Felix Ikem, Nsukka
It was indeed a day of celebration as the traditional ruler of Eziani community in Nsukka Local Government Area, Enugu State, Igwe Tony Ezenma offered his communal land to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) to build staff quarters.
He made the donation last week when he paid a courtesy visit to the Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof Charles Igwe to felicitate with him on his recent appointment with members of his cabinet and town union members.
He said he ought to have made the visit earlier but for the death of his mother which tradition forbade him from making such visit until after her burial.
According to him, Nsukka people are in support of the VC despite that some of their sons contested the position with him; adding that Prof. Igwe is a son of the soil.
The traditional ruler described the VC as a good friend and an Nsukka brought-up, stressing his optimism that he will perform creditably in office: “I’m here today with my cabinet members, town union members and others to congratulate you; bless you and assure you of my support on your election as the 15th Vice Chancellor of UNN.
“UNN is an important institution to every Nsukka man. We value and cherish the fact that it is situated in our land; hence, the need to support whoever that is at the helm of affairs for the best interest of our people and the country at large.
“We agreed to give our communal land in a mutual agreement to the institution for the building of staff quarters. This, we believe will strengthen our relationship, decongest the campus and open up development to my community.
“We see you as one of us given the fact that you were raised and brought up in Nsukka, and we are optimistic that your tenure will be memorable and profitable one”.
While assuring the VC that he will reach out to those still nursing ill-feelings over his emergence as VC to sheath their sword in the spirit of sportsmanship, the monarch asked the erstwhile contestants to pledge their support to Prof. Igwe’s administration: “One thing in an election is either you win or you lose. One person must emerge. I will meet some of our people who lost out and are still aggrieved over your emergence; unite them in support of your administration.
“It is not about where one comes from that matter. Prof. Chukwuma Ozumba, the immediate past VC of UNN is not an Nsukka man, but his administration employed highest number of Nsukka people into the university since inception”.
He, however, advised the VC to eschew nepotism in the discharge of his duty and not to pay attention to gossips. As was customary, prayed for the VC and showered him with royal blessings.
Responding, the Vice Chancellor thanked the royal father, his entourage and the good people of Eziani kingdom for the visit, prayers and blessings: “I’m overwhelmed by this royal visit, prayers and blessings from the kind royal father. I want you people to be rest assured that I’m part and parcel of Nsukka.
“I have spent over four decades in Nsukka, I had my primary, secondary and tertiary education all in Nsukka, majority of my friends are from Nsukka, therefore, I’m more of Nsukka than Awka, Anambra State where I come from.
“It was at Anglican Church Eziani, that I had my retreat prior to my becoming a knight in the Anglican Communion”.
Prof. Igwe, who is the first alumnus of the university to be appointed vice chancellor since 1960 when the institution was founded, promised to maintain harmonious relationship with the host communities and the entire Nsukka cultural zone, adding that he will discuss the land for staff quarters’ offer from the community with the school management, and will communicate back to them.
Highpoint of the visit was presentation of a rope symbolising a cow, high quality traditional regalia material, and cartons of assorted drinks to the VC by Igwe Ezenma.