The governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, acted out his passion for viable student unionism in the country as he announced the plan of his government to donate a Students’ Union Centre (SUC) to his Alma Mater, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
The governor announced the gesture at the Princess Alexandra Unity Hall and Theatre, the venue for the 55th Founders’ Day Lecture, making the jubilant students of the university, who had yearned for a befitting student union centre sing the governor’s praises.
On completion, the proposed centre would provide the Student Union Government (SUG) a venue where its members would comfortably deliberate on policies of student welfare and also begin the process of learning leadership.
While delivering the 55th Founders Day Lecture entitled; “Legislation as an Instrument for Social Justice in a Growing Democracy,” Governor Ugwuanyi broadened the knowledge of the university dons as well as other members of the audience as he demonstrated his legislative knowledge.
He stated that social justice remains the panacea for our society that has become theatre of conflicts of various dimension spawned by various reason such as lack of access to life-chances, discrimination, lack of inclusion, restrictive market to mention but a few.
Quoting Chapter 11 (13 – 21) of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, he said that the constitution has provided for equitable representation of all the component units of the federation.
“The composition of the government of the federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few state or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that government or in any of its agencies,” he said.
He also said that economic growth is an essential component of development but without a deliberate policy focus on equity and social justice, there would be society-wide deprivations of the individuals.
The governor, therefore, called on the legislature to make laws that would guarantee social justice as well as to impeach serving government functionaries with corrupt tendencies.
Earlier, in an address, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Professor Benjamin Chukwuma Ozumba, thanked the governor for finding time to honour his invitation as the Founders Day lecturer despite his busy schedules.
He stated that the university, which had a humble beginning of 220 students, 13 members of the academic staff and few utilitarian buildings can now boast of over 30,000 students, approximately 2,000 staff strength and wonderful structures scattered in her different campuses, pointing out that his administration would always promote the dreams of the founding fathers, anchored on the initiatives of late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe which is geared towards the restoration of the dignity of man.
He further stated that his administration is working tooth and nail to return the university to her glory days through promotion of impact-based research, and encouragement of staff to embark on research through cash enticement.
“This administration went into the task of improving the rating of the institution with seriousness. It went into the promotion of impact-based research, and encouraged staff through cash reward and sponsorship of conferences and lectures in different parts of the world. In the governor’s consortium, the University of Nigeria is second in Nigeria and thirteenth in Africa. I assure you without fear of contradiction that the next ranking will be great joy to our stakeholders,” he promised.
The Chairman of the occasion, Chief John Nnia Nwodo (Jnr) was all praises for the governor. He disclosed that he has made history by being the first governor of the state to deliver Founders’ Day lecture since the inception of the university in 1960.
He equally praised the efforts of the Vice Chancellor in encouraging research in the institution, stressing that, that is the only way to truly restore the dignity of man.