Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The Provost of Nwafor Orizu College of Education Nsugbe (NOCEN), Anambra State, Dr. Ifeyinwa Osegbo has appealed to the Federal Government to take over the institution in honour of the first Senate President and one-time acting president of Nigeria, Rt. Hon. Dr. Nwafor Orizu, who the college was named after.
Osegbo said that if the Federal Government takes over the college it would witness tremendous boost in infrastructural development, especially now that NOCEN was faced with the challenge of being upgraded to a degree-awarding institution ( University of Education).
She made the passionate appeal during the 4th Nwafor Orizu Memorial Lecture held at the college auditorium, stating that Dr. Orizu lived and died as a nationalist whose political personality cuts across sectionalism of any sort and merited recognition at all levels of government.
“We use this opportunity to suggest and request the government to recognise and honour Dr. Orizu by taking over this institution named after this illustrious son of Nigeria. This call, we learnt, had been made in the past. Even if all the higher institutions in the state were to be Federal Government-owned, the case of Nwafor Orizu like Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s belongs to a special class of its own. More so, Dr. Orizu was the second in command during the First Republic. All the institutions named after his contemporaries in the country are Federal Government-owned. His own should not be different”.
“This memorial lecture gives us the opportunity to understand why the only state college of education was named after Dr. Orizu, who was also a renowned educationist. He was a devout patriot who surrendered himself to be imprisoned by imperialist Britain to enable his people to taste freedom.
“He was an educationist who saw education as a veritable instrument for liberation and development and sacrificed a lot of his resource. Dr. Orizu was a nationalist who lived and died a convinced apostle of Nigeria unity. He was a man of tremendous courage who, on the troublesome night of January 15, 1966, when others had fled, summoned the parliament and formally handed over power to Major Gen. J.T.U Aguiyi Ironsi, the first military Head of State of Nigeria” Osegbo stated.
The provost further said that his interest in education was anchored in his autobiography title, ‘Liberty or Chains-Africa Must be’, saying that ‘horizontal education is designed for freedom and creates a free individual who think freely and only a free thinker who can expand when free thinkers are many, you have a free nation’.
Osegbo also quoted Orizu saying “it is important to note that since the 1970s the standard of education in Nigeria has continued to degenerate; it is also a truism that most adults, scholars, students and youths no longer read, or engage in serious hard work. The implication is that the Nigeria populace is generally becoming half-educated or downright ignorant, except for negligible fraction, usually versed in their restricted areas of specialisation”.
“Memorial lecture in honour of one of the Irokos whose name our institution bears is not an accident, because of what contributions, he made in his efforts to transform the destiny of the black race through horizontal education which he received in America between 1939 and 1945. As a hard-core nationalist, the-14th West Africa student, the 10th Nigerian student, 8th Igbo in the USA he knew that no nation, no religion has been built except with the blood of a sacrificial few”, Osegbo stated.
The former Vice-Chancellor of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Anambra State, Prof. Fidelis Okafor in his lecture titled “Professionalisation and Vocationalisation of Issues; the Teachers Borden”, said that teaching is a very big task to raise talents which required extra attention and commitment.
He said that to be a teacher is more difficult than to be a soldier, adding that soldiers go for training which is physical while teachers are moral agent, and that every teacher must undergo professional training before he or she qualifies to be registered as a teacher.
Prof Okafor who was one-time provost of NOCEN said that teachers need to be a call, inner desire and a vocation who derives joy in doing his professional job.
He, however, flays some lecturers who indulge in sex-for-marks in the school, pointing out that they sold their morality as a virtue of a teacher to indulge in immorality things against those under their care as students.
The former VC said that in as much as he condemns the action of some lecturers in respect to sex-for-marks, he wondered why the Federal Government and lawmakers were laying more emphasis and making laws against it while there is also sex-for-employment and other things in the system, stressing that the crime is being committed in other sectors and areas and not necessarily by the lecturers alone and should be tackled holistically.
The chairman of the occasion and the first civilian Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife charged the staff and students of NOCEN to emulate the virtues of the late sage, Dr. Orizu, who sacrificed everything for the liberation of the country.
He described Dr. Orizu as one of the Igbo leaders who brought fame and greatness to Igbo land through his visions and aspirations, calling on the government to build their policies and programmes on the foundation laid by our past leaders especially in the areas of education.
“If you are looking at what is going in Nigeria, it is terrible and pitiable. They pull down Igbo people, some other tribe will commit the same crime but only Igbo man would be punished and disgraced, leaving other ones. Politics of pulling Igbo man down is what is happening in Nigeria today” Ezeife lamented.