Jude Chinedu, Enugu
It was literally a harvest of accomplishments as the tenure of Prof Joy Ezeilo as Dean, Faculty of Law of Nigeria’s foremost tertiary institution, the University of Nigeria; Nsukka (UNN) came to an end last week.
Ezeilo who assumed office on August 1, 2018, officially handed over the mantle of leadership on July 31, 2020, having served out her two year tenure.
However, a day to her exit, the renowned rights advocate showcased plethora of incredible number of projects which she attracted and executed within just two years on the saddle.
Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Charles Igwe, participated in a project tour and was understandably overwhelmed that such number of projects could be executed by a faculty without assistance from the university.
Ezeilo disclosed at the event that witnessed inauguration of over 60 projects initiated and completed under her leadership in the faculty that the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus has initiated the construction of an African Centre for Law and Good Governance.
She said that the facility would be named after the first dean of the faculty, Prof. Ben Nwabueze (SAN).
The don said the gesture was one of the steps so far taken to reposition the faculty as the premier law faculty in the country; adding that apart from physical infrastructures, she had initiated major reforms that would transform the institution to a centre of excellence in law studies.
Ezeilo said that the faculty had entered into partnership with the Michigan State University (MSU) that resulted in the award of scholarships to law students of UNN in 2019: “Furthermore, a staff of the faculty; Dr Helen Agu has embarked on a post-doctorate fellowship since September 2019 in MSU.
“Also another fellowship has been secured from University of Cape Town, South Africa, which will start in October 2020.”
She said that the faculty had signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with University of Dundee, United Kingdom, and the University of Venda, South Africa.
Ezeilo further said that the MOU with the University of Dundee would enable staff of the faculty to do Post Graduate course at a discount rate of 50 per cent.
She said that the faculty recorded the successes through the assistance of its former students, explaining that she was motivated to embark on the projects and reforms by the desire to motivate students and lectures to learn and work in the best environment possible.
One of the projects inaugurated include fully-equipped 510-seater modern lecture theatre funded by the alumni class of 1990.
Others are faculty ICT library, lecturers’ offices and students’ Moot Court with complete modern courtroom fittings; upgrading and furnishing of the faculty boardroom to a 70-seater status, re-roofing of Mary Odili Auditorium Complex, attraction and furnishing of United Nations Human Rights Documentation Centre and so on.
In all, Ezeilo expressed her heart-felt gratitude to staff of the faculty for their support whenever they were called upon to “join my high speed train.”
Responding, the Vice-Chancellor of UNN, Prof Charles Igwe, said it was gratifying that all the projects were initiated and completed by Ezeilo within her 18 months and with externally generated funds.
Igwe described the outgoing dean as a pacesetter, whom he said had taken the faculty from zero levels to an enviable height for other deans in the institution to struggle and emulate: “It is amazing that Ezeilo did all these projects without demanding funds from the institution. I encourage other deans and heads of departments to take a tour of the law faculty and understudy the development strides of Ezeilo.
“I must say that the administration of the faculty has done well. I must commend you and your team. This is happening at a time when some other faculties are running to us for things as small as fuel for their generating sets.
“They all have to come here and see what’s going on. This place is totally unrecognizable from what it was in the past and it’s all a result of purposeful leadership. I also commend the 1990 alumni for remembering this institution. That is the way it should be”.