Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
Age, it is said, is not a barrier to education. This played out recently, as 60-year-old Mr. Nwachukwu Nicholas Udemezue was among the over 1,500 students that took matriculation oath at the Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe (NOCEN) Anambra State.
Udemezue, native of Okija in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, after finishing Class 5 in 1975 and had learnt survey through apprenticeship.
According to him, “I was challenged to further my education when my clients, who saw how good I was at my work, kept asking me if I was a graduate. I told them no. They encouraged me to have a step further in my education qualification.
“Also, I had always wanted to learn how to communicate well in English Language. This is why I decided to enroll to study English Language and Social Studies at the level of NCE.”
Full of determination, the father of four, is determined to carve a niche for himself. According to him, age should not limit man’s quest for education and learning.
Meanwhile, the new students of the college have been warned against indulging in cultism, examination malpractice, violent demonstration as well as other social vices through out their study in the institution.
The college during its 38th matriculation ceremony for National Certificate on Education (NCE) and 22nd matriculation of Bachelors of Degree for Education (B.ED) affiliated to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) where over 1,500 students took oath of matriculation and declaration of loyalty to the institution.
Governor Willie Obiano, who is the visitor to the college, in his address, assured that his government would provide secured ground to ensure academic progress and warned students against indulging in social vices capable of ruining their lives and education.
The governor who was represented by the Commissioner for Tertiary, Science and Technology Education, Prof. Nkechi Theresa Obiekezie, said: “Your security in Anambra State is assured and I will do everything to make sure that you are comfortable in this institution.
“At the moment, we are fencing this institution around the area where some people are trying to encroach. I am presently tarring the internal roads of the institution; and as soon as the law on the new minimum wage is passed, my administration will be the first to implement it by increasing the salary of the staff of this institution.
“Do a favour to your parents and to yourself by focusing on what you are here for. Say no to cultism and internet fraud. Channel that strength into your studies, and, at the end of the day, you will make your parents and yourself proud.’’
Provost of NOCEN, Dr. Ifeyinwa Osegbo, enjoined the new students to guard themselves against cult groups or any similar association not approved by the institution.
She assured the matriculating students of security while also promising them that the school management would continue to provide the necessary infrastructure as they pursue their academic activities.
“You are, therefore, warned to refrain from enlisting in any secret cult. If you already belong to one before coming here, we prayerfully enjoin you to renounce your membership. One area of concern, which you must be aware of is that of examination malpractice. The college has stringent rules and regulations guiding the administration of examinations, the flouting of which leads to expulsion.
“You are advised in your own interest and in the interest of the institution not to take to violent demonstrations that may lead to destruction of lives and property. In all situations of conflict, please, choose the golden option of dialogue to resolve issues.”
She tasked them to obey the rules and regulations governing the institution and to project the college’s objectives and all that it stands for.
“As teachers in training, you are a special group of people, who are being prepared for the enormous task of moulding the character of the younger generation after you,” she said, adding that they should not abuse the freedom the institution gives them by engaging in anti social activities.
“Nobody is going to goad you into attending your lectures regularly, doing your assignments or preparing for your examinations. As the saying goes, you are now the architect of your own fortune,” Osegbo stated.
The provost also appreciated the government of Anambra State and the Commissioner for Tertiary, Science and Technology Education for showing love and interest in the school.
“Your love for and interest in this college is always displayed by your quick, prompt response and attention to our needs and yearnings epitomized by the ongoing construction of the college internal roads,” she said.
The Vice Chancellor, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba, represented by the Dean, Faculty of Education, Prof. Dominic Ngwoke, charged the students to see their admission into the UNN affiliated degree programme at NOCEN as special gift to unwrap their future.
“This university has zero tolerance for cultism and other negative vices or misconducts. University disciplinary procedures are very strict. It is important that you bear in mind your reason for joining the institution and, therefore, should conduct yourselves as leaders of tomorrow.
“Encourage and exhibit the highest standard of ethical and moral values. Execute all actions in compliance with rules of the university and the laws of the land. Treat everyone fairly and justly regardless of their religion, gender or geographical origin,” he admonished.
“This is a very significant milestone in the life of an undergraduate which is usually greeted with ecstasy. Every undergraduate looks forward to this historic occasion as it marks his first steps into the main world of academics. It does not come easy. I want to assure you that our academic programmes are quite strict and full of intellectual exposures that are thorough” he stated.
Highlight of the event was the oath-taking and declaration of loyalty to the institutions after the students were presented faculty by faculty and department by department by their deans and heads of departments and signing and return of matriculation oath and declaration of loyalty forms.