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Season of joy

When UNN honoured Adeboye, Okwuosa, Chukwu, seven others at 46th convocation

From Chidi Nnadi, Enugu

When on that Monday afternoon, January 23, 2017, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Prof Benjamin Ozumba, flagged off the 46th convocation of the institution with a press conference, the students and the academics who gathered at the Enugu Campus main hall were excited as his administration was given a clean bill.

For the journalists, Prof Ozumba has done very well in the last two years he has piloted the affairs of the university.

Ozumba was accompanied by principal officers of the university, including the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration, Prof Charles Igwe; Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics, Prof James Ogbonna; Deputy Vice Chancellor, UNEC, Prof Smart Uchegbo; Librarian, Prof Chinwe Ezeani; Registrar, Chris Igbokwe; Provost, College of Medicine, Prof. Ernest Amasigwe; Chairman, Senate Ceremonials, Prof Ken Ofokansi, other professors, deans of faculties and HoDs.

That was the beginning of the ceremonies lined up for the convocation, where 12,448 graduands received various degrees. The convocation also attracted dignitaries from different parts of the country, with some of them coming to felicitate with their children, wards, friends, or as special guests of the university.

Ozumba disclosed that the university consolidated on its position in the latest Webometrics rankings, which still ranked it number one among all universities in Nigeria, saying that UNN had over 4,000 differences in citation between it and the University of Ibadan that came second:

“Having retained that enviable position consecutively for three rankings, we now consider it a privilege to remain at the top and we are not ready to abdicate that position anytime soon.”

The next day was the special convocation for the conferment of honorary degree on the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch E. Adeboye. Pastor Adeboye had gained admission into the University of Nigeria in 1963, but left in 1966 because of the civil war, making the university to find him worthy to be conferred with a Doctorate Degree in Divinity (Honoris Causa).

Excited Adeboye said: “My joy knew no bounds when it became clear to me that 50 years later, I will still go with a degree of this university, I am grateful to God and to the authorities of the University  of Nigeria.”

Then on Friday, January 27, it was time for the conferment of first degrees, certificates and diplomas. The Margaret Ekpo Convocation Arena came alive as 10,425 graduaates filed out to receive first degrees, diplomas and certificates with 94 of them bagging First Class Honours Degree.

Mr. Eke Ifeanyichukwu Emmanuel of the Department of Microbiology who emerged the best graduating student said: “As a student, I had no shoes; I did menial jobs, including photography, to survive. I thank God who crowned my efforts with good success.”

The climax of the convocation was on Saturday, January 28, which was the day for the conferment of postgraduate diplomas, higher degrees, title of professor emeritus and award of honorary degrees.

At the Postgraduate level, the university graduated 2,023 with 365 of receiving Doctor of Philosophy Degrees (PhD); 1,419, Masters Degree while 239 were awarded Postgraduate Diplomas.

On the honorary degree level, Emeka Obiora Okwuosa, chairman and CEO of Oilserv Limited, and a seasoned administrator, John Obinna Chukwu, were conferred with Doctor of Business Administration (Hon. DBA) and Doctor of Public Administration (Hon. DPA) respectively.

Besides Okwuosa and Chukwu, the seven professors who received the title of Professor Emeritus were also from the Faculty of Engineering.  They included: Prof. Anthony Okey Odukwe, Prof Samuel Onuorah Onyegegbu, Prof Francis Igboji Idike and Prof Emmanuel Uchecukwu Odigbo. Others are, Prof. W. I. Beniah Onuigbo, Prof. Benson Omeniha Oluikpe and Prof. Samuel Nnagbo Chiejina.

The Visitor to the university, President Muhammadu Buhari, represented by the Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwuka, said:

“I have noted with joy that the present Vice Chancellor, Professor Benjamin Chukwuma Ozumba, clearly understands the pedigree of the founding fathers and did not rest until the university became the first in Nigeria, the 14 in Africa, and presently enjoys an enviable and distinguishing ranking in the world.

“The special thanks are also due to the hardworking chancellor as well as the pro-chancellor and chairman of the Governing Council, members of the Governing Council, the Senate, staff and students of this university for respecting the product of visible work rather than clinging to the absurdity of invisible thoughts.”

The Chancellor of the university, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde Ogunwusi, the Ooni of Ife, charged the graduates and honorary awardees to be good ambassadors of the university, stressing that the UNN would continue to uphold its tradition of delivering quality education.

Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council, Mr Emmanuel Chukwuka Ukala (SAN) said: “Make excellence your watchword and remember always to be the stellar star in whatever environment you find yourself.” He said the economic recession in the country has presented opportunities for universities to excel in researches and innovations.

On Sunday, January 29, the curtain for the convocation was drawn with a thanksgiving service held at St. Peter’s Chaplaincy, University of Nigeria. Ozumba thanked God for the successful hosting of the convocation, expressing gratitude to members of staff and students for their cooperation.

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