Professor Udo Herbert was born some 52 years ago. He sat for and passed the West African School Certificate examination with Distinction in 1980 and the same year entered the University of Nigeria, Nsukka to study Animal Science. He bagged a Bachelor of Agriculture degree in 1985. Immediately after National Service, Udo proceeded to Nigeria’s foremost University, the University of Ibadan (UI) for his Masters’ degree. He graduated in 1987 as the best graduating student in Animal Science, with an average score that gave him opportunity to move straight to the PhD programme. This he did and went through the programme in his stride, graduating in 1992 with specialization in the area of Animal Physiology.
Prof. Herbert started his academic career at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri as a Lecturer II in August 1992 after a stint as a Part-time Lecturer in UI. In 1995, he was promoted to the rank of Lecturer I and, in 1998, a Senior Lecturer. In 2001, a prima facie case was established for his promotion to the rank of Associate Professor. However, that promotion was not released until his appointment as a Professor by Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU) in 2005.
Professor Herbert is an accomplished scientist. He has to his credit over 55 scientific publications in journals and standard proceedings both within and outside Nigeria.Prof. Herbert is credited with developing an artificial vagina for collecting rabbit semen which has opened up research in male rabbit reproduction in the tropics and has been adopted in Universities and research centres in Nigeria and other countries in Africa. He has also impacted on the scientific community in more ways than one. He has co-supervised 9 PhD candidates, three of who are full Professors today. He has also successfully supervised 8 MSc candidates and several undergraduate students. He is currently supervising 4 PhD and 3 MSc candidates. As his contribution to National development, Prof. Herbert has served as External Examiner to the Undergraduate programmes in the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt and the Department of Animal Physiology, University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. He is the current External Examiner of the Undergraduate programme in the Department of Animal Science, University of Calabar, Calabar. He has served as External Examiner to over 15 MSc and 6 PhD candidates in Universities across the country as well as External Assessor for 10 Professorial candidates in the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, University of Calabar, University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Delta State University Abraka and Imo State University, Owerri.
A seasoned administrator, Prof. Herbert served as Acting Head of the Department of Animal Science and Technology and Member of Senate, F.U.T., Owerri from 1998-2001. Between 2005 and 2006, he served as Head, Department of Ruminant Animal Production, in MOUAU. In 2006, Prof. Herbert was appointed Chairman, Senate Business Committee, an assignment he discharged creditably until 2010. Prof. Herbert was appointed Acting Director of Academic Planning and Chairman Senate Curriculum Committee in the last quarter of 2006. He became the substantive Director in January 2007, a position he held until May 2010 when he left on a Visiting appointment to the University of Port Harcourt. As DAP, Prof. Herbert superintended over the attainment of Full Accreditation for 27 out of the 29 programmes run in MOUAU. He also packaged two successful applications to the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission for one Academic fellowship and one Doctoral Scholarship in the United Kingdom.
Prof. Herbert was a member of the immediate past Governing Council of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike. He has chaired a number of other very important Committees in MOUAU since he assumed duty in 2005 and, in fact, is the current Dean of the College of Animal Science and Animal Production. He chaired the Committees that produced the blueprint for the establishment of the MOUAU Extension Centre and the Continuing Education Centre, two centres which have made giant strides in the University in the last few years. At various times, Prof Herbert has served as Chairman or Member of the Post-UTME Screening Committee in MOUAU.
Prof. Herbert is a member of several professional bodies both within and outside Nigeria. Prof. Herbert is a Life Member and the Immediate Past National President of the Nigerian Society for Animal Production, a position he has held between 2008 and 2012.Prior to his election of the President, he has served the Society meritoriously as Publicity Secretary (2002 – 2004), Secretary (2004 – 2006) and Vice President (2006 – 2008). At the 38th Annual Conference of the Society held in Port Harcourt in March 2013, Prof. Herbert was elected Fellow of the Nigerian Society for Animal Production. The Investiture would take place at the forthcoming conference in 2014. Prof Herbert is also a Registered Animal Scientist, being a member of the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science established by Act No. 26 of 2007. In the Institute, he serves as the Secretary of the Animal Physiology and Bioclimatology Group.
Prof. Herbert represents Nigeria in the highest decision-making organ, the Standing Committee of the International Congress on Animal Reproduction (ICAR) with secretariat at the University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia. In this capacity, he has attended four out of the last five quadrennial congresses held in Australia, Sweden, Brazil, Hungary and Canada and has presented papers. As President of NSAP, he was also a member of the General Assembly of the World Association of Animal Production (WAAP) based in Rome, Italy.
In his career, Prof. Herbert has won several awards/grants. A well-grounded professional with an eye for development, in 1989, Prof. Herbert won the Fellowship to attend the 7-month 8th International Course for development-oriented Research in Agriculture (ICRA) in Wageningen, The Netherlands. The Fellowship which was worth 57,000 Dutch Guilders took him to four countries – The Netherlands, Belgium, Kenya and Tanzania on scientific visits. In 2003, Prof. Herbert won Sigma Xi’s Packard Initiative Networking Grant funded by the Packard Foundation, USA. With proceeds from the grant, he organized a workshop on Internet Skills for Scientists and Engineers in South-East Nigeria at a time when Internet experience was less popular yet needed in this part of the country. He has also won several travel grants to scientific meetings in Australia, USA and Switzerland.
Professor Herbert has served Nigeria in several capacities. He was a member of the National Universities Commission’s Resource Verification Team that evaluated and recommended approval for programmes in the Faculty of Agriculture, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. As President, NSAP he was also a member of the National Livestock Development Committee (NLDC), the highest policy-making body for livestock production in Nigeria.
Professor Udo Herbert is happily married to Ugochinyere Herbert, a Chartered Accountant and Chief Accountant in the Bursary Department of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike and the marriage is blessed with four lovely and enterprising children, two boys, two girls.