Distinguished Professor Cecilia Ihuoma Igwilo, OON, the first female to be appointed as a professor of pharmacy in Nigeria and West Africa, was celebrated by family, friends, associates and mentees on Monday, January 23, 2023 as she clocked seventy (70).
The celebration, which also marked her retirement from active duty featured a public presentation of two (2) books.
The books titled “Our Lives… Sustained zests of love and diligence, -gracefully blended for service” and “Living Memoirs of Love, Supports and Selfless Service”, chronicle the lives of Distinguished Professor Cecilia Igwilo and that of her husband, Engr. (Dr.) Humphrey Osita Igwilo and featured tributes to the duo written by various associates.
At the event, several adjectives were used in describing the admirable qualities of the distinguished professor, who has made a mark in the world of pharmacy. Words and phrases like focused, diligent, intelligent, purposeful, trustworthy, conscientious, innovative, lady of many firsts, lady of distinction, very good human being etc. were used by notable individuals in describing Distinguished Professor Cecilia I. Igwilo.
Some of these individuals were: Prof. Rahamon A. Bello, former Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos (UNILAG); Dr. Olubayode Awosika, Medical Director, Med-in Specialist Hospital; Dr. (Mrs.) Ajoritsedere (Dere) Awosika, Chairperson, Access Bank Plc.; Olujimi (Jimi) Agbaje, Managing Director, Jaykay Pharmacy Limited; Pharm. Reggie Ezenwa, CEO/Director, Rozec Pharmacy; Oluwarotimi Shodimu Esq., former Registrar, UNILAG, to mention a few.
Many also testified to the unity of purpose, commitment and love that can be seen in the relationship of Dist. Prof. Cecilia Igwilo and her husband, Engr. (Dr.) Humphrey Igwilo. This has endeared the couple to several as role models and spiritual parents.
The quality of their relationship was further praised by the book reviewer, Prof. Lere Baale, Chief Executive of Business School Netherlands International. He described the first book “Our Lives…” as a story of a great couple.
According to Prof. Baale, the book “tells the true success story of a loving couple, who met each another and are walking and working through life, searching for hope of happiness, and God found them.” He informed that the book recommended that “…you honour and reverence God continually in your own life, as a couple, as a family, in all your endeavours and your church, and God will continually honour you and your family in Jesus’ name, Amen.”
While unveiling the two books, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, OFR, mni, a pharmacist and lawyer who is the founder & Chairman of Juli Pharmacy Plc. and Chairman of MTN Foundation, encouraged all present and those who purchase and read the book in the future to emulate Distinguished Professor Cecilia Ihuoma Igwilo. He further advised that all should do whatever they find themselves doing with diligence and excellence.
Speaking towards the end of the event, Engr. (Dr.) Humphrey Osita Igwilo, husband of the celebrant and co-author of the books, stated with visible satisfaction: “The greatest gift God gave me after my salvation is my wife.”
The celebrant, Distinguished Professor Cecilia Ihuoma Igwilo, OON, became the first female professor of pharmacy in Nigeria and West Africa in 1994. In 2005, she was conferred the award of the Officer of the Order of Niger (OON) by the Federal Government of Nigeria in special recognition of her contribution to the nation. Similarly, in the 2017 Convocation Ceremonies of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) she was awarded, Distinguished Professor of UNILAG for her notable contributions to the advancement of knowledge and distinctive services.