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August 29, 2022

Chief Ikechi Emenike is an epitome of indelible legacies as a Pro Chancellor

Chief Ikechi Emenike is an epitome of indelible legacies as a Pro Chancellor

By Ikechukwu Odu

Success in life is not for those who run fast, but for those who keep running and always on the move. For Chief Ikechi Emenike, his seven months on the saddle as the Pro Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council at the nation’s premium university, the University of Nigeria is full of legacies which one could hardly believe were accomplished within a short period of time. No wonder, the Bible aptly stated that the “people rejoice when the righteous is on the throne.”

Associates, members of the Governing Council, the Management, staff and students as well as well-wishers who encountered Chief Emenike, as the Pro Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, are full of uncommon verdicts for his steadwardship and transparent leadership qualities.

In terms of infrastructural turn around, his touches on sensitive projects which hitherto lacked in the institution can best be described as magic wand.

According to some staff and records of the University, Emenike’s first activity in the University was to visit students hostels to ascertain the condition in which students lived and proffer solutions to their accommodation problems. He invited students to address the University Council on their living conditions in the hostels. Workers in the Council unit, said that such invitation never happened in the recent history of the University.

The act, according to some workers in the Council unit of the University, brought tangible fruits to the students. The result of the interface between the Council and the students was the restoration of Internet  to the hostels and the on-going construction of perimeter fence around the female hostels, which is aimed at securing the female students from intruders.

It was his administrative ingenuity which attracted a ground breaking grant of five Billion naira to the University through TETFUND to enable the University construct a Senate building.  He championed, pursued, and attracted the fund. This was after he lamented that the University, which was established for over five decades ago is yet without a Senate Building.

 Before Emenike was appointed the Pro-Chancellor of the University, UNN was the only First Generation University in Nigeria without a Senate Building. Report has it that one of the actions Emenike took during his first Council meeting was to request for the architectural design of the Senate building.

 The University administration, had before his emergence as the  Pro Chancellor, expressed hopelessness in achieving the project because of the huge amount required to construct the building, especially given the dwindling funding of the Universities.

However, Chief Emenike surprised the entire Council members in the subsequent Council meeting when he announced that he has attracted five billion naira to finance the Senate Building. It is reported that the Vice-Chancellor led the entire Council members in very long standing ovation for the Chairman. It is important to note that the amount represents the highest amount the University has ever attracted or received from any one source in one swoop in the history of the University.  It also represents the highest amount the federal government approved for any University in a swoop within the calendar year. 

It is on record that Emenike laid the foundation of the building on 7th March, 2022 in the company of the Vice-Chancellor, University management staff, and members of the Council. The grant has even gone beyond approval, as the fund has been released by TETFUND and  in a stage of procurement now.

Chief Emenike was equally very instrumental in fast tracking the release of the money, and that was even when he had resigned as the Pro-Chancellor of the University.

According to a top University staff, this shows how much he loves the University and wants it to grow. He said “UNN will have a Senate building all because the breeze of Ikechi Emenike , albeit shortly, on UNN. What a great achievement of High Chief Ikechi Emenike in UNN within his short stay as the Pro-chancellor.”

In terms of policies,  one of his very first concerns, as the Pro-Chancellor, was how to make the University generate sufficient funds to tackle her many challenges without depending on the Federal Government.

To achieve this, he enabled the creation of the Directorate of Endowment and also set up an advisory committee to advise the Council and the University on how to increase the University’s internally generated revenue. Although the composition and terms of reference of the committee generated some concerns, they were resolved and the committee is currently finalizing their report to submit to the Council.

A member of the Council,  also narrated how the Chairman facilitated a high level delegation of the University to the Chinese Embassy, and the enormous fruits the visit is expected to yield, including grants to students. According to the source, the funds that are meant to be raised are to be used in addressing the numerous challenges the University is facing, which he, the former Pro-Chancellor observed after his tour of the three campuses of the University.

 Emenike’s short tenure addressed and to the benefits of the staff, some age long problems that previous Councils of the University had failed to address. Within his short stay in the office, secretarial staff, who used to stop at Level 12 was elongated to Level 14, and affected staff immediately promoted. One of the affected staff, who pleaded for anonymity, expressed so much joy, saying “God should elevate this man, the way he just did for us.” He said his promotion letter to Level 14, came almost 10 years of being stagnated on Level 12.

Career elongation was fast tracked for staff of the Student Affairs after it was observed that part of their poor working attitude in the hostels is attributable to their stagnation at level 12.

One of the Hall Supervisors confirmed the matter and equally showered praises on Emenike. In his words ” I wanted him to stay here because if he could lead the Council to approve this for us within this short period, we could have gotten more things from his Council, but God knows the best and may God bless and elevate him the way he aided our elevation.”

 It is on record that Emenike’s Council did not dillydally on issues of staff promotions and welfare as many Professors and non-academic directors were promoted during his short stay. In fact, investigation shows that the current Ag. Registrar of the University is one of the beneficiaries of Emenike’s led Councils promotion of Deputy Registrars and Deputy Bursars to the rank of Directors.

His efforts towards the development of UNN did not stop at official level. He equally made personal donations to the University within his short period of stay there. The Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University, Dr. Samuel Nwatu, confirmed that he made personal donation to the Faculty  to help in the ongoing refurbishing and environmental reconstruction.  It was further observed that the name of the former Pro-Chancellor has been inscripted on the Faculty’s Hall of Fame, specifically dedicated for donors to the Faculty.

The foregoing highlights of Emenike’s achievement in the University within seven months of stay, is clearly a demonstration of his astuteness in administrative matters.

However, despite these outstanding records, some fifth columnists who lack adequate knowledge of the role of the various university organs and who are out to malign and taint the excellent records of this administrator, have resorted to campaign of calumny against his person.

Whereas the Council superintends and discharges oversight functions on the University finances, personnel, and assets, with emphasis on making policies around these issues for the good governance of the University, the  Vice-Chancellor is the Chief Executive Officer of the University, charged with the day-to-day running of the institution. It appears that in trying to malign the former Pro-Chancellor, the hirelings seem to have attributed the duties of the University Administration, led by the Vice-Chancellor to the Pro-Chancellor. 

Therefore, one might rephrase, for instance, that the fifth columnist who claimed that Emenike failed to tackle sex for marks, poor electricity and water supply, sorting of courses, unhygienic hostels and unnecessary interference with the SUG, could be indirectly attacking the Vice-Chancellor, who is also the Chairman of the Senate, which is actually the organ specifically assigned with the responsibility for the day-to-day management of the students welfare.

Some staff who were pained by the activities of the hirelings said that they were after his aspiration to lead Abia as the next Governor. They said that the hirelings were the ” handiwork of political mischief makers,” describing their actions as ” irresponsible, malicious, and ill-conceived.”

 The Abia- born  administrator whose light will forever shine in the UNN is like an eagle who would continue to soar to greater heights.