By Jude Atupulazi
An intelligentsia group across universities in Southeast and South-South, under the aegis of Academic Democrats last weekend unanimously restated their resolve to work for the Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and his running mate, Mr Peter Obi, in the 2019 general elections.
In an enlarged meeting and Banquet at GeoGold Hotels, Awka, the Academic Democrats ratified its national executive and state executives, with Dr Chinedu Onyeizugbe as the national coordinator. There were three coordinating committee in each of the states in the two zones.
The intellectuals from the universities also agreed to mobilize other intellectuals in all the Polytechnics and Colleges of Education, as well as other tertiary institutions in the two zones, with their students, to support the PDP candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Mr Peter Obi.
The intellectuals said they had assessed the policies and manifestoes of the political parties in the forthcoming presidential election, vis-à-vis the clamouring for restructuring, as well as government and detribalization, among others, and resolved to galvanize intellectuals under the aegis of Academic Democrats to come out and identify with the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party.
Speaker after speaker, including Prof Eugene Nweke, Prof Robert Dode, Prof. D. C Njoku, Dr George Atelle and Dr Philip Imokhai, as well as Prof Stella Chinyere Okunna; Prof Jude Udeh; Prof Emenike Obi; Prof Uche Nwogwugwu, among others, maintained that intellectuals must take a stand and support Atiku and Obi for a better democratic Nigeria.
Earlier in his address as the convener, Dr Chinedu Onyeizugbe reminded them that the role of intellectuals in nation building could not be over emphasized, since, according to him, it was a known fact that lecturers contributed their quota through research and teaching to produce best brains that improved every aspect of the economy.
He said the leadership of the nation was not an exception to the reach of the lecturers as a significant number of government functionaries and leaders passed through the formation process in the Ivory Tower with expectations of being moulded in character and in learning.
His words: ”No matter how much we can do by ourselves as academics through research and development, it is never enough if we don’t participate in electing our leaders and the running of the government by providing our services from the pool of our specializations. Our collective commitment to this project as representatives from various states in South South and Southeast will yield a positive result and make our voice and concerns heard in the spirit of cooperation, democracy, competence and inclusivity in governance.
‘The task ahead is not all that simple. It is our belief that by the end of our dialogue today, we will have a clear picture of our mission and the need to mobilize our members en masse for the task of ensuring that the labours of our heroes in the past shall not be in vain.’