Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
It was a time of joy and excitement at St. Barnabas Anglican Church, Ojoto, Idemili South Local Government Area, Anambra State, at the thanksgiving service of Dr. Francisca Nwafulugo on her appointment as the rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State.
Nwafulugo was the first woman to be appointed rector of the institution since its inception over 30 years ago and she found it worthy to invite well-wishers to thank God for the journey so far in her life.
Anambra State’s deputy governor, Dr. Nkem Okeke, led various dignitaries, comprising top government functionaries, religious leaders, traditional rulers as well as deans and heads of departments of the Federal Polytechnic to the event. Staff and students of the institution were also in attendance.
The deputy governor said various women have proved their mettle in leadership in Nigeria and across the globe, adding that they should be supported to do more. While congratulating the rector, Okeke also commended her for her hard work, which, he said, earned her the exalted position.
“The position she is occupying is a great honour in recognition of the sterling qualities of hard work, loyalty and dedication to duty and service to humanity. It is good we empower more women to do more in the society,” he said.
Okeke advised the rector to do the right thing at all times and not be afraid to say no, if it was not the right thing. He said, if she served the people well, society and history would always remember her.
The deputy governor also urged corporate bodies and wealthy individuals to support the state government in the development of Anambra State, pointing out that government alone could not cater to the welfare of citizens as well as provide all basic needs.
The church vicar, Rev. Canon Timothy Okoye, admonished Nigerians to always support those in authority and shun the Pull-Him-Down syndrome
He said Nigerians must subject themselves to appointed authorities, adding that those who resisted such authorities were resisting God and would incur His wrath and judgment.
“That is why we must respect position of leadership; only God can appoint a leader. God appointed you (Nwafulugo), God has appointed Buhari to the seat he is occupying today, God appointed governors, God appointed traditional rulers. You cannot push them out, you can only pray for them,” he said.
He told the rector: “Go and face your work, but always listen to useful advice from the elders and your subordinates. Make sure you give people help, God gave you things to share; don’t hold on to them. Nobody will fight against you and succeed. God will fight the war in Oko Federal Poly and not you,” Okoye said.
The cleric also advised politicians and other leaders in the country not to act as a terror to those they lead. He condemned the practice of politics along religious lines in the state, describing it as dangerous. The cleric noted that governance was rather about state and development, and not religious denomination.
The rector’s husband, Princelytheo Nwafulugo, an engineer, who spoke on behalf of his wife, explained that the thanksgiving service was organised to appreciate God for the appointment, which he said never came as a surprise to him.
“It was never a surprise to me because I know the stuff she is made of and it goes a long way to show that a goldfish has no hiding place. As we thank God today, it is my fervent prayers that the good Lord who started the good work in her would sustain it,” he said.
The rector stated that she would always be grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari, Education Minister, Malam Adamu Adamu, and the executive secretary of the National Board for Technical Education NBTE, Dr. Masa’udu Adamu Kazaura, for the opportunity given her to serve the country.
Anambra State Police Command, Nigerian Immigration Service, Federal Road Safety Corps, Civil Defence and similar institutions like the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Owerri, among others, all sent goodwill messages to the rector.