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Sunday, March 24, 2019 was a day of meriment in Orumba South Local Government Area (LGA) of Anambra State, which will be remember for long among the people.
Dignitaries from the state and beyond thronged to the Federal College of Education (Technical) Umunze to celebrate the appointment of Dr Tessy Okoli, as the first internally generated substantive Provost, since the establishment of the institution in 1986. The College community rolled out a red carpet reception for Dr Okoli, following her appointment as the 4th substantive Provost of the institution by President Muhammadu Buhari on May 17, 2018.
A hail of applause welcomed the Provost to the Church service held at Christ the King Chaplaincy, FCE(T) Umunze. In his homily, the Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Dr Paulinus Ezeokafor, extolled teachers at all levels for the enormous responsibilities they bear for the nation. He urged them to live up to expectations and create a conducive environment for learning to thrive. He lauded the role of teachers in providing the requisite training and formation for the younger generation to become responsible adults gainful to the society.
The Bishop observed that the agitation for leadership of academic institutions has become a competitive race. However, he advised contestants to always play by the rules. Bishop Ezeokafor also advised students to be diligent in their studies in order to become useful to their parents and the larger society. He tasked students to remain studious in learning in order to reciprocate the huge sacrifices made by their parents, who foot their study bills.
Other dignitaries at the event include the Auxiliary Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Jonas Benson Okoye, congratulated the Provost and prayed for God’s wisdom on her to pilot the affairs of the College. Members of College Governing Council, led by the Chairman, Hon Philips Shekwo, were also present at the historic celebration. Other members of the Council in attendance include: Mrs Lilian Haruna, who represented the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, Chief Jonathan Achumie, representing the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), Prof Bappa-Aliyu Muhammadu, the former Acting Chairman of the Governing Council, Ibrahim Abdu Radda, Hon Uche Anakor, Mr Doifie Bourkoribo, the representative of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Edmond Nkalu, the President of the Alumni Association, Mrs Leaticia Ugwu.
The Chairman, Committee of Chairmen of Federal Colleges of Education in Nigeria, Hon Tony Obi, was also in attendance, while the newly elected member, Orumba North and South Federal Constituency, Hon Okwudili Ezenwankwo, pledged his support for the College.
Also present at the event were the former Deputy Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Emeka Sibeudu, the pioneer Provost, FCE(T) Umunze, Professor Titus Eze, the immediate past Provost of the College, Professor Josephat Okechukwu Ogbuagu,mni, the Commissioner for Basic Education, Anambra State, Prof Kate Omenugha, the Provost, Federal College of Education Ehamufu, Dr Pauline Ikwuegbu, the former Acting Rector, Federal Polytechnic Oko, Dr Izuchukwu Onu, former Rector, Okopoly, Professor Godwin Onuh, the Provost, Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe, Dr Ifeyinwa Osegbo, the Provost, College of Education, Agbor, Delta State, Dr Joseph Ukadike, the Chairman, Orumba South LGA, Barrister Ray Onyegu, the lawmaker representing Orumba South in the Anambra State House of Assembly, Princess Nikky Ugochukwu, represented by Hon Ugochukwu, traditional rulers, among others.
In an interview with Daily Sun, Dr Okoli said the celebration provided a unique opportunity to bring stakeholders to the College to enable them understand clearly the prospects and challenges facing the institution. She pleaded with philanthropists in the state, state and federal lawmakers, corporate organizations and educationists to take up legacy projects in the College and immortalize their names.
“The main challenge facing our institution at the moment is the dilapidated state of our access road. The Management has made several efforts within few weeks I came into office to draw the attention of both the federal and state government to the worsening state of the road,” she explained.
Okoli said the Anambra State Governor, Dr Willie Obiano, did a palliative work on the road before the last general election. According to her, the College Management also graded the second link road leading to the College but she expressed concern that these efforts brought mere temporary relief to the prolonged distress on the dilapidated road.
“During the last Convocation, Governor Obiano promised to reconstruct the road and provide a 32-seater Coaster bus to the College. We pray that the amiable Governor, who is also a Fellow of this College, would fulfil these promises. We are not resting on our oars to bring an end to the distress on the College road. With the flood ravaging some portions of the road, and the consequent threat it imposes on the area, we seek urgent help,” she pleaded.
Okoli, who had spent over 26 years in the College as an academic staff before her appointment, said she knew the College terrain quite well and promised to face the challenges hindering the growth of the institution.
“I stated clearly that the welfare of staff would be the priority of this administration. I understand that a motivated workforce is a sine-qua-non for an effective service delivery. On assumption of office, this administration reviewed several cases of staff that were stagnated in their promotion or wrongly placed. We responded immediately by placing correctly those staff that had acquired higher certificates,” she said.