By Mmaduabuchi Onwumelu
Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, COOU on Tuesday, 5th December 2023 witnessed a change of baton from Professor Greg Nwakoby who bowed out after 5 years in office, to Professor Kate Omenugha, fnipr, who was recently appointed as the Acting-Vice Chancellor of the University by the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Professor Charles Soludo.
Handing over the baton to Omenugha, a two-term Commissioner for Education in Anambra State and a Member of Governing Council of the Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations, in the presence of the Principal Officers of the University; the Deans, Directors, Heads of Departments, Prof Nwakoby expressed gratitude to God for allowing him to serve out his tenure in one piece, noting that he was able to surmount all the insurmountable and also cleared all enormous challenges he met on ground.
Prof. Nwakoby, a Professor of Law, stated that he was able to bequeathed to his successor, what he didn’t get from his predecessor, noting that his predecessor handed over to him by proxy, through his secretary and that was it, adding that he was happy that he was handing over to Prof. Omenugha by himself, leaving the university in a far better position than he met it at the time he took over.
He narrated that when he assumed, the first problem that confronted him was the problem of salary payment. “When I came here, the first problem that confronted us was the problem of payment of salaries”, he said.
The out-gone Vice Chancellor charged the Management and staff of COOU to work and cooperate with Prof Omenugha, saying that he was sure that Vice Chancellor would deliver and that her capability and capacity was never in doubt, adding that he was well aware of the fact that she would move the institution forward beyond what he has done.
Speaking shortly after receiving the baton, Professor Omenugha, the second female Professor of Mass Communication in Nigeria, thanked Prof Nwakoby for his resilience and courage, saying that she would want to tap from his grace.
“After listening to such a wonderful speech by the immediate past Vice Chancellor, what more can I say? I am really a child of grace and I know it. It is such a privilege to take over from such a great man.
“‘Honestly, listening to you was so empowering. While I am not new to some of the perspectives you shared, the eloquence and lucidity of your delivery made it so clear that I could literally feel the pains; I could feel the journey and I could feel the triumph. It’s that triumph that I’m holding on to, for us all. And that’s what’s most important after all. You’ve laid a very solid foundation and we have every reason to succeed.
He has said it all. It is God that enthrones and power belongs to God. God chooses who to bless in his time. It is God who chooses a leader at different times.
“We will run an inclusive government. All of us who wanted to be Vice Chancellor had well articulated, beautiful and brilliant concepts on moving this University forward. We please ask them to bring those ideas onboard.
“As former President Buhari would say, ‘I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody.’ In all my working life, I have always prioritized competence above all else. Since my appointment was announced, many well-meaning individuals and groups have reached out to me via different channels.
“Honestly, I felt loved and it is my hope that the love will endure. I am open to your ideas, put them forward and be proud to do so. What’s most important is that we are driven by a common cause which is the progress of this University. Those we can drive will be implemented and for those we are unable to execute, we’ll solicit support from the right authorities.
“Please, do not extort our students. Avoid all forms of bribery and corruption. In this respect, I will be most decisive and forceful. We need to rebrand our University. This rebranding will require intensive reorientation which we must all commit to.
“Enthroning an academic mindset in this institution has never been more urgent. Like Mr. Governor, Prof Soludo would say ‘ours is an agenda with a deadline.’ More so, encouraging a culture of novel ideas and creativity will open up new and gainful prospects. We will navigate towards grants and other legitimate opportunities for academic progression.
“‘I share in the ideology of my predecessor that rather than dissipating energy in rancour and complaints, we’d galvanize our efforts for the accelerated progress of our University.
“As we meet professors tomorrow, our task will be simple and yet decisive as we brainstorm and develop a collective and common vision. Together, we will ideate and create the vision and jointly, we will drive that vision to build the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University of our dreams”, she concluded.
The member representing Idemili South State Constituency, Barr. Ebuka Igwe, member representing Anambra East State Constituency in the Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Obi Nweke, the Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR, Anambra State Chapter, Professor Angela Nwammuo, Special Adviser to the Governor on Youth Empowerment, Dr. Nelson Omenugha, Hon. Comrade Peter Nwosu, the CEO, Jolly Jolly Noodles, Chief Ikenna Ifejiofor, the National President of ASATU ( Youth Wing), Comrade Ken Okoli, APGA’s Publicity Secretary, Mofus (Orimmili Nando) were among that attended the historic event.
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