Management of newly renamed “Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike Ikwo (AE-FUNAI) in Ebonyi said on Saturday that the retention of the word ‘Federal’ in the new name of the institution, was an honour worthy of celebration.
In a statement issued by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba, and made available to News Agency of Nigerian (NAN), the institution commended the Federal Government for the gesture.
NAN reports that Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, pronounced the renaming of the institution on Friday at Oko, Anambra, during the burial ceremony of the late statesman.
Nwajiuba said that the gesture was a privilege because other Federal-Government-owned institutions bearing names of great Nigerians never had the symbolic ‘Federal’ ascribed to their names.
“We love the acronym FUNAI and its sound. Our anthem and all our songs remain as we sing them with the infusion of AE-FUNAI.
“Unlike other federal universities named after persons, ours is the only one with the word ‘federal’ retained.
“Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), among others, are all federal universities, but do not have ‘federal’ in their names,” he said.
He therefore called for understanding among stakeholders over the controversy trailing the renaming of the institution, especially with Ekwueme hailing from Anambra.
“We all should be at peace with this development and be excited if we truly understand it.
“Those who argue that the Federal Polytechnic Oko, Anambra, where Ekwueme hailed from, should be renamed after him are not familiar with protocols and rankings in governance.
“For those who argue that the polytechnic be upgraded to a university and be renamed after Ekwueme, the Federal Government is reluctant to have two federal universities in a state.
“The 12 universities with such simple names as ‘Federal Universities’ are bound to be renamed at some time and if not Ekwueme in the southeast, who is more accomplished?,” he queried.
He noted that with Ekwueme’s iconic status in Igboland and Nigeria, the respect the name would attract to the university had made the renaming more befitting.
He described Ekwueme as an icon who lazed the trail in academics, business and politics, laying the foundation for the dynamics of modern politics currently experienced in the country.
NAN recalls that Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi, on Friday welcomed the renaming of the institution after Ekwueme.