It is not often that an institution of higher learning HONOURS a serving Staff with an award alongside other notable Nigerians. But that is exactly what is happening at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, as it rolls out the drums to celebrate notable Nigerians with awards including its Staff,Dr Philips OKORE OKPO NTO, the immediate past Provost of Abia State College of Education, Technical, Arochukwu, ASCETA and former Abia State Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning.

This award is significant because it is coming at the celebration of the University’s 30th Founder’s Day. The school is named after the charismatic Dr Michael Okpara,former premier of Eastern NIGERIA who transformed the region agriculturally and industrially.

Ever since he joined the institution about two decades ago, Dr Philips Nto has done everything to uplift the ideals for which it was founded. Academically and administratively, he has delivered on every assignment given to him. When a few years ago the authorities of the university gave him a commendation letter for successful organization of the first ever Genders Stakeholders Forum and Award ceremony in the University , it was obvious that Dr Philips Nto had become an asset to the institution. He went ahead to serve in several committes in the University.

However,it was the current Vice Chancellor of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, UMUDIKE, Prof Maduebibisi Iwe who captured the assessment of Dr Philips Nto when he described him as not only an asset but a true ambassador of the university. That was the day Dr Philips Nto reported back to duty after serving as Provost of Abia State College of Education, Technical, Arochukwu, ASCETA.

For seven years that Dr Philips Nto was the Provost of the college,he still diligently taught his undergraduate and post graduate courses, including supervision of his project students at MOUAU. But what touched the authorities was the fact that Dr Philips Nto who was on leave of absence, refused to collect a Kobo for those seven years.

Interestingly, his legacies at ASCETA speak of a man of vision and focus. Academically and infrastructurally, Dr Philips Nto transformed ASCETA from the glorified secondary school that he met on ground to a flourishing institution with facilities that befit a university.

Apart from ensuring that all courses in the college were accedited by the relevant regulatory body, Dr Philips Nto made it possible for graduates of ASCETA to receive their certificates for the first time since the college was founded thirty years ago. He sustained the overseas training of qualified staff through TETFUND and infused discipline in the system.

In the area of infrastructure, Dr Philips Nto attracted no fewer than 12 solid buildings to the institution including a library rated as the best in the South East. Those buildings allocated to all the schools in the college have requisite facilities and other teaching aids such that it is now easier to upgrade ASCETA to a UNIVERSITY.

Those who knew Dr Philips Nto before his appointment as Provost of ASCETA were not surprised at the monumental achievements he recorded. As Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning before then,he had demonstated uncommon capacity and intellectual fecundity that made the difference in the cabinet of Senator Theodore Orji as the GOVERNOR of the state.

Dr Philips Nto as Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning was rated as the best Commisioner and honoured with an Award by the National Assembly. He presented thought provoking memos in Exco and organized the first ever Revenue Harmonization Summit which came up with far reaching economic reforms in the State.

Before joining the services of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, UMUDIKE, Dr Philips Nto had for one decade after his graduation from University of NIGERIA, Nsukka successfully ran several businesses as a consultant in various fields. He has been a consultant to the World Bank for years while his expertise in Agric business, agricultural economics and project management have helped nurture many businesses and students.

Educated at Ututu Ihe High School, University of NIGERIA, Nsukka, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, UMUDIKE and Galilee International Management Institute, Israel, Dr Philips Nto has authored and co-authored many books while has had contributed more than 60 conference papers in published in reputable journals. Widely travelled, Dr Philips Nto has been to Europe,America, Middle East and parts of Africa for presentation of papers at conferences.

A member of many professional bodies, including Agriultural Society of Nigeria,World Business Institute, African Finance Growth Institute, Dr Philips Nto has also been honoured by several organizations.

The Assembles of God Church conferred on him the highest award of Ambassador of the Kingdom during the leadership of Dr Chidi Okoroafor.

An indigene of Ukwuakwu Ututu in Arochukwu Local government area of Abia State, where he holds the reverred traditional title of IFEMBA UTUTU, Dr Philips Nto is married to a fellow academic,Dr Mrs Chioma Philips Nto and they are blessed with four God fearing children.

As the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, UMUDIKE HONOURS DR PHILIPS OKORE OKPO NTO,this intellectual prodigy and astute administrator, with an award, I can only pray God to illuminate his paths always.

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