Cardinal Arinze plants Papal Tree at COOU, tasks Staff and students on best academic practices

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By Udodirim Oti, Awka

The leader of Inter-religious Dialogue between 1984 to 2002 Francis Cardinal Arinze has called for harmonious relationship among members of the academic and non- academic staff of tertiary institutions and their students to ensure that each segment achieves its endeavours, tasking them on best academic practices to excel

Speaking on the topic titled, “Promoting Social Responsibility and Ethical Conduct in a Teaching Environment”,” shortly after planting the Papal Tree at the Administrative Block of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu University (COOU), Igbariam Campus, yesterday, he tasked University administrators and lecturers to go the extra mile to advance the cause and interests of the students. Such method of skill acquisition and intellectual equipment with skill-sets will help the students on graduation to easily access employment opportunities, become self-dependence and contribute to nation-building.

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He charged academic staff to see their universities as institutions that attracts quality people and be known to guide students, undertake research and grow academically. Cardinal Arinze advised the administrators of university “to strive to build up community of learning as a highly-respected environment with a culture of excellence.”

He observed that the university should identify indigent, but intelligent students and facilitate means of sourcing fund or scholarship scheme for them from wealthy members of the society.

Cardinal Arinze who is the Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments in the Vatican City tasked institutions of higher learning to shun pressure of awarding high-sounding honorary doctorate degrees on rich persons who have unclean name petsons He further charged the students scrutinize the relationship with their fellow students, as he noted the dangerous effect of peer age influence.

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According to him, peer group is responsible for involvement of students to join cult groups, engage in kidnapping, prostitution, drug abuse/addiction, plagiarise works, examinations malpractices, among others.

Advising the students not to cut corners, he urged them to follow the rules of the game in order to acquire necessary knowledge and skills and graduate to gain employment.

He charged students to accept exhortation when corrected for their good, but not to challenge the school authority.

Cardinal Arinze said the rating of Nigeria as the Number One country in persecution and killing of Christians in the world, attributing the dastardly acts to religious intolerance. The Adviser to Pope John Paul II observed religion is proposed, but not imposed, backing the provision of the 1991 Constitution of religious neutrality.

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He urged leaders to guide their followers aright to exercise discipline and love one another.

The highly-rated Servant of God contended that politics is not a dirty game, but the political players have made the game to look as if it is a dirty game.

Arinze pointed out blamed government for running non-inclusive government and excluding those who didn’t for it in elections.

He said that it was up to Nigerians to assess the performance. He said university authorities should not serve as appendage to government, but criticize government constructively, even as he charged government not to stifle institutions of fund for their political stance.

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