“An Institution is to be operated for the good it can do, for the people it can serve, for the service it can provide and for the civilization it can advance.”
-President William Oxley, ‘1912.
Before the bill establishing the University of Nigeria on May 18, 1955, the University College Ibadan represented the classical institution of higher learning. In seconding the bill moved by Chief Ibanga Akpabio, the then Minister of Education, Eastern Nigeria, the founder of UNN, said, “In order that the foundation of Nigerian leadership shall be securely laid, this country shall cease to imitate the excrescencies of a civilization which is not rooted in African Life, I strongly support this bill to the effect that a full-fledged University be established in this region without delay.”
Okechukwu Ikejiani in his book, titled “My Journey Through Life,” Pp 33, maintained that the UNN would produce engineers, not plumbers or mechanics; home economists, not cooks and seamstresses, agric scientists not practical farmers. Zik believed that UNN would bring liberal education within the reach of a much larger number of people, with the utmost benefits going to those at the bottom ladder who wanted to climb up, or those ambitious poor who wanted to rise in the Nigerian world.
For all his works in bringing education to his people, for all his love in the studies of Anthropology; the moon and the stars; Zik’s internal obsession until his death centered on Journalism. That was his armour as he braved up, and single handedly confronted the colonialists and wrestled out our freedom and Independence from the grips of our white masters.
In the evening days of his legendary life, when he moved into the garden towers of Onuiyi Haven, his life was prolonged. His residential proximity to the Jackson college, the liberal Mass Communications department of his Timbuktu, built on the Nsukka hills; pumped oxygen into his Jeffersonian brains. His evening trips to the Jackson den, erupted the famous Zik’s exchanges, repartees, discourses of theories and practices of Journalism with the students.
In no time Zik impacted exponentially on the students. From the Jackson den emerged the BACOMBAS! There was the late Chairman of the City of Calabar Municipal Council, Bassey U. Bassey. In the very short time of his life, the Obong was able to impact on our national politics and leadership. As the most prominent LG Chairman, he contributed to making Calabar the cleanest city.
Tony Momoh is the symbol of the resilient Jackson Alumni, perhaps the oldest active practicing Journalist of the Jackson College, who over the years has contributed more than the rest of us giving to Jackson what the college gave to us.
Author, Editor, Politician, Minister, was the National Chairman of Africa’s largest Political Party. Why is the UNN Senate still denying this gentleman his over due Hons. of Doctor of Literature?
Enter our own “Quimbus Frestris”… Professor Pat Utomi before our eyes has blown, and lifted the roof of the world. Listed among the most brilliant egg heads of the century, Prof. Utomi is often a quoted resourceful reference, an expert in Public Finance and Institutions, regularly invited and paid for his first class appearances, presentations and deliveries. He was the Chief host for the Jackson Lions in the time his Ikoyi residence hosted the den.
If the English department is worshiping Chimamanda, kissing the Author of the Purple Hibiscus; if the Engineering department is in awe and respect the Ahaejiagamba, Chief Emma Iwuanyanwu as a result of the later’s colossal achievements for the UNN old boys; if the Economic department is proud of Sir Willy Anumudu because of the practical economic super success of the Globe Motors; if the Finance department, Enugu campus is hailing Godwin Emaefele, because of my brother’s comfortable steering of the wheels at the Central Bank… Wait a minute…the Jackson College is coming to Abuja to join issues in many dimensions…
Prof. Okedinachi Pat Utomi is in the lead and the world is laughing at Nigeria. Why is this country neglecting one of the most respected citizens of the world?
Why did this country allow him to die? Innocent Oparadike the first class Jacksonite brain; the first and the last southerner to edit the NEW NIGERIAN!
Kingsley Osadalor another first class Jacksonite is coming from NTA, the station that boost the largest African audience. A total Publisher; he was an Editor with the Flagship and went on to serve one of the Edo State Governors. His dexterity and professionalism dimmed the presence of His Excellency! NTA might be down against the other National Television networks, but Osadalor’s Good Morning Program applauds the Jacksonite’s urbanity.
Quickly coming to the stage behind Pato are Ambassador Sam Ajibola, the polyglot; Prof. Isah Momoh from the Pan African University, Lagos; Femi Kusa also formerly Editor with the Flagship and now a Doctor of Roots and Vegetables!
Finally, we come to Akor our host and beside his Royal Majesty’s swimming pool, we celebrate one of us. A former humble student who wanted and indeed worked very hard to climb up the Nigerian ladder. Akor Emmanuel Obiechina, seated on his golden Royal throne has not only committed class suicide, HRM has openly and consistently invited to his dinner table of sumptuous repasts, his unstable mates some of whom are men of the cloak and some like me still on the road.