Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last general election, Mr. Peter Obi, has stressed the need for increased access to formal education for all Nigerians, irrespective of gender or economic status. He noted that high literacy level would create a knowledge economy that would drive positive change in national development.
Obi, who was the former Governor of Anambra State, stated this during the 25th anniversary celebration of the Students’ Union Government (SUG), Federal College of Education (Technical) Umunze, Anambra State, held recently at the Dr Alex Ekwueme Auditorium of the institution.
The colourful event, chaired by the Chairman, Orumba South LGA, Hon Raymond Onyegu, had in attendance the Chairman, 6th Governing Council of the College, Hon Philips Tatari Shekwo, his wife, Mrs Grace Larai Philips, the member representing Orumba South in Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Emmanuel Nwafor, other distinguished guests, the President General, Umunze, Chief John Akanyeonu, members of staff and students of the College.
Obi, who was the Special Guest of Honour at the event, urged tertiary institutions nationwide to remain steadfast in their commitment to providing quality teaching for students at all levels, noting that investment in knowledge yields the greatest interest. He further charged students not to derail in their mission as tomorrow’s leaders but to channel their youthful energies to the pursuit of programmes that would enhance the greatness of the nation.
Obi, represented at the event by the Dean of Social Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka and first female professor of Mass Communication in Nigeria, Prof Chinyere Stella Okunna, described education as the best legacy for a child.
The VP candidate, reputed for his huge investment in education during his eight -year tenure as governor of Anambra State, commended the management of the FCET Umunze for providing facilities and quality teaching that have impacted positively on large number of students. He frowned at the retrogressive tradition of subjecting young girls to early marriage or hawking wares on the streets during school hours. She noted that through Colleges of Education, access has been widened for girl child education and urged all parents not to deny their children the right to education.
In his keynote address, former governorship candidate in Anambra State and Chief Executive Officer, Orient Group of Companies, Mr Godwin Chukwunaenye Ezeemo, urged youths to concentrate on important issues that would build a better future for themselves and create a better society. He stressed the need for Nigerian youths to lead the campaign to end the culture of insensitive leadership and disregard for the plight of citizens in the country.
“The society in which we live needs youths who are determined to pursue a life of excellence and be able to build a good future and a sustainable legacy for themselves, their children and generations yet unborn. Crime, peer pressure, parent’s failure and corruption are the simplest diseases that have made a lot of youths to become useless today. Therefore, I encourage you to shun them all and be the best among equals, so that tomorrow, you will have a testimony for your children and the society at large,” he said.
While welcoming the special guests, the Provost, FCET Umunze, Dr Tessy Okoli, commended the peaceful unionism by the Students’ Union Government of the College and promised the support of the Management to issues that would enhance the welfare of students of the institution. She said the College would continue to invest on critical infrastructure that would enhance the quality of education and equip students with the competence required of them.
The Provost, who was represented at the event by the Deputy Provost, Dr Christopher Ugwuogo, urged the students to renew their commitment to the pursuit of academic excellence and remain shining ambassadors of the College.
Also speaking, the SUG President, Comrade Ezeabayi Stanley, said the 25th anniversary celebration provided an opportunity to celebrate past leaders of the union and as well rally support for the construction of a befitting SUG Secretariat Building, the first of its kind in the College. He said his leadership of the union has recorded landmark achievements and solicited for support of stakeholders to complete the SUG Secretariat Building, which he said would take the union to a greater height.
The climax of the event was the conferment of awards of excellence on the Chairman, 6th Governing Council, Hon Philips Tatari Shekwo, the College Provost, Dr Tessy Okoli, former Provosts of the College: Prof Titus Eze, Prof Chibogu Nnaka and Prof Josephat Okechukwu Ogbuagu, mni in recognition of their exemplary leadership of the institution.
Also, the Registrar, Dr Augustine Udensi, the Dean, Students Affairs, Mrs Roseline Ofordile and the member representing Orumba South in Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon Emmanuel Nwafor, the President General, Umunze, Chief John Akanyeonu, the pioneer SUG President of the College, Engineer Emmanuel Agudiegwu also bagged meritorious SUG awards.