Finally, Ace Administrator, Wabali Bows Out, Ekeh Steps In As Council Officer

Over three decades of unbroken service to the University of Port Harcourt and Fatherland come to a fitting end last Monday, as consummate administrator and celebrated Minutes Writer, Mr. Roland Wabali, finally drew the curtain on his long public service career to general applause.
His glorious disengagement followed the successful completion of his second missionary journey as a Contract Staff in the last five years of his service at sensitive positions in the administration. When Mr. Wabali statutorily retired five years ago, there was panic in the Registry as to how to replace such an invaluable administrator, who bestrode the Department like a colossus.
Mr. Wabali’s exceptional service covered nearly every aspect of University administration, including a long spell with the second Registrar, the larger-than-life, Chief Okogbule Wonodi of blessed memory, who drilled him in the administrative architecture of the University system. His last call of duty was as Director of Council Affairs. Mr. Wabali’s claim to fame were his meticulous approach to handling matters and unequalled ability to write Minutes that were characteristically beyond reproach as he was known to dutifully reflect the exact views of each contributor at a meeting.
When the immediate past administration institutionalised the Principal Officer’s Meeting, it needed not look beyond Mr. Wabali for a high impact Secretary to document its weekly activities. He was usually mistaken as one of the ‘Principal Officers’ of the University in that capacity which he intrepidly held for nearly six years.
It was, therefore, the end of an era when the moment came last Monday for the iconic Mr. Wabali to bid the Registry Department and the University final farewell. That moment could not be exchanged in any hard currency as its implication dawned on everybody. From his immediate staff to the entire Registry and University at large, tears and memories mixed together to signpost the loss of an ace administrator and polished gentleman to the last letter.    
Speaking during a brief Hand-over Ceremony which took place at the Council Chambers, the Registrar, Mrs. Dorcas Otto, who was visibly moved by the sheer weight of the occasion, praised Mr. Wabali for his meritorious service to the University, calling on other Registry staff to emulate his culture of administrative excellence.
“In my view, Mr. Wabali has retired but he is not tired. We lack words to express our collective gratitude to you for the quality service you rendered to the University, but we appreciate you for all you have done to advance the system. In whatever endeavour you may find yourself after today, we pray that you continue to excel. I hope that when we come to you for advice, your door would be wide open to receive us,” she said, expressing gratitude to the Council Division for honouring Mr. Wabali with a surprise send-forth package. Mrs. Otto expressed optimism that the Registry family would follow suit in due course.
In his response, a visibly overwhelmed Mr. Wabali expressed gratitude to staff of his office for giving him such a surprise package on his final day in office. “I am so surprised at your kind gesture and I thank God for making it possible for me to serve this University for 36 unbroken years. I arrived here as a young man in April 1981 and through all these years, God saw me through with an unblemished service record. Retirement is what will come when it will come, and no staff can run away from it. But I am grateful to God because working in the Public Service is like going to the war front, where three things can happen to you: either you get killed, wounded or you come back alive. More so, some people who started this work with me are no more; some were sacked, while some died in active service, but I have served meritoriously. What else can I ask from God?” he declared.
In his contribution, Mr. Stephen Ekeh, who stepped into Wabali’s large shoes, joined other staff to thank his predecessor for his administrative excellence, hoping that Mr. Wabali would still avail him of his wealth of experience even in retirement. In their separate speeches on behalf of staff of the Council Division, Mrs. Cecilia Agumagu and Mr. Monday Nwile thanked God for preserving Mr. Wabali in his meritorious service to the University and prayed for good health and longevity in retirement

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