• It’s God’s Own University-Vice Chancellor, Prof Anieke
From Petrus Obi, Enugu
The serenity, the atmosphere, the peaceful and natural surroundings of the Godfrey Okoye University, a Catholic owned private University located in the Thinkers Corner area of Enugu first strikes a visitor. The neatness of the environment, the orderliness of individuals therein, the beauty of the compound also sends a clear signal of a perfect learning environment.
Then a bell goes off and both students, lecturers and workers in the university suddenly pause in absolute quietness for the 12 noon Angelus prayer.
Within its five to six years of existence, the university has recorded tremendous success, graduating three batches of students and distinguishing itself as a model university and one of the shining stars of the South East, academically.
So, when recently the Vice Chancellor and founder of the institution, Prof Christian Anieke, a priest of the Catholic Church, invited newsmen for a chat, it was clear in the minds of journalists who had been following the development of the institution that something new was in the offing.
An amiable Rev. Fr. Anike was beaming with smile as he announced that the National Universities Commission (NUC) has confirmed the operational licenses of the Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu.
He would further disclose that eight other new universities got the permanent operational licence while eleven others were denied same.
A letter of attestation was written to this effect and signed by the Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof. Julius Okojie. In the letter, the Commission noted that the Godfrey Okoye University has fulfilled all requirements and completed required post-probation to be fully licensed to operate as a private university in Nigeria.
The Vice Chancellor recalled that the licence given earlier to the institution was a provisional one but by this confirmation, it becomes a permanent one.
For him the licence is a motivation for the school to work even harder to meet the expectations of the NUC and the dreams of the founding fathers of the university.
“It is in recognition of what we are doing here; it’s a motivation for us to continue what we are doing, to continue to keep the rules of the game because if we are not following the game the NUC will not confirm our licence.
“So we have to be listening to NUC, asking questions and trying to play by the rules. It means also more work; to whom much is given much is expected.
“We have to do the best we can to meet the expectations of our people in the field of education. In my first matriculation address entitled, ‘This is our Chance,’ I stressed the fact that having a university was our chance to make our contributions in the field of high education in Nigeria,” he said.
He explained further: “This recognition means that we have to do more; if we have been working 100% we have to work 200% now. It also means we have to work hard to develop our permanent site.
“We have worked hard in the last couple of years and we are going to do more because now the talk is about post graduate programme.
“If we get the approval of the NUC then we begin our post-graduate programme in the university. So a lot is being expected and a lot must be done to show that the confirmation is not in vain.”
The VC said the university prides itself on excellence in both academic and moral life. “This makes us different from others and it’s not just on paper, it’s our life here.
“Moral life, academic life is very important. Also there are some programmes that are doing exceptionally well. For example Bio-technology programme of the university is one of the best you can get in this country; our Computer Science is also a very good one, Accounting and many other programmes.
“So we have identified some signature programmes of the university and we are trying to push them to be the best in the country. So far God has blessed us.
“We have not had major challenges as a university and we attribute this to God’s grace and that’s why we call it God’s own university”, he said.
He argued that licence will not be granted if a school doesn’t have its courses accredited by the NUC. He noted that all their programmes had been accredited and this he feels could have been one of the reasons the institution got the confirmation.
“If you don’t have your courses accredited it means that you are not working hard. Normally the monitoring body of the NUC will give you criteria for accreditation and when you meet the criteria you have your programmes accredited. Universities that run programmes that are not accredited are running the risk of going contrary to the rules of the game and we have always tried to follow the rules.
“We have tried to express our faith here by working hard and we have been telling God through our work that this university is very important to us. There is a kind of stakeholder spirit here, it’s not just about somebody there financing you and sending money; there is a feeling that this belongs to us, this is our own university and you do it because you have a feeling it belongs to you. Not just the Vice Chancellor but many workers here believes this is our own.
“We have also tried to spread our tentacles outside this country; we have a lot of collaborators outside the university bringing ideas, inputs and assistance from different levels. As we speak 13 of our students are in the United Kingdom; many of them have gone to the United States; we have opened the shores of the university to institutions outside the country.”
Anieke also spoke on the permanent site of the university, noting that constructions are on-going at the location. “We are working assiduously to make that dream a reality; we have put up a lot of structures, we have been pleading with the state government to construct the road; the road is the major hindrance we have; we are also pleading with the private sector to come to our assistance.
“It’s just a 10 kilometre road that actually should be done without a lot of running around but as it stands we have been wracking our brains on how to fix the road. The moment the road is fixed we can get the first batch of our students into our permanent site. We have a lot of structures in place for a beginning but the road is the major challenge. I hope we would be able to conquer this within the next one year.” (Daily Sun)