A Fitting Cap For Dame Jonathan, Others

Dame Patience JonathanOne of the cardinal policy thrusts of Professor Joseph Ajienka when he assumed office as 7th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, was to drive an Entrepreneurial University through partnerships with industries, individuals, professional bodies, as well as Government.

As a first step towards realizing the dream, a Development Model was initiated for effective collaboration with stakeholders carefully selected from men and women of proven integrity, who are making waves and positively affecting lives locally, nationally and internationally.

To match action with words, the Administration, on 9th December, 2010, inaugurated the first Advisory Board for University-Industry Partnership (UIP), starting with the Faculty of Pharmacy with the Chief Executive Officer of Neimeth, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa as Chairman.

Still searching for people who are passionate on giving back to society in a mutually-beneficial manner, the University during its 27th Convocation honoured Dame Patience Jonathan with the Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) Degree. The Degree conferred on the First Lady and Wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, who is Visitor to the University, was as a fitting reward  for her contributions in raising hope for the hopeless through her pet programme, Women for Change Initiative, which massively mobilized women to participate in the political process.

Dame Jonathan, an Alumna, has been severally recognized for upholding the dignity and positive projection of womanhood, in addition to defending the poor as well as crusading for non-stigmatization of HIV/AIDS patients. A Professorial Chair is to be endowed for the Dame Patience Jonathan Centre for Gender Studies to propagate some of her ideas.

Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who is an international business magnate, is the Executive President of African Business Round-Table. He has vast knowledge on how to drive the economy, having held various positions in the industry. Dr. Tukur, who is the Tafida Adamawa, has endowed a Professorial Chair for International Trade and Development/Alhaji (Dr) Bamanga Tukur Centre.

Chief (Dr.) Elechi Amadi is a popular name due largely to his literary exploits. He is famous for his trilogy: The Concubine, The Great Ponds and The Slave. Dr. Amadi is not only a Friend of the University, but also an important stakeholder as his Aluu hometown is one of the host communities of the University.

It was Chief Amadi, as Permanent Secretary in the Old Rivers State, who recommended the present site of the University to the Federal Government’s delegation when the latter came in search of a good location. He has contributed immensely to the advancement of the University through research assistance to students and staff, including public lectures.

As the Vice-Chancellor remarked recently that First Class is not awarded in error, so also are Honorary Awards not conferred in error, as all recipients have touched humanity in various ways. Dr Stanley Lawson who majored in Geology veered into the Finance Sector and within a period of time became Group Executive Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), amongst other achievements that brought him to limelight. He is a proper Alumnus of Unique UNIPORT.

Dr Jacob Nwokolo who received the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD, Honoris Causa) is a legal luminary who has been contributing passionately towards community development. He was described as a silent philanthropist who champions the cause of the downtrodden in society.

As the University of Port Harcourt strives towards its core mandate of teaching, research and community service, the recipients of the awards are expected to give back in certain measures their experiences in the industry to advance the growth of the University as it transforms into an Entrepreneurial University.

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