Ojinnaka, Oti, Maduagwu, OnyeozuBow Out At Valedictory Senate Session

It was an outpouring of encomiums at the 6th Valedictory Senate Session of the University as colleagues, friends, students and well-wishers gathered to honour four retiring professors as they marked their exit from formal academic activities. The well-attended event took place last Wednesday morning at the Senate Chambers. 
The retirees are: Professors ChukwunonyeOjinnaka of the Department of Pure and Industrial Chemistry, Michael Oti of the Department of Geology, both of the Faculty of Science; Professors Samuel Maduagwu of the Department of Educational Management and Planning, as well as Augustine Onyeozu of the Department of Adult and Non-Formal Education, both of the Faculty of Education. 
The citations on the academic giants were read by the Deans of their respective Faculties. Professor Gideon Obute read on Professors from the Faculty of Science, while Professor Lawrence Igwe handled the citations on those who retired from the Faculty of Education. The stage was then set for the University's tributes to each of the four academic generals. 
In the prologue to the tribute section, Vice-Chancellor, Professor NdowaLale, said that “the event was aimed at celebrating the finest academic tradition established by our founding fathers,” describing the retirees as “accomplished academics who dedicated themselves to a life of endless search for knowledge and mentorship of younger academics.” 

He said that the best tribute that can be paid to the retiring professors as they prepared to quit the services of the University was to continue to champion the enduring values that defined their individual careers in their services to the academia and fatherland. 
Addressing them individually, Professor Lale stated that Professor Ojinnaka made enormous contributions to the development of the Faculty of Science and Department of Pure and Industrial Chemistry, including human capacity building that resulted in the rapid growth of the academic programmes offered by students. The Vice-Chancellor also praised Ojinnaka for his relentless search for herbal remedies to emergent lifestyle diseases that modern drugs were not able to address. 
On Professor Oti, the Vice-Chancellor said that “he served the University meritoriously in various capacities and the best tribute we can pay him is to continue to jealously guard and promote the great ideals that he stood for while in service.” He also paid glowing tribute to Professor Oti for his pioneering role in the Department of Geology and immense contributions to sports development in and outside the University.
In his tribute on Professor Maduagwu, the Vice-Chancellor said that the retiring Professor of Educational Management “served the University with admirable passion and his wealth of experience in Educational Administration was noticed by those who came in contact with him.” Describing Maduagwu as a calm gentleman, who kept his eyes on the tradition of academic excellence, Professor Lale praised him for helping to lay a solid foundation for his Department and mentorship of younger academics in the Faculty of Education. 

Turning to Professor Onyeozu, the Vice Chancellor expressed the University's gratitude to him for his contributions as one of the pioneer staff of the University. His quality administrative and leadership qualities added great value to the successful take-off of the University, while “his personal sacrifices in the Faculty of Education contributed immensely to the reputation of the Department of Adult and Non-Formal Education.” He commended Professor Onyeozu for being the first administrative staff to successfully convert to the academic cadre, thus, blazing a trail for others to follow. 
In their separate eulogies on the retirees, 5th Vice-Chancellor, Emeritus Professor Nimi Briggs, foremost Entomologist and philanthropist, Emeritus Professor Samuel Okiwelu, and Acting Head of the Department of Educational Management, Dr.Nath Abraham, congratulated the retirees on their meritorious services to the University, wishing them good health and continuous service to the academia and Nigeria even in retirement.
Responding on behalf of the retirees, Professor Ojinnaka, expressed gratitude to the University community for affording them the opportunity to serve and also honouring them in retirement. 

“When we arrived here from different academic routes, the challenges were daunting, while the privileges were very few and far in-between.  We were propelled by our undiluted enthusiasm to be part of a great pioneering work by the first Vice-Chancellor of the University, the late Professor Donald Ekong and a crop of very eminent scholars, who insisted on the right way of doing things in those good old days. The University has come a long way since then and we are leaving at a time of great changes in the educational system and in our country. It is our hope that the modest contributions we made would be built upon by our successors in the various Faculties as envisioned by the founding fathers of the University,” Professor Ojinnaka said.
The four Professors took group photographs with Principal Officers, Emeriti Professors, their wives, Provost and Deans before formally bowing out of the Senate Chambers. They were led out of the Senate Chambers by the Provost of the College of Health Sciences and Deans in a colourful recession that ended with more photograph sessions.   


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