It was recorded in the annals of Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Students’ Union Government (SUG) history, as the student friendly and visionary Vice-Chancellor, Prof Chinedum Uzoma Nwajiuba, on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, at Zone A of the campus, laid foundation for SUG Secretariat, which will become the biggest among SUG secretariats in institutions of higher learning in South East, Nigeria.
SUG President of the young and fast growing university, Comrade Obinna Collins Okorie, while delivering his welcome speech, thanked VC, Prof Chinedum Nwajiuba immensely, for giving hope for brighter future for the university, especially his vision to transform the university to world class, inferring that VC’s exemplary leadership by which he has set standards and provided level playing ground, with adequate encouragement and support, made the foundation laying possible in his time.
Comrade Okorie quoted Sir Syed Ahmed Khan “That the small plant will one day turn into a mighty tree whose branches will spread all over the world”, to set the tone of his presentation, stating that the event was in marking of the transition from planning to reality, with the foundation stone laying, to commence the construction proper, for the first ever SUG Secretariat in the university, which was actually flagged off on Friday August 28, 2020, upon receiving VC’s approval. He affirmed that the secretariat is completely students oriented, from construction, which is being executed in conjunction with Engineering students of the university, for cost-effectiveness and to provide opportunity for practical experiences, inferring that upon completion, the complex will house 10 offices, Conference Hall, Senate and Judiciary Chambers, Library, with state- of- the- art facilities, trusting that the building will become a reality in no distant time, to provide the next generation of AE-FUNAI SUG and students a functional office complex, which will support nurturing innovative, entrepreneurial and progressive leaders of tomorrow.
The President reiterated the commitment of his administration in perfecting the vision and plans of those who led SUG in the university before him, in delivering the dividends of good and progressive governance to AE-FUNAI students, while appealing for the continued support of the university management and cooperation of his fellow students.
Dean Students’ Affairs (DSA), Dr. Otu Akani Otu, added his voice in appreciating VC, Prof Nwajiuba specially for considering students’ affairs key in his administration and providing support and encouragement to SUG, nurturing it from birth in 2017 till this moment, to the extent that he has made the building of SUG secretariat in the university, a dream come true.
Prof Nwajiuba started his speech at the event by commending the present 7 man SUG, saying they do not need a crowd to achieve success and assured them of Management decision to support them in the project, declaring that he is a union person, for which reason he supports unions and established SUG and staff unions, which were not in existence before he assumed office as VC. He adduced that university is a serious place for serious minded people, recalling that “Students in those days, in our time, were highly respected; but now, the game is totally different”. VC noted that a Nigerian undergraduate earned respect from people within and outside the university environment but regrets that students nowadays behave like motor-park touts, wearing torn jean trousers about.
Prof Nwajiuba averred that as students are benchmark of the university, without whom there is no university, hence his choice of a prominent location in the campus to site the SUG secretariat, intentionally positioned beside the Staff Cooperative Block and facing the space across the road, where the Agriculture Green House will be sited, reason being that it is time to embrace agriculture and entrepreneurship, as the oil boom of the 1970s is over. He reiterated that being a university student is a serious matter and they should be conscious of that, encouraging them not to think that they are too young to do useful things. Prof Nwajiuba further counseled the students to be of good character, have integrity, hardworking, trustworthy and avoid doing things like people who did not go to school. He did not hesitate to educate them that “ This is a generation for entrepreneurship. The era of looking for white collar jobs after graduation is over. You must learn to do something to earn a living and help your parents who trained you. We are a generation called to build and we must build well”.
As the good father he is, Prof Nwajiuba wished them well and prayed that they become greater than him, admonishing them to keep away from drugs, alcohol, prostitution, cultism, as they enjoy their lives, but focused, realizing there are no permanent students. He reminded the students gathered at the event that he had a deal with the students at his resumption, that the students should play their part well while he does his bit, for things to work out well for everyone.
The occasion was graced with the presence of the pioneer Interim President of AE-FUNAI SUG during the 2017 formation stage, Mr. Okafor David, a 2018 graduate of Linguistics, who actually initiated the process of SUG Building. He gave the vote of thanks, appreciating VC, Prof Nwajiuba for making foundation of SUG in AE-FUNAI possible, giving all the support and midwifing it to this level of laying foundation for the biggest SUG secretariat in the South East. Highlight of the event was the presence of officials of National Union of Nigerian Students (NANS), who sang solidarity songs and showered encomiums on VC, Prof Nwajiuba, rating him first among equals and revealed that he has been listed for Award of Excellence by the association, before his exit in few months.