By Vincent Ujumadu
AWKA — IT was indeed a day of glory for the second republic governor of the old Anambra State, Chief Jim Ifeanychukwu Nwobodo at the 8thConvocation ceremony of the Anambra State –owned Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam where he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by the institution. Accompanying Nwobodo to receive the award were who-is –who in Enugu State, led by the Enugu State governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who arrived with a large number of aides.
Others in Nwobodo’s entourage include former Minister of Power, Professor Bart Nnaji, former Minister of Interior, Chief Dubem Onyia, Senator Azu Agboti, Senator Anthony Agbo, Senator Osita Izunaso, who is the national organizing secretary of All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr. Emma Enenkwu, the national vice chairman of APC, Dr. George Moghalu, national auditor of APC and the party’s governorship aspirant in the November 18, 2017 election, Mr. Hyacinth Ngwu, the APC publicity secretary for the South East and Lolo Queen Nwankwo, the party’s woman leader.
Environment for learning
Others were Chief Gbazueagu Nweke Gbazueagu, a former governorship aspirant in the old Anambra State and a chieftain of APC, Major General Sunday Ugwu (rtd), Chief Eugene Eneh, Sir Edward Nkwegwu, Dr. Ben Nwoye, Enugu State chairman of APC, Chief Gogo Nwakuche and his wife and Professor Manny Aniebonam, president of AFRIHUB.
The clergy was led by Monsignor Nwamadi, who represented the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Reverend Callistus Onaga, while the traditional rulers present were Nwobodo’s Monarch, Igwe Ogbodo Okorie of Amechi Awkunawnaw and Igwe Greg Ugwu, of Attakwu Akegbe.
Nwobodo said he was happy to be recognized by a university named after the great Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, adding that the award had given him an opportunity to associate with the alumni of the university.
He said: “It is our hope that this university will create enabling environment for learning and research where the products would be equipped and empowered to contribute to the growth of our society and country. We all know the power of education and its transformative impact on the lives of individuals, family and communities. Education is the foundation of any development and for this reason, we call on governments at all levels, alumni and communities to invest heavily in education as a means of gaining employment, creating wealth, raising the standards of living and escaping poverty. It is the surest way to empower the next generation.”
Going down memory lane, Nwobodo recalled that he founded the then Anambra State University of Technology, ASUTECH, with multi campuses in Abakaliki, Awka and Nnewi, expressing happiness that all the campuses had metamorphosed to three independent universities namely, Enugu State University of Technology, ESUTH, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, UNIZIK, and Ebonyi State University, EBSU. As a former teacher, Nwobodo said that being in a school environment usually gave him a nostalgic feeling, adding that he still had fond memories of his time in the classroom.
He also said that Anambra, being his original state, the award by a university in the state meant so much to him and promised to assist the institution in any way possible
The vice chancellor of the university, Professor Fidelis Okafor said Nwobodo was recognized in appreciation to the giant strides he made as the governor of old Anambra State and had continued to contribute to the development of Nigeria in other capacities, including serving as a senator and a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The vice chancellor also recalled that the greatest period of the famous Rangers International Football Club of Enugu was when Nwobodo served as its chairman and recalled that his footprints were noticeable in all parts of the old Anambra State, which presently comprise of three states of Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi.
After being decorated by the vice chancellor of university, the pro chancellor, Professor Chendo, Mrs. Nwobodo and the governor of Enugu State, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the ceremony shifted to the country home of Senator Ndii Obi, the secretary of the caretaker committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. The attendance at the reception also expanded to include the traditional ruler of Awka Kingdom, Obi Gibson Nwosu and many titled men in Awka. Members of the APC, PDP and APGA also attended in great numbers and their common language was how to make the Igbo nation great politivally and economically.
Though Nwobodo belongs to the APC, he made it clear during the reception hosted by Obi that his interest was how to unite the Igbo, irrespective of their political leanings.
“Igbo must unite. We have to work hard to get the heart of our people, irrespective of the political party they belong to. The problem we have in Igbo land is that we do not love ourselves. We don’t even respect our leaders. There is no reason for Igbo to be quarreling among themselves and we pray that God will give us someone who will unite us.”
Various speakers at the reception eulogized Nwobodo for his contributions towards the development of Igbo land. Senator Obi said Nwobodo, as governor, left a great landmark in many parts of the old Anambra State and recalled that he made politics an interesting game during his period.