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Mgbakogu projects Obiano’s dreams in College of Health Technology, Obosi

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LEADERS are born, not made. And the true test of leadership is not felt in time of calm and merriment, but in times of adversity and despair. Observers believe that one of the secrets of Governor Willie Obiano’s numerous successes in governance is his right choice of caliber of persons when making appointments to positions of authority. Dr. Robinson Amaechi Mgbakogu falls into this category and his likes will roundly fit in any where a good head, a trained and ready hand are prerequisites.

  Mgbakaogu is the Provost, Anambra State College of Health Technology, (ASCOHT), Obosi. His administration has brought uncommon transformation of the health institution, unprecedented development in all the departments, in infrastructure, in academics and on the entire environment.

  A bridge builder, a trail blazer, an icon of service, Dr. Mgbakogu since assumption of duty as the college helmsman has remained committed to leaving the institution much better than he met it.

  In the institution, Dr. Mgbakogu fought vehemently for what he believed in, met with stiff opposition, made great sacrifices, but in the end got what he fought for, the actualisation of the B.MLS degree title instead of BSC title for the common good of all undergraduates doing medical laboratory sciences. Selflessness and dedication are some of his attributes.

  Mgbakogu went through his primary and secondary schools and came out in flying colours, and in 1980, he was employed as a tax collection assistant with Board of Internal Revenue, Enugu. He got admission into University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, to study Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT).

But in his quest for the best, he sat for Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examination on 20th April, 1983, for Medicine and Surgery, using UNN as his first choice, passed, and was admitted into the new department of Medical Laboratory Sciences of the Faculty of Health Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC)

  He quickly abandoned this course and returned to UNN to start the B.MLS degree programme. Throughout his stay in Enugu Campus of the University of Nigeria, Dr. Mgbakogu was relevant and active in all facets of campus activities. He was President of Obosi Students’ Association, 1985, Secretary, Eagles Club UNEC 1985, Secretary Mbonu Ojike Hall Governing Council 1986, and active member of other clubs.

He was the pioneer course representative and in 1985, facilitated the formation of Medical Laboratory Science Students’ Association (MELASSA) and became the pioneer president in 1985/1986 session. In June 1988, he championed the struggle for the actualisation of the B.MLS degree title which was achieved finally through a coordinated protest and boycott of the first degree paper by the department in June, 1988. This action compelled the university to agree to change the degree title from B.Sc to a professional certificate B.MLS, a clear result of sheer determination, courage and total commitment to ones course.

  Thus UNN became the first university in Nigeria to award B.MLS degree and Mgbakogu paid the price for the success of the struggle for “change” as he did not come out with a 21, a sacrifice paid for his championing the struggle for this change. Despite these actions of those who did not know the difference between B.Sc and B.MLS, Mgbakogu graduated as the best student in Medical Microbiology option with 22 in 1988. From that moment of graduation, the lion in him has never ceased to roar. He became the first Obosi graduate of Medical Laboratory Sciences. National Youth Service Scheme took him to Port Harcourt, (University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, UPTH) between 1988 – Sept. 1989, where his discipline and training of yester years helped him prove his mettle as he became the young medical laboratory scientist of choice by his senior colleagues who chose him to cover their call duties in the Department of Haematology, UPTH. He went to UNN with study leave without pay.

  At the end of his year-long mandatory service, Dr. Mgbakogu performed so well that he was recommended for automatic employment by the HOD, Haematology Unit but this did not see the light of the day as he was told to go and try in his state, Anambra, by the then management of UPTH. He returned to Anambra on 27th September, 1989, and in November 1989, one Miss Collete Eneda, now Mrs Collete Nwajiani facilitated the process of his resumption of duty after study leave and posted him to Ogidi Tax Office in 1989, as tax clerk.

  In April, 1990, he was transferred to Ministry of Health and through the help of the then Hospital Administrator of Hospital Management Board of old Anambra State, he was posted to General Hospital Onitsha (GHO).

By this appointment Dr. Robinson Mgbakogu became the first B.MLS (graduate) Medical Laboratory Scientist in Anambra State Civil Service and remained the only one till 2005. As his pedigree of dedication and commitment began to manifest, his services became well sought after by his town, Obosi, while still working as a Medical Laboratory Scientist at General Hospital, Onitsha.

He later established the first Medical Laboratory Services Centre in Obosi (RAM General Medical Laboratories) in July 20, 1993, in his village, Ireh. This establishment provided the much needed diagnostic services in Obosi and environs. Seeing the need to provide Medical Laboratory Services to the wider community, he established Robins Medical Laboratory Center at Awada, Obosi, in 1997.

He became an employer of labour having employed two medical laboratory scientists and other support staff to work in the offices. Because of the pressure of work in RAM General Medical Laboratory and civil service commitment at General Hospital, Onitsha, it became obvious that he could not cope covering both Robins Medical Laboratory at Awada, Obosi, and RAM at Obosi Inland.

He closed the Robins Laboratory at Awada and brought it to Umuota, Obosi, in July, 1998, to enhance efficiency and quality service delivery.

  In 1995, he was transferred to Anambra State College of Health Technology, Obosi, (ASCOHT), to assist in the first accreditation by the West Africa Health Examination Board for the training of environmental health technologists.

 He was transferred back to General Hospital Onitsha (GHO) after helping the college to obtain the accreditation. In April 2004, he was again transferred to ASCOHT to pioneer the establishment of the Medical Laboratory Technician Program as Head of Department. As HOD, he saw the urgent need to improve on his academic qualification and in 2004; he got admission again into the prestigious University of Nigeria for an M.Sc degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences.

On completion of the M.Sc in 2008, Dr. Mgbakogu, specialising in Public Health Microbiology, was admitted for his Ph.D program in 2009/2010 session also in Medical Laboratory Sciences, and graduated February 2014, with distinction in Public Health Microbiology. He then became the first to be awarded Ph.D in that very Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, UNEC.

  On 2008, after serving as the HOD 2004-2008, Dr. Mgbakogu left ASCOHT to General Hospital Onitsha, and in 2009, became the head of laboratory unit, General Hospital Onitsha, as Deputy Director MLS, a position he attained in 2006. In 2012, he was posted to head General Hospital Enugu-Ukwu Laboratory Unit. He navigated his professional turf and high official responsibilities with exemplary dedication, diligence and dispatch, bringing uncommon administrative and large vision of life. He brought originality and innovativeness to otherwise tasking management of Laboratory Unit, General Hospital Onitsha, and generated the highest amount of revenue to the government since the inception of this unit. These traits saw him reach what could pass as the apex of his professional calling – acting Provost ASCOHT, on 14th February, 2013.

For the specialist medical laboratory scientist, who has repeatedly proven his game changing leadership capacity in strategic turfs, much promise and higher responsibility beckoned. Dr. Mgbakogu, as acting Provost of ASCOHT, 2013 to 2015 turned around positively as he brought in robust policies and programmes that improved the academic performance of the students and staff, improved on infrastructure of the college that made teaching and learning comfortable. In 2013, he obtained full (5 years) accreditation for Community Health Department and Health Information Management Department which he established.

  In 2014, he facilitated for the first time in the history of the college, the employment of 50 permanent staff (academic and non academic). Again in 2015, he facilitated the employment of 30 permanent staff (academic and non academic) and another 14 permanent staff in 2016. Also in 2021, he facilitated the employment of 74 permanent staff (academic and non academic). All these staff and 35 casual staff were employed and deployed to ASCOHT during his tenure as provost.

  In recognition of his sterling leadership qualities, achievements, and immense contributions towards the improvement of academic, infrastructural development of ASCOHT and services to the Anambra State Government, he was confirmed Provost of ASCOHT by Governor Willie Obiano, on February 2, 2015, three days after his statutory retirement on 31st January 2015.

Because of his tremendous achievements visa vis facilitating the constitution and inauguration of the first governing council members of the college, he obtained first National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) provisional in 2015 and full five years accreditation (National Diploma) making students to be admitted through the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) of three departments – Environmental Health Technology, Medical Imaging Technology and Health Information Management, in 2017, full five years accreditation for Medical Laboratory Technician and Community Health accreditation from their professional Boards in 2014.

ln 2018, he obtained the first HND provisional accreditation from NBTE that qualified graduands of the college to start participating in the NYSC for the first time from 2021, full accreditation five years for Pharmacy Technician and Community Health Departments from their professional Boards. Dr. Mgbakogu as provost of ASCOHT, did the first convocation ceremony of graduands of ASCOHT in 2015, 25 years anniversary of the college in 2018, and facilitated the donation of 40 cartons (over 1600) books from Ihejie Foundation and 19 cartons (over 500) books from Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, 110 laptops from Nigerian Communication Commission, all in 2019.

Dr Robinson Mgbakogu established ICT center with 100 computers for the conduct of examinations. He developed the first web portal for the college thereby automating staff and students profile registration and other data online.

He also built a standard canteen, renovated administration block, class rooms and female hostel, equipped the college laboratories with modern equipment to aid  teaching and learning and also facilitated the donation of 200KVA transformer, 32 and 18 seater buses, one Ford Ranger vehicle to the college. As provost of ASCOHT, he facilitated the approval and award of contract for the elevation of two class room blocks to modern story building and extension of pharmacy technician laboratory by Chief Dr Willie Obiano of Anambra State.

The first building has been completed with the pharmacy laboratory while work is on going in the second building. The provost’s improvements on teaching and learning processes and zero tolerance in examination malpractice resulted in improved performance of the students with 100% passes with distinctions for the first time in the college.

  It’s pertinent to note that Provost Robinson Mgbakogu, to free ASCOHT from the grips of criminals engaged the services of private security company and installed CCTV cameras and solar powered street lights in the college. He was very passionate in his career and readily gave it all that it took to leave footprints on the sands of time.

Dr. Mgbakogu Robinson is a voracious reader of books on diverse titles and had published many academic papers in both local and international journals among which are: Polymicrobial agents and antibiotic profile of urinary tract infections among pregnant women in Anambra State, Nigeria Advances in life Sciences and Tech. vol. 35, 2015 ISBN2224-7181; incidence characterization and pathological features of Bacillus cereus in soil, raw cereals and meat in Anambra State Nigeria, Journal of Natural Sciences and research. Vol. 5 no. 16 2015;  Ecopathological features of Bacillus cereus food poisoning in Anambra State, Nigeria. Journal of Natural Scsresearch  vol. 5 no. 14, 2015 2224-3186;

Evaluation of Bacillus cereus contamination of local vegetables in Obosi, Anambra State Nigeria. J. of Biol, Agric, Healthcare. Vol. 5, no. 15, 222403208; Studies on Urinary Tract Infection among Diabetics in some Eastern states in Nigeria. Advances in Life Scs. And Tech. Vol. 34 2015, 224-7181, and Comparative analysis of the level of contaminants in select waterways, samples from Dumpsite. Journal of Applied Sciences and research vol. 13 issue 6, 2017 1819.

  Governor Willie Obiano renewed his appointment in 2017, as provost of the college for another four years that will end in February 1, 2022, a clear reward for excellence, high sense of professionalism and competence.

  All the employments and his achievements were made possible through the gracious approvals Governor Obiano, and good working relationship he enjoyed with members of governing council, his management team, principal officers, staff and students of the college.

  Because of his achievement (academic and leadership) he received several awards such as Award of Excellence by ODU Obosi Women’s Wing, 2010, Henry Dunnont Gold merit award by Nigerian Red Cross, 2013, Fellow Institute of Management and Administration of Nigeria Award of excellence by Association of Med. Lab. Scientist of Nigeria, Anambra State, 2016, Niger Diocese Anglican Communion Merit Award (DMA) by Bishop Owen Nwokolo, 2017, as well as Award of Excellence in Health by Ministry of Health, Anambra State, 2018. Others are Award of Pillar of Solferino for Humanity by Nigerian Red Cross Society, Anambra State, 2018, Distinguished Community Service Award by Rotary Club of Obosi Kingdom, District 9141, Rotary Club International 2018, Doyen of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Tech. by Faculty of Health Sciences and Tech. UNEC 2019, and Outstanding Achievement Award by Anambra State College of Health Technology, Obosi 2018. Under Dr. Mgbakogu’s watch, ASCOHT remains the choice of ever increasing number of candidates seeking admission into College of Health Technology in Nigeria.

  Dr. Robinson Amaechi Mgbakogu is happily married to Mrs. Joy Nkeiru Mgbakogu, currently Deputy Controller of Correctional Centres. The

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