Lale Marks Second Anniversary In Low-Key Event

Despite his reluctance to make a grand occasion of his second anniversary in office, a few close associates and friends of Professor Ndowa Lale gathered in the Vice-Chancellor’s office on the third floor of the Senate building to mark the low-key event.
Guests huddled into the eight Vice-Chancellor's office before the event commenced at 1.00am, following an opening prayer and brief exhortation by the immediate past Chaplain of Our Saviour's Chapel Interdenominational, UniPort, Venerable Saturday Nbete, who now pastors at Christ Church, Port Harcourt.
In the exhortation, the erstwhile OSC Chaplain warned Professor Lale against the antics of professional sycophants and hypocrites, who usually court the attention of people in high office just to advance their pecuniary interest. With brief reference to scripture passages, the Man of God declared: “You must listen carefully to hear the voice of God for direction and shun the company of those who praise you publicly, only to destroy you behind. God favoured you as Vice-Chancellor and it is important that you use your position to serve Him and the University community to the best of your ability, because you will answer to Him in the end,” Venerable Nbete admonished him.
In his contribution, immediate past Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joseph Ajienka, described leadership as an endowment from above, congratulating his successor for ably piloting the affairs of the University thus far. “Leadership is a great responsibility and real leadership comes from the grace of the Almighty, guidance from above and support from subordinates in the discharge of the onerous responsibility. Our prayer is that you would be guided to serve to the best of your ability in the remaining part of your tenure,” he said.
Responding to the speeches, a visibly elated Professor Lale expressed gratitude to those who turned out to join him at the event. “Last year was very difficult for me as Vice-Chancellor. I was getting ready to deliver my Annual Report before I was hit by our own local version of the 'Arab Spring' that altered everything. I assumed office for the first time on July 13, 2015, while my second coming was on July 1, 2016, following the lifting of my suspension from office by the Federal Ministry of Education,” he told the gathering. 
Professor Lale, who read passages from Psalm 124 to explain his staying power during the grand conspiracy to oust him from office, described leadership as a very difficult thing. “Today, it is easier to be a State Governor than to serve as a Vice-Chancellor of a university in Nigeria. I have learnt a lot in these two years and I can boldly declare that my 'apprenticeship' period is over for good. I learnt that no Vice-Chancellor can succeed without the loyalty and cooperation of his subordinates. Some of my subordinates were coerced to make false declarations against me to enable my persecutors to nail me, but they did not get such cooperation. As I turn the page on the next phase of my tenure, I would need all the support I can get to take the University to greater heights,” he said, expressing optimism that he would deliver his Mid-Term Report in January, 2018.
Expressing gratitude to many people who made valuable contributions to the success of his administration so far, Professor Lale apologised to those he could not reach to join him at the reception. He promised to address a full audience during the presentation of his Mid-Term Report in January. He was joined by his wife, Mrs. Joy Lale. 
Immediate past Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Igho Joe, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Professor Regina Ogali, Registrar, Mrs. Dorcas Otto and Vice-President of the University of Port Harcourt Women Association (UPWA), Mrs. Hadizat Fawehinmi, all took turns to congratulate Professor Lale for successfully piloting the affairs of the Vice-Chancellor during the period. 
Professor John Ikimalo who proposed the toast to the Vice-Chancellor's success in office and good health said: “We wish him well and enjoin all staff to support him to continue with his mission. If the place is in peace, we would all be beneficiaries. It is our collective responsibility to support him, and we hope to gather  again to celebrate good governance at the end of the Vice-Chancellor's five-year tenure.” 
Also present were Principal Officers, Provost and some Deans, including Professor Chris Enyinda of the American University in Dubai.

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