembly (AGA) awards which held at Golden Gate Restaurant, Ikoyi.
Born on November 6, 1954 at Aidogodo-Okpoga in Okpokwu , Local Government Area (LGA) Benue State, Professor Ujah graduated from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria in June 1978 with an MBBS degree. He is a fellow of Medical College of Obstetrics & Gynaecology (FMCOG) of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria by examination, Fellow of International College of Surgeons (FICS) and Royal Society of Medicine of England (FRSMed).
Professor Innocent Ujah is a specialist gynaecologist, endocrinologist and endocrine infertility. He also holds a Diploma in International maternal health care from University of Uppsala, Sweden. Professor Ujah has published over 70 scholarly articles in reputable national and international peer-reviewed journals, in addition to over 100 conference papers, abstracts and has delivered many lectures. He has attended many national and international conferences and presented a number of quality scientific papers.
This story was published in Newswatch Times on December 31, 2015.