At UNN Convocation, Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba rekindle love

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Ooni of Ife (Credit: Kikimadu.com)
Ooni of Ife (Credit: Kikimadu.com)

The University of Nigeria, Nsukka  (UNN) last week played host to the three major tribes of  Nigeria – Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba – as their leaders converged on the institution for its 45th Convocation ceremony, which platform they used to canvass for ways to make Nigeria grow as a united entity.

The week-long convocation ceremony took a  new turn on the day of its climax last Saturday as it saw eminent leaders in the country, including the Ooni of Ife, HRH Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaga 11; the Obi of Onitsha, HRM Igwe Alfred Achebe; and the Surduana of Katsina, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomassie in their full respect and honour sharing the same optimism: that Nigeria will remain one indivisible entity despite its challenges.

On the sidelines of the ceremony were art exhibition, the convocation lecture delivered by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, sporting events and award night.

Others include conferment of the Chancellorship of the university on the Ooni of Ife, Oba Ogunwusi who was appointed recently by the Federal Government; conferment of undergraduate degrees to over 10,000 students; postgraduate diplomas to over 300 students; higher degrees comprising masters and doctorate to over 2,000 students, title of Professor Emeritus and award of honourary degrees to deserving Nigerians.

Indeed, it was a thrilling week for not just the university community but also for the visitors who had come for the occasion.

The convocation which was the second to be presided over by the  Vice Chancellor, Prof. Benjamin Chukwuma Ozumba saw the high and mighty, eminent men and women from different ethnic groups coming to the University.

After the Ooni of Ife was conferred the new chancellor by the visitor to the university, President Muhammadu Buhari who was represented  by the Minister of State for Education, Prof. Gozie Anthony Anwuka,  he pledged his resolve to make the university grow in leaps and bounds.

Describing the UNN as Nigeria’s only university and the best in Africa, Oba Ogunwusi noted that it was a privilege to oversee the affairs of such prestigious university, adding that he would do his best to ensure that the dreams of the founding fathers are made manifest.

His words: “Several months back I never knew that such a great occasion today will indeed happen. But it is now a reality and by virtue of what has happened today I will tell each and every youth present here that you should chase your dreams vigorously, diligently and with high tenacity because there is nothing in this world anybody cannot become.

He, therefore, called on everyone in attendance to join hands in making Nigeria a great nation, saying that the onus lies on every individual and not just on the leaders to make Nigeria remain the giant of Africa.

“We should come together in peace and in great harmony to support our leaders. Let us rise and be good example for our households, our communities, our states and for the nation at large”, he pleaded.

While the chancellor’s speech was punctuated with shouts of joy and greetings from the excited audience, he left his audience with a message of hope that Nigeria would emerge stronger and better from its current  challenges.

The event was then declared open by the university chancellor after which the vice chancellor,Prof Ozumba came forward to welcome all guests to the convocation.

He also used the occasion to express the resolve of his administration in making UNN a force to be reckoned with in tertiary education not only in Africa, but also in the whole world.

Making reference to the university’s recent ranking as the best in  Nigeria and the 14th in Africa, he said UNN has achieved tremendous feats in various spheres  and hence earned many national and global recognitions, adding that “this achievement is not an exercise in simplicity and we are determined to keep rising”.

“The administration is not basking in the euphoria of its present accomplishments as we have continued to make plans for the future, plans that will continuously improve our ranking and give it the expected visibility in the global arena.

“To continue with its status as a progenitor of outstanding academic programmes, the present administration has inaugurated an ongoing comprehensive ICT programme for staff and students of the university in order to ensure that every staff and student benefit from the robust intellectual and entrepreneurial impetus offered by its current digital revolution.”

Congratulating the thousands of graduands and honourary awardees, the vice chancellor charged them to continue to shine in their various endeavours in life so as to become good ambassadors of their alma mater.

After the VC spoke, it was then time for the conferment of higher degrees and diplomas on the postgraduates numbering 2,341, an exercise performed by the various deans on the instructions of the University Registrar, Mr. Anthony Okonta.

As the doctorate degree awardees walked up gallantly to the podium to have a warm handshake with the chancellor, their faces beamed with smiles, obviously excited that finally, their years of continued hardwork have been rewarded.

This is even as deserving professors emeritus numbering 19 were honoured, a feat which the vice chancellor described as deserving and appreciative of their meritorious service to the institution.

The high point of the event could be said to be the award of various honourary doctoral degrees to eminent Nigerians who according to the vice chancellor, had contributed to the development of humanity and helped in moving the nation forward.

The honourary awardees included the Ooni of Ife,Oba Ogunwusi (Doctor of Public Administration); Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Achebe (Doctor of Public Administration); Sultana of Katsina, Alhaji Coomassie (Doctor of Public Administration);  Prince Arthur Eze (Doctor of Public Administration); Hon. Justice Eze Ozobu(Doctor of Law) and Ambassador Godwin Alaoma Onyegbula.

In his address, President Buhari, lauded the university as living up to its dreams as envisaged by its founding fathers.

The president called on the university administration to continue to thread along the right part of restoring the dignity of man, adding that the university has in no small measure contributed to national growth and development.

According to him, “the government is indeed worried at the existing standard and quality of education in our country and in particular that of teaching in our universities and other tertiary institutions.

“This unfortunate situation has continued to impact negatively on the quality of our graduates. Nigerian universities should therefore ensure that the quality of graduates produced are in tandem with acceptable global standards”.

Also speaking on behalf of the honourary awardees, Alhaji Coomassie expressed appreciation to the university for deeming them fit and worthy to be honoured in such a great way.

He described the awards as morale booster for them to continue soaring higher in their various fields of endeavour, promising that they would go a long way in encouraging them to join hands in the restoration of the dignity of man.

The former Inspector General of Police also used the opportunity to express the resolve of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) which he presides over as chairman in advocating for the unity and oneness of the country.

While stating that Nigeria’s unity should be a priority for all, he lampooned those calling for the break-up of the country, saying that even the nation’s enemies would not want to see Nigeria go through the hell it went through during the civil war.

‎One of those who was conferred with the Professor Emeritus honour was a former deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Enugu-Campus, UNEC, and traditional ruler of Amaofuo in Imo State, Prof. Peter Ebigbo.

The traditional ruler set a new record in UNN by being the youngest to be conferred with Professor Emeritus of the institution since its maiden convocation in 1963.

Elders from the university revealed that no previous awardees was below 70, but, Prof. Ebigbo, only 67, now enjoys the luxury of the huge academic title.

Prof. Ozumba reaffirmed his commitment to reward academics and non-academics who have made the university proud in their chosen fields and congratulated them, even as he enjoined them to always remember the institution in their prayers.

Also former vice chancellor of the UNN, Prof. Frank, Ndili, renowned surgeon, Prof. Nene Obianyo, former DVC UNEC, Prof. Jonathan Azubuike and Prof. Paul Okonkwo bagged the professor emeritus award.

…Say no going back on Nigeria’s unity

From Chidi Nnadi and Chinedu Asadu, Enugu

The University of Nigeria, Nsukka  (UNN) vlast week played host to the three major tribes of  Nigeria – Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba – as their leaders converged on the institution for its 45th Convocation ceremony, which platform they used to canvass for ways to make Nigeria grow as a united entity.

The week-long convocation ceremony took a  new turn on the day of its climax last Saturday as it saw eminent leaders in the country, including the Oni of Ife, HRH Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaga 11; the Obi of Onitsha, HRM Igwe Alfred Achebe; and the Sultana of Katsina, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomassie in their full respect and honour sharing the same optimism: that Nigeria will remain one indivisible entity despite its challenges.

On the sidelines of the ceremony were art exhibition, the convocation lecture delivered by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, sporting events and award night.

Others include conferment of the Chancellorship of the university on the Ooni of Ife, Oba Ogunwusi who was appointed recently by the Federal Government; conferment of undergraduate degrees to over 10,000 students; postgraduate diplomas to over 300 students; higher degrees comprising masters and doctorate to over 2,000 students, title of Professor Emeritus and award of honourary degrees to deserving Nigerians.

Indeed, it was a thrilling week for not just the university community but also for the visitors who had come for the occasion.

The convocation which was the second to be presided over by the  Vice Chancellor, Prof. Benjamin Chukwuma Ozumba saw the high and mighty, eminent men and women from different ethnic groups coming to the University.

After the Ooni of Ife was conferred the new chancellor by the visitor to the university, President Muhammadu Buhari who was represented  by the Minister of State for Education, Prof. Gozie Anthony Anwuka,  he pledged his resolve to make the university grow in leaps and bounds.

Describing the UNN as Nigeria’s only university and the best in Africa, Oba Ogunwusi noted that it was a privilege to oversee the affairs of such prestigious university, adding that he would do his best to ensure that the dreams of the founding fathers are made manifest.

His words: “Several months back I never knew that such a great occasion today will indeed happen. But it is now a reality and by virtue of what has happened today I will tell each and every youth present here that you should chase your dreams vigorously, diligently and with high tenacity because there is nothing in this world anybody cannot become.

He, therefore, called on everyone in attendance to join hands in making Nigeria a great nation, saying that the onus lies on every individual and not just on the leaders to make Nigeria remain the giant of Africa.

“We should come together in peace and in great harmony to support our leaders. Let us rise and be good example for our households, our communities, our states and for the nation at large”, he pleaded.

While the chancellor’s speech was punctuated with shouts of joy and greetings from the excited audience, he left his audience with a message of hope that Nigeria would emerge stronger and better from its current  challenges.

The event was then declared open by the university chancellor after which the vice chancellor,Prof Ozumba came forward to welcome all guests to the convocation.

He also used the occasion to express the resolve of his administration in making UNN a force to be reckoned with in tertiary education not only in Africa, but also in the whole world.

Making reference to the university’s recent ranking as the best in  Nigeria and the 14th in Africa, he said UNN has achieved tremendous feats in various spheres  and hence earned many national and global recognitions, adding that “this achievement is not an exercise in simplicity and we are determined to keep rising”.

“The administration is not basking in the euphoria of its present accomplishments as we have continued to make plans for the future, plans that will continuously improve our ranking and give it the expected visibility in the global arena.

“To continue with its status as a progenitor of outstanding academic programmes, the present administration has inaugurated an ongoing comprehensive ICT programme for staff and students of the university in order to ensure that every staff and student benefit from the robust intellectual and entrepreneurial impetus offered by its current digital revolution.”

Congratulating the thousands of graduands and honourary awardees, the vice chancellor charged them to continue to shine in their various endeavours in life so as to become good ambassadors of their alma mater.

After the VC spoke, it was then time for the conferment of higher degrees and diplomas on the postgraduates numbering 2,341, an exercise performed by the various deans on the instructions of the University Registrar, Mr. Anthony Okonta.

As the doctorate degree awardees walked up gallantly to the podium to have a warm handshake with the chancellor, their faces beamed with smiles, obviously excited that finally, their years of continued hardwork have been rewarded.

This is even as deserving professors emeritus numbering 19 were honoured, a feat which the vice chancellor described as deserving and appreciative of their meritorious service to the institution.

The high point of the event could be said to be the award of various honourary doctoral degrees to eminent Nigerians who according to the vice chancellor, had contributed to the development of humanity and helped in moving the nation forward.

The honourary awardees included the Ooni of Ife,Oba Ogunwusi (Doctor of Public Administration); Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Achebe (Doctor of Public Administration); Sultana of Katsina, Alhaji Coomassie (Doctor of Public Administration);  Prince Arthur Eze (Doctor of Public Administration); Hon. Justice Eze Ozobu(Doctor of Law) and Ambassador Godwin Alaoma Onyegbula.

In his address, President Buhari, lauded the university as living up to its dreams as envisaged by its founding fathers.

The president called on the university administration to continue to thread along the right part of restoring the dignity of man, adding that the university has in no small measure contributed to national growth and development.

According to him, “the government is indeed worried at the existing standard and quality of education in our country and in particular that of teaching in our universities and other tertiary institutions.

“This unfortunate situation has continued to impact negatively on the quality of our graduates. Nigerian universities should therefore ensure that the quality of graduates produced are in tandem with acceptable global standards”.

Also speaking on behalf of the honourary awardees, Alhaji Coomassie expressed appreciation to the university for deeming them fit and worthy to be honoured in such a great way.

He described the awards as morale booster for them to continue soaring higher in their various fields of endeavour, promising that they would go a long way in encouraging them to join hands in the restoration of the dignity of man.

The former Inspector General of Police also used the opportunity to express the resolve of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) which he presides over as chairman in advocating for the unity and oneness of the country.

While stating that Nigeria’s unity should be a priority for all, he lampooned those calling for the break-up of the country, saying that even the nation’s enemies would not want to see Nigeria go through the hell it went through during the civil war.

‎One of those who was conferred with the Professor Emeritus honour was a former deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Enugu-Campus, UNEC, and traditional ruler of Amaofuo in Imo State, Prof. Peter Ebigbo.

The traditional ruler set a new record in UNN by being the youngest to be conferred with Professor Emeritus of the institution since its maiden convocation in 1963.

Elders from the university revealed that no previous awardees was below 70, but, Prof. Ebigbo, only 67, now enjoys the luxury of the huge academic title.

Prof. Ozumba reaffirmed his commitment to reward academics and non-academics who have made the university proud in their chosen fields and congratulated them, even as he enjoined them to always remember the institution in their prayers.

Also former vice chancellor of the UNN, Prof. Frank, Ndili, renowned surgeon, Prof. Nene Obianyo, former DVC UNEC, Prof. Jonathan Azubuike and Prof. Paul Okonkwo bagged the professor emeritus award.

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