ODOGWU EMEKA ODOGWU writes that Igbariam, Anambra East , Anambra state , a campus of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University formerly Anambra State University was agog penultimate Saturday when the University celebrated its 9th convocation ceremonies.
At the event, Governor Willie Obiano sought the partnership of private individuals and multi nationals with his government in making the state University ,COOU, a world class Institution for learning and research.
Obiano said that education in Nigeria needs serious attention, even as he enumerated some efforts of his administration in the general development of education in the state and the University in particular including advancements being made at the University’s medical school.
Obiano commissioned a twin one storey female hostel building built and donated by the Central Bank of Nigeria in the school.
The new Chancellor of the University, and Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Dr Adeyemo Aladesanmi, spoke extensively on ways to upgrade the Country’s quality of education and called for adequate funding of the sector.
The Acting Vice Chancellor of COOU , Prof Greg Nwakoby, appreciated the State government’s presence in the school under Governor Obiano, including regular payment of their subvention, and advocated employment of teaching and non-teaching staff as they are short staffed.
Wife of the Governor, and Founder of Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFE), an NGO, Chief Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano, was conferred with an Honorary Doctor of Letter Degree, DDL, for her human infrastructural breakthroughs and, propagation of women leadership benchmarks.
The award was presented to the Governor’s Wife by the Chancellor of the university, the Ewi of Ado-Eki, His Royal Majesty, Oba Rufus Adejumo Adejugbe Aladesanni.
The Vice Chancellor of the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu Professor Gregory .C. Nwakoby on behalf of the Council, Senate and Congregation thanked the general public for the 9th Convocation Ceremonies for the installation of Chancellor, Award of Honorary Degrees, Higher Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas, First Degrees and Prizes to the 2016/2017 graduands which was a huge success.
At the 9th convocation lecture earlier on Thursday , the President General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, has singled out the January 1966 coup d’état and the 1967 Nigeria/Biafra Civil wars as factors that destroyed the future of the country, hence the misplaced priority and marginalization of certain regions in the sharing of the national cake.
Nwodo noted that Biafra struggle for self-reliance against the background of marginalisation of Igbo people in Nigeria polity was not a solution to myriads of issues facing the region but restructuring and sustained campaign to democratize the knowledge and sustained feeling of a national emergency that will bring about the needed change.
He pointed out that restructuring of the country to a true federation where every region moves at their pace, remains the only way to give fairness to all Nigerian and all regions in the country.
Nwodo noted that Nigeria has been ruled by military governments and military-guided democracy.
The 9th convocation lecture themed, “The Igbos in the building of the Nigerian nation: The unrealised dream”, the President General of Ohanaeze faulted the youths who agitate for secession, pointing out that war would not solve the Igbo problems.
He expressed worry that the Fulanis, dressed in army uniforms always unleash mayhem on the innocent protesters, remarking that Ohanaeze would not support or allow Igbo people to troop the streets.
He listed loss of lives, destruction of several infrastructure and manufacturing facilities, rise in crime, collapse of industry, among others as negative results of civil war, stressing that similar circumstances should be eschewed.
He said that the inventions of Igbo during the civil war such as building bombs, build rockets, design and building own delivery system, building of armoured tanks and cars among others, were part of unrealised dreams of the Igbos in becoming the most technologically advanced people on earth.
He regretted that Nigeria’s external public debt had risen from $10.6billion in 2015 to $22.1billion in July, 2018, calling for a paradigm shift from oil to development of technology.
According to him, “a restructured Nigeria will give Ndigbo own domestic security and control of our resources. The tales of marginalisation will be over. Our contributions to national wealth will earn us our due respect. Our children will work proudly as inheritors of a noble heritage of hard work, resourcefulness and resilience”.
He maintained that restructuring would be achieved through, “legislative independence to the federating units; sovereignty of mineral and oil resources to the federating units; a radical revision of curriculum from primary to university education to help us integrate into new world order in human capital development.
“Others are, a painstaking resolve to support all electoral processes and candidates that bring about this change; a sustained campaign through workshops, conference and classroom discussions that will democratise this knowledge and sustain the feeling of a National Emergency to bring about the needed change; among others.
He drew the attention of the Federal Government to the possible recess in oil business globally, remarking that Nigeria borrow a leaf from China and United States of America that have set the pace, saying that Nigerian will be broke in next ten years if they don’t cue in.
He called for review of curriculum of universities to give priority to new skills that have uplifted certain sections of the global economy, stressing that “our home grown manufacturing of spare parts, shoes, tools and the growth of modern tailoring industry could sustain a new trade way for Igbomade products globally”.
Tracing the betrayal of of Igbo nationalist, Nnamdi Azikiwe as the birth of tribalism in Nigerian politics, the guest lecturer argued that without such development, Nigeria’s politics would have been less ethnic, nepotic and based on efficiency.
He enjoined students not be intimidated or disillusioned when they are betrayed, telling them to tow in the line of great Zik, even as he added that students should learn all they can.
Also speaking, the governor of Anambra State and Visitor to the institution, Chief Willie Obiano, represented by the Commissioner for Tertiary and Science Education, Prof. Theresa Nkechi Obiekezie, said that the state is mindful of the need for technological advancement, calling on the Igbos to think home and develop technology in their regions
Earlier in an address, the Acting Vice Chancellor, Prof. Greg Nwakoby, said the theme was thought provoking, saying that no other theme could be more expository in the present dispensation.
Nwakoby, who said that convocation lectures opened the event of convocation, adding it would help to x-ray the efforts and challenges of Ndigbo even as he disclosed that over 4000 graduands would be conferred various degrees.
He appealed for more infrastructural facilities and manpower in the 62 programmes in the university to meet up with the benchmark of Nigeria University Commission.
The Acting vice chancellor also called for well spirited Igbo people who can help, to come to the aid of the institution, remarking that “he who opens gate of education, closes the door of criminality and ignorance”.
In a remark, the chairman of the occasion, HRM Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, described the theme of the convocation lecture as apt and timely, expressing optimism that the exposure to the subject would help the Igbos better educated and Nigerians in general.
Achebe, who is also the chairman of council of traditional rulers, Anambra state, commended the University for Choice of the theme.
He said that the guest lecturer had exposed us to where we were, where we are and where we are heading to, saying it is befitting to a citadel of learning, while charging the institution to develop framework to forge the discussions ahead and not allow the knowledge to just end.