Obinna Odogwu, Awka
No fewer than 20 persons have received awards of excellence, service to humanity, and outstanding personality of the year, among other categories, as the Nnamadi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) Alumni Association inaugurated its branch in Onitsha, the commercial nerve centre of Anambra State.
The ceremony, which held at Housing Estate Recreation Club, Housing Estate Fegge, was witnessed by family, friends and well-wishers of the members of the alumni association as well as the friends and relatives of the award recipients.
National secretary of the UNIZIK Alumni, Mr. Ejiofor Umegbogu, in his remarks, told the audience that the event was staged to formally admit the members into the alumni association as they were already alumni upon graduation from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.
He said that the association started off many years ago with about 18 branches but has increased in number across the country ever since. In addition, he disclosed that plans were underway to inaugurate branches of the association in various locations abroad.
Umegbogu disclosed that the national leadership of the association, led by Prof. Emeka Ezeonu, was determined to breathe new life into the body by embarking on programmes that would impact meaningfully on the life of its members and the university where they graduated from.
The national scribe stated that, from this year upwards, the group would begin to execute projects annually: “From the year 2020, the alumni association will commence execution of projects per year. This is the mission of the Prof. Emeka Ezeonu-led executive.”
Umegbogu said, already, arrangements were in place to start the building of Alumni Resource Centre, in collaboration with the management of the university.
According to him, the resource centre would house a big auditorium, event centres, hotel accommodations, and national secretariat, among other facilities.
He said more branches of the association nationally and internationally would be established as part of efforts targeted at mobilising human and material resources for the development of the university from where they graduated as ,according to him, government cannot do it alone.
The national president, Prof. Ezeonu, said the association under his watch was taking bold steps to promote alumni engagement by facilitating the formation of alumni chapters in various cities and drive the community building activities through the chapters.
He said that the group was also promoting good relationship with the university and also supports its leadership even as it is working towards upgrading their social networking capabilities to reach out to their members through the association’s website, Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media platforms.
Ezeonu, a professor of Environmental Biochemistry and Toxicology, disclosed that the national leadership of the alumni association has opened a new vista of relationship with the university management, noting that their efforts were already paying off.
“The Alumni Association plays an integral role in strengthening the ties and loyalty of our alumni in order to support our university now and for generations to come.
“For most of us, our time as students at UNIZIK was a crucially formative period in our lives and careers. The education we received opened doors for success and the relationships we made created friendships for life.
“Alumni association provides a ‘home base’ for our alumni to stay connected to the university and its people. The mission and commitment of our alumni association remains the same, to keep our alumni connected to our school, and each other, and to mentor and support students who will follow as future graduates.
“We are building upon the efforts and initiatives of the past alumni leaders as well as harvesting new ideas to ensure that the association continues to serve its members”, said Ezeonu.
Chairman of the Onitsha branch, Chief Frank Udemadu, said that he would, alongside other executive members of the branch, do everything possible to mobilize all the graduates of the university living in the area into the association. He also said that the branch would key into the projects and programmes of the national leadership of the association and contribute its quota to move it forward.