By Abuchi Onwumelu
The Vice Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Prof. Charles Okechukwu Esimone, FAS in company of the Institution’s Management and Council last Tuesday paid a courtesy visit to the traditional ruler of Awka, His Royal Majesty, Obi Dr. Gibson Nwabueze Nwosu, Eze-Uzu Awka.
The visit which was to officially introduce the new management team to the Eze-Uzu and the Awka people was colourful, as the VC and his entourage were well received.
In the VC’s team included the Institution’s DVC Admin, Prof. Arinze; Prof. Peter Nnabude; Prof Ada Sam Omenyi; the Registrar, Barr. Philomena Okoye; the Provost, College of Medicine, Nnewi, Prof. Okwudili; The University Librarian, Rev. Prof. Obiora Nwosu; Dir. Academic Plan., Prof. Joseph Ikechebelu, SA to the VC on Academic Matters, Dr. Kingsley Ubaoji, among others.
Speaking at the event, Prof. Esimone acknowledged that the Eze-Uzu whom he had known long before he was appointed VC had always addressed him as “My Son”, and given him all the fatherly assistance he had ever needed while in Awka.
To him therefore, the visit which should have happened long ago but for the king’s absence was more or less a homecoming for him. He thanked the Awka people for the warm reception, promising that the longstanding relationship between him and the Eze-Uzu on one hand, and the University and Awka on the other has just received the needed fillip to be taken to the next level.
The traditional ruler of Akwaeze, the VC’s hometown who was also present at the visit, Igwe Christopher Okpala expressed his profound joy, stating that his happiness was informed by his assurance that Awka had truly accepted his son, Prof. Esimone.
He promised that no turn would be left unstoned in ensuring that Awka received her due benefits from the University.
Several speakers at the event, including the Otutu Awka, Chief Engr. Ben Okoye and Prof. Au. Nnonyelu, all declared Awka’s unalloyed support for the new VC and his administration.
They called on him to be mindful of political merchants and marauders masquerading as friends. Just as the University leadership is encapsulated in him, the Awka monarchy is under the able leadership of HRM. Obi Dr. Gibson Nwosu, Eze-Uzu Awka, while the town union is led by the inimitable People’s General, Engr. Tony Okechukwu.
For his part, the PG, Engr. Okechukwu congratulated Prof. Esimone on the well deserved appointment, and welcomed the visitors, observing that the visit was a clear indication that the new management was unmoved by the noisy distractions from some quarters.
The President General hailed the cordial partnership which, he said had long characterised the relations between Awka and Unizik, hoping that whatever voids that were left by the previous regime will be filled by the new administration.
Engr. Okechukwu pointed out some of the intangible benefits to which the host community is entitled, including jobs and admissions for academic pursuit, noting that these would address the growing state of unemployment and crime in the city.
While advising the new management to treat the activities of power impostors with due disregard, he wished the VC and his team success in all areas.
In his brief remarks, His Royal Majesty, Obi Dr. Gibson Nwosu, Eze-Uzu Awka welcomed the visitors to the palace. He reemphasized the age long friendship between Prof. Esimone (whom he had always considered his son) and himself. The monarch also noted the warm relations between himself and Igwe Okpala, the Akwaeze monarch, a point which had been earlier mentioned by the latter.
He assured the VC and his team of Awka’s unflinching and unshrinking support. He also endorsed all the submissions earlier made by the Otutu Awka, Prof. Au. Nnonyelu (Akpaka), and the PG.
The highpoint of the event was the symbolic handing over of the key to Awka to the VC, giving him full access to the great ancient city. It was noteworthy that these keys were transmitted to the current Eze-Uzu by his predecessor, in line with established traditions.
To crystalise all the prayers and expressions of goodwill for the new VC by ndu Awka, the monarch gave his final blessings by laying his hands on Prof. Esimone who bowed before him, and called on God almighty to pave his paths with resounding success stories.
To this, the gathering echoed a reverberating “Ise”! All present, including the visitors were afterwards treated to sumptuous meals by the chief host.
Present to receive the VC and his teem were the crème de la crème of Awka, including His Excellency, Chief Abolle Okoyeagu, former Deputy Governor of Anambra State; Hon. Sam Chinedu Onwuaso, Member, Federal House of Reps.; Hon. Leo Nwuba, Chairman Awka South Local Government; Hon. Emmanuel Okoye, Fmr. Chairman, Awka South Local Government; Chief Ezenwammadu, Chairman, Ulonese Agula-Awka; Onyebuchi Nwobu, Chairman, Awka Youth; Chairman, ADUN South Africa; Ndu Ozo; kingmakers; chiefs from all the villages and quarters of Awka; youth and women groups, etc.