By Uche Amunike
The former presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2019 elections, Mr. Peter Obi, has compared Nigeria to a vehicle with a knocked engine, insisting that Nigerians should devote more of their energy towards fixing the engine than seeking or concentrating their energy on who becomes the driver.
Obi made these remarks last Wednesday during the public presentation of “Communication and Media Studies”, a book edited by the former Dean of the Department of Social Sciences and former Commissioner for Economic Planning, as well as first female Professor of Mass Communication in sub-Saharan Africa, Prof. Chinyere Stella Okunna, at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.
Obi, who was the Guest of Honour at the event, said that people like Prof. Okunna who were contributing to the advancement of knowledge should be encouraged. Noting that the world today was knowledge-driven, he described as disgusting, a situation, as obtained in Nigeria, where political thugs and diverse rascals got rewarded more than professors and researchers.
His words: ‘Today, nobody recognizes academics nor are they invited for meetings on how to deepen knowledge in the country; yet, every day we hear of meetings with kidnappers and bandits.’
All the speakers took turns in eulogizing the book, as well as its editor, Prof. Okunna, for her devotion to scholarship. Leading, the traditional ruler of Igbakwu, Prof. Onuorah Nwuneli, described Okunna as imbued with an analytical mind.
In his own remarks, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Charles Okey Esimone, who purchased some copies of the book for the University, described Prof. Okunna as an accomplished scholar whose love for excellence was inspiring. He said that people like her were useful towards achieving his vision of making the university among the best 200 in the world. He described the book as rich and scholarly, and encouraged other lecturers to engage in mentorship of the young ones as Prof. Okunna was known.
The chairman of the occasion, Prof. Joseph Ikechebelu, who is also the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration, described Prof Stella Chinyere Okunna as one of the eminent professors that had given name to Nnamdi Azikiwe University. She commended her work and assured on the readiness of the University to start exporting knowledge to all the parts of the world.
Reviewing the book, Prof. Nnamdi Ekeanyanwu, who described Prof. Okunna as a mother and a mentor, described the book as “the first that addressed the unbundling of Mass Communications into eight newly approved courses by the National Universities Commission, NUC.
Commending the book in all aspects, he said its technical details, finishing, themes, grammar, contents and language, were excellent, depicting the experience and proficiency of the editor.
The reviewer concluded by recommending the expansion of the section on public relations, advertising and strategic communication. He also suggested incorporating, by way of contributions, the practical experiences of media practitioners.
Earlier in her welcome address, the editor of the book, Prof. Stella Okunna, said she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love. She particularly thanked Mr. Peter Obi for his exemplary leadership, personality and character. She also thanked the VC for his vision for the University.
The Special Guest of honour, Prince Arthur Eze, who was represented by Prince Okey Ezeh, appreciated Prof Okunna’s efforts with 5 million Naira.