The Oasis Reporters
April 20, 2021
By Sir Don Ubani; KSC, JP
Okwubunka of Asa.
The joy that simultaneously flows from a people when one of their own records an exceptional performance and attendant success in any special field of human endeavour knows no bounds.
The people of Ukwa La Ngwa, made up of nine Local Government Areas of Abia State are no exception to this world-acknowledged reality.
Abia State University, Uturu was established in 1981 by the government of late Chief Sam Mbakwe of Old Imo State. For thirty-four years, 1981-2015, no academic from the whole of Old Aba Division, otherwise known as Ukwa La Ngwa, had the privilege of becoming Vice Chancellor of the University. Of course, this was despite a plurality of eminently qualified Intellectuals of Ukwa La Ngwa extraction in the University.
To the glory of God, the above jinx was broken in 2015, following the meritorious election of a renowned Professor of Optometry, Professor Uche Eleazar Ikonne, by the Senate of the University and subsequent confirmation by the Governor of the State and Visitor to the University, Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, Ph.D, as Vice Chancellor.
Professor Ikonne assumed his role as Vice Chancellor with a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve during his tenure. As a seasoned educational Administrator who had held many strategic positions in the University prior to to his elevation as Vice Chancellor, including Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration, Professor Ikonne knew first hand what the challenges of the University were. He, therefore, needed no tutorials before he could set the ball rolling.
On his first official day as Vice Chancellor of Abia State University, Uturu, he presented a well-articulated document titled, ‘Our Story Must Change’.
One of the stories of the University that needed to be changed and urgently too was the morale of Academic and Non-Academic Staff in the University. As an Academic equipped with the required administrative psychology and effectively backed by the Governor and Visitor to the University, Okezie Ikpeazu, Ph.D, the welfare of Staff almost immediately had a significant boost.
They, therefore, were ready to deliver on their mandate. For the first time in the history of the University, Deans of Faculties were furnished with brand new Sports Utility Vehicles by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu who, himself, is an Academic of great repute.
Having secured the confidence of his colleagues in the University, the next step Professor Ikonne took was to address the teething problem of fraudulent and or exploitative examination practices in the University, including selling of handouts to students, ‘sorting’ and uncomfortable delay in release of results to students after examinations.
Being determined to change the debilitating stories of the University, Professor Ikonne enthroned a system that compulsorily made those vices and shortcomings things of the past.
Knowing that no citadel of learning can be said to be worth its salt without growth in infrastructure, Professor Ikonne devoted time and resources making sure that the Institution received adequate Infrastructural attention. It is on record that the University got linked to the national grid only with the emergence of Professor Ikonne as Vice Chancellor.
Nigerian Universities have been known for students’ upheavals for various reasons. Many of the strikes end up disorganizing the Universities’ academic calendar and, therefore, avoidably prolong the scheduled duration of students in the affected Universities, which end up eating deeply into the pockets of affected parents.
Happily, Professor Ikonne, a quintessential Administrator that cherishes the strategic importance of peace, was able to deploy effective conflict resolution mechanisms to make sure there was no student disturbance all through his five years as Vice Chancellor. In the same vain, Professor Ikonne exhibited maximum labour friendliness which guaranteed a labour friendly environment all through his tenure.
The cumulative effect of Professor Ikonne’s sagacity and dexterity in his administration of Abia State University was that the University metamorphosed to be reckoned with as No. 2 in the rank of State Universities in Nigeria.
Abia State University, under Professor Ikonne as Vice Chancellor, became a globally accepted centre for learning, research and intellectual excellence.
Students that graduated from Abia State University during Professor Ikonne’s tenure are products of a combination of learning and character.
Unmistakably satisfied and gladdened that their son and brother, who broke the jinx of elusion of appointment as Vice Chancellor of Abia State University for thirty-four years, had performed exceptionally well, the people of Ukwa La Ngwa have resolved to organize a Grand Civic Reception for Professor Ikonne tomorrow Wednesday 21st April, 2021 at Ngwa High School, Aba, at 10 am.
The people of Ukwa La Ngwa will naturally roll out their drums for this uncommon Academic and Administrator whose ingenuity in the execution of his duties has added feathers to their cap and, therefore, adding to their confidence and pride.
The people of Ukwa La Ngwa wish to use this great opportunity to thank Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, for the umpteenth time, for providing the enablement that made it possible for a very honest, altruistic and transparent Academic of the Ukwa La Ngwa extraction, Professor Ikonne, to have emerged as Vice Chancellor of Abia State University.
The ceremony, which will be chaired by another illustrious Son of Ukwa La Ngwa and a former President of the Senate of Federal Republic of Nigeria, Rt Honourable Adolphus Wabara, will, as it should, have Governor Okezie Ikpeazu as Chief Guest of Honour.
All sons, daughters, wives, friends and well wishers of Ukwa La Ngwa are, by this piece, like many other forms of invitation already despatched, cordially invited to the occasion.