BY VINCENT UJUMADU, Awka
THE Orodje of Okpe Kingdom in Delta State, HRM Orhue I, was last week installed the Chancellor of theAnambraStateUniversity, Uli at an impressive ceremony attended by many academicians and traditional rulers from various parts of the country.
The Orodje was also awarded hanonorary doctorate degree in law, LL.D of the university, along with the former Registrar of the West African Examinations Council, WAEC, and traditional ruler of Ndikelionwu in Anambra State, Professor Chukwuemeka Ike and former vice chancellor of University of Port Harcourt, Professor Sylvanus Cookie whose award was received by his son, Sylvanus Cookie Jr.
The impressive ceremony also witnessed the conferment of bachelors and higher degrees to about 2000 persons who completed their studies in the institution.
The Orodje, who performed his first assignment as the Chancellor of the institution after his installation by the Pro-chancellor of the university, Professor Elochukwu Amaucheazi, expressed gratitude to Governor Peter Obi, who is the Visitor to the university, for finding him worthy and credible to be appointed the chancellor.
He said: “I give God the glory for the privilege of the consideration by the university authority and approval of the appointment by the Visitor to the university, Mr. Peter Obi.
I feel particularly honoured to address this unique convocation in my capacity as the Chancellor. It is also with great pride and high sense of humility and personal fulfillment that I stand before you to perform my first official function at this very colourful ceremony.”
After speeches by the vice chancellor, the pro-chancellor and the governor, the new chancellor, to the delight of the mammoth audience, admitted over 2000 persons who had completed their post- graduate and undergraduate studies, as graduates of Anambra State University.
The Orodje said: “Today’s event ushers in another phase in the history of development of this university as it witnesses the fourth convocation ceremony for the conferment of degrees on deserving students of the university, who have been found worthy in character and learning.
My perception of education is that it helps in liberating the mind, expanding horizon, developing potentials and dismantling myopic thoughts and undue individualism.
“It is through education and all its attendant advantages that made it possible for Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, an illustrious indigene ofAnambraState, to liberate his mind from myopic ideas and undue individualism.
The great Zik saw and developed the bigger and larger map of social and growth ofNigeriaand indeedAfrica.
To the graduates, by your learning and experience, we expect you to turn yourselves to activities of a new socio-political order through the quality of your thought processes, your exemplary conduct and the nobility of your deeds. It is my humble belief and ardent prayer that the mission and vision of this institution on the Nigerian project are achievable in Jesus name –Amen.”
Governor Peter Obi had during a courtesy call on him by the Orodje at the Governor’s Lodge in Awka, before the convocation, said the choice of the Orhue 1 for the position of Chancellor of the university was because of his credibility. Indeed, the search for a credible replacement for the former Chancellor of the university, Eze Clifford Nwuche, the Igbu Ukpata 11 of Ahoada Kingdom in Rivers State, who joined his ancestors last year, took Anambra State government and authorities of the university over two years.
Names pencilled for chancellorship
Many names were put forward, including those the governor knew and did not know and eventually when the name of Orodje of Okpe Kingdom was mentioned, Governor Obi knew that he had found the right person. He thereafter sent his commissioner for education, Dr. Uju Okeke and the vice chancellor of the university, Professor Fidelis Okafor to Okpe Kingdom to “beg him to accept the nomination.”
The governor told the Orodje: “For two years, we have been searching for a credible replacement for our former Chancellor, the late Eze Nwuche fromRiversState. To me, the Chancellor of a university should be somebody who merits it. Your choice was not based on any bias. Rather, it was those who were very credible in the society that recommended you. Your choice is to help us reshape the university and bring it to limelight and we therefore want you to use your wealth of experience to build a better university. As your son, I will always welcome your advice.”
The visitor to the university, Governor Obi, who was elated at the calibre of personalities the Orodje attracted to the convocation ceremony, promised to increase the tempo of infrastructural development at the two campuses of the university at Igbariam and Uli. According to him, the investment to be witnessed in the university in the next one year would make it one of the best in the country.