Governor Hope Uzodimma has said that his administration will do all that is needful to help the Imo State University, Owerri, fulfill noble expectation of rising to the challenge of assuming greater responsibility to move the state forward.
The Governor spoke in his capacity as the Visitor of Imo State University during the 8th convocation ceremony which held at the convocation ground in Owerri on Saturday.
No less than 5000 graduands comprising first degrees, post graduate diplomas, higher degrees and honorary degrees from 2014- 2015 set up to 2022-2022 set which produced 30 first class graduates were convoked.
Governor Uzodimma took time to explain why his government set up the Professor Chinedu Nebo visitation panel that carried out far reaching investigations into the state of the University prior to his assuming office in 2020, noting that the institution is now on the part of reckoning for academic competitiveness, scholarship and lofty achievements.
The Governor lauded the efforts of the new management of the University headed by the Vice Chancellor, Prof U.U. Chukwumaeze, to key into his dream and that of the founding fathers of the institution to make it a destination of choice for academic research, ideas generation and knowledge creation.
“Let me use this occasion to enjoin the management to continue to work hard to instill the efficiency and all-round discipline that is required to move the university forward,” he said.
He promised that his administration will continue to support the University to realise its set objectives.
His words: “Imo State government under my watch considers education as a fundamental investment in our drive towards development. There is no limit to what our society can achieve through a properly structured and result-oriented educational programme.”
In congratulating the graduands and their families, Governor Uzodimma charged them to be true ambassadors of the University, being responsible enough to keep the light that had been enkindled in them in the institution ever burning.
“Go forth and illuminate new paths, for Nigeria, for Imo State, for the Imo State University and for your respective families. Remember that Imo people are looking up to you to be good ambassadors. You must not fail them.”
Governor Uzodimma charged the graduands to pursue everything noble, shunning crimes and criminality wherever they exist.
He also told the audience that the perceived insecurity in the state is politically-contrived and reiterated his earlier call on those responsible for such to have a rethink over their wicked acts.
To encourage academic excellence and scholarship among the students, Governor Uzodimma announced a back-dated automatic employment for all the best graduating students covering the period culminating to the 8th convocation ceremony as well as for the best graduating student of the University each year going forward.
He also announced to the admiration of the management and staff, his administration’s intention to pay by March ending, 2023, the “salary of February 2020, which was a result of the mismanagement of the previous administration of the University.”
Earlier in their different remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Chukwumaeze, thanked the visitor profusely for all the support his administration had extended to the University.
“With a heart filled with joy, I welcome you, Your Excellency, to the University’s convocation arena. I also use this opportunity to underscore your repeated demonstration beyond mere words of how close this University is to your heart. Your abiding interest in the affairs of the University, your generous funding of its projects even in the face and defiance of the downturn in the world economy; your regular payment of salaries and many other sundry gestures aimed at transforming Imo State University to a world class university are dearly appreciated.”
On his part, the Pro-Chancellor of the University, Ernest Nwapa recalled that Imo State Government is one of only a few proprietors of public universities that consistently paid staff salaries during the eight-month long strike of university- based unions in Nigeria, noting that the credit goes to the visitor of the University.
Nwapa said his council, in conjunction with the visitor, is developing a world class master plan in partnership with the alumni and public spirited individuals to reposition the University for Academic Excellence in line with the world best practices.
He also thanked the University Council, the Senate and management for the wonderful work they are doing in repositioning the school.
The Chancellor of the University, Innocent Chukwuma highly commended Governor Uzodimma as the visitor for what he called “his obvious love of the University.”
Chukwuma said: “I trust that love would continue to grow and yield more fruits. For my part, I am mindful of my expected responsibilities to help this university achieve the vision of the founding fathers: excellence and service. My humble promise is that I will continue to give all that is within my capacity to ensure the full realisation of that vision.”
The highpoint of the convocation was the conferment of honorary doctorate degrees on select Nigerians who have contributed immensely to the course of humanity.
They include, former Governor of Anambra State, Dame Virgy Etiaba, Oliver Alawuba, Chika Emenike and Simbi Wabote.
Among the dignitaries who graced the occasion were the Deputy Governor, Placid Njoku, Minister of State, Education, Goodluck Opia, the Minister of State, Mines, Ikoh, former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, Secretary to the Government of Imo State, Cosmas Iwu, Chief of Staff to Governor, Nnamdi Anyaehie, ranking monarchs led by Eze Imo, HRM E C Okeke, and many more.