Home / Education / Uzodimma endows Chair at UNN, urges Universities to lead way for a new Nigeria
Gov. Hope Uzodimma of Imo State

Uzodimma endows Chair at UNN, urges Universities to lead way for a new Nigeria

The pursuit of learning and research at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka was given a boost on Thursday as the Governor of Imo State, Sen. Hope Uzodimma endowed a Chair in the Political Science Department of the Social Science Faculty, just as he challenged Nigerian universities to lead the way for a new Nigeria.

The endowment to be called “Hope Uzodimma Chair for good governance and civic responsibility” is in sync with the content of the 52nd Convocation Lecture of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka which Governor Uzodimma delivered at the Princess Alexandra Auditorium on Thursday.

The theme was: “Why Universities Should Lead the Way to a New Nigeria.”

One time Governor of old Imo State, who was also a Foreign Affairs minister and Senator, General Ike Nwachuku (rtd) was the Chairman of the UNN 52nd Convocation Lecture which had in attendance, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu and the Chancellor of the University, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, among other dignitaries.

Governor Uzodimma challenged the Nigerian Universities to rise up to their expected role of leading the way for a new Nigeria, taking up their leadership and innovative roles, and contributing to the all round development of the country, the way it is done by their counterparts in other parts of the world.

He congratulated the graduands of the prestigious university despite the challenges they faced and advised them to roar into the world to make a difference.

As Governor Uzodimma rounded off with his lecture, he announced the endowment of the Chair as part of his contribution to advance the course of erudition and research at the first indigenous University of Nigeria even as urged the UNN to lead the way towards Nigeria’s rebirth.

He reminded his audience that Universities all over the world are known as centres of learning and excellence and that the society looks up to them for guidance and learning, and advised the students and all faculties of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka to be ambassadors of truth.

Governor Uzodimma disclosed that he carefully chose the topic for the lecture taking into account what will best align with the current mood of the nation, and considering also, that the University is the brewer of fresh ideas.

His lecture brought to the fore what roles Universities play, through research and scientific inventions in the economic development of nations and more importantly, why the Universities in Nigeria must do the same. He challenged Nigeria’s Universities to assume the role of drivers of social change and lead the way to a new Nation.

“A recent study on the economic impact of the University of California got me thinking on how we can improve the economic impact of our own universities. In the report, the University of California was described as an essential economic engine for the State of California, contributing about 82 billion U.S dollars annually, to the economic output of the State.”

Governor Uzodimma posited that Nigerian Universities should not only provide high level manpower for national development, but should also produce disciplined and well cultured graduates, adding that, “Universities must certify that their students are of good character before graduating them.”

“It is not in doubt, the role Universities should play, is to serve as the compass to lead the society to technological breakthrough and informed leadership. Our own Universities must lead us to the new Nigeria of our dreams, especially in technology and governance.”

Governor Uzodimma reeled out names of Nigerians, most of them graduates of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka who are making waves globally in their chosen fields and posited that Nigerian Universities can be part of that great change agent for a new country of our dream.

He suggested that the Universities must key into the new ways of smart and digital learning processes that help to produce skilled manpower that cannot only be exported but help to drive development and competitiveness locally.

“There is no doubt that the future surely holds great prospect for Nigeria’s digital economy when all our higher education institutions are transformed into smart universities imbued with the knowledge base and competitive edge to match their contemporaries in other parts of the world,” he said.

He added: “I dream of a time when new political and economic theories will emerge from our lecture rooms and scientific discoveries and revolutions are announced in our laboratories. A time when our campuses become places where ideas are hatched, where new theories are examined and where new philosophies are debated. In this University of my dream, young adults should be nurtured and turned into thinkers, innovators, analysts, dreamers and sceptics.”

Governor Uzodimma decried some of the maladies that go on in the Universities today that impede our dream of Universities as agents of development and insisted that deployment of sanctions could go a long way in helping to save the situation.

To improve the ability of Nigerian Universities to play the roles expected of them, Governor Uzodimma proposed the following: establishment of ICT centres in all Universities and possibly, in both Secondary and Primary schools; strengthening the law establishing the Nigerian Universities Commission; empowering Universities to be able to withdraw the certificate of any of their graduates indicted in any form of criminality or corruption.

Others include: De-robing and withdrawal of all certificates of any lecturer indicted in any form of corruption, sexual assault or any other form misdemeanour while similar faith should be visited on University authorities who misappropriate funds meant for research and administration.

His words: “If you are wondering why I am insisting that our Universities must lead us to the new Nigeria of our dream, it is because I see the Universities as the sculptors, while Nigeria is the rock. The sculptor owes it as a duty to mould the rock into a monument to behold. In truth, there is no alternative to the pivotal role of Universities in our country and indeed every country.

“So, the path forward requires a collective effort, s shared vision and a commitment to excellence. It is time to invest in our Universities to prioritise research and innovation. In addition, we must creat an enabling environment for our students to thrive and ensure they are equipped with the skills, knowledge and character necessary to contribute to the development of our nation.

“Yes, the Nigeria of our dream is possible and it starts with our Universities. As Nigeria’s first indigenous University, this new or revised consciousness should start here at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.”,

In his remarks, Chairman of the Convocation Lecture, General Ike Nwachukwu (rtd) said “Universities, as bastion of knowledge and innovation, have a crucial role to play in leading Nigeria towards a brighter and more prosperous future.”

He said, “since Universities are homes of research and development, through cutting edge research and innovation, they have the capacity to address some of Nigeria’s most pressing issues in all sectors, including insecurity.”

While welcoming the dignitaries who accompanied the UNN 52nd Convocation lecturer to the occasion, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Charles Igwe said Convocation Lecture requires that the lecturer is carefully chosen and invited to speak on topics of national and global interest.

Prof Igwe said Governor Uzodimma fitted the mould as a two term Senator, serving Governor in his second term in office, Chairman of Progressives Governors’ Forum, Chairman of South East Governors’ Forum and a detribalised Nigerian with huge appetite for service. He thanked the Governor for honouring the request by the University to share his experience with them and the public.

Adding his voices, both the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi and Chief Iwuanyanwu lauded the delivery of the topic by Governor Uzodimma and promised to facilitate the distribution in different parts of the country.

The Deputy Governor of Imo State, Lady Chinyere Ekomaru, the Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Chike Olemgbe, his Deputy, Rt Hon. Amara Chyna Iwuanyanwu, former Governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, serving and former Ministers, Commissioners, Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmos Iwu, Chief of Staff, Barr Nnamdi Anyaehie, and other top government officials attended the lecture.

Also in attendance were ranking traditional rulers from Imo State and beyond, captains of industry, All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains from the South East; women, youth and student groups.


About Global Patriot Staff

Check Also

UN General Assembly President, Mr. Dennis Francis to undertake official visit to Republic of Singapore

New York, 15 July 2024 The President of the United Nations General Assembly (PGA), His …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *