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Ex Pro-chancellor, Dr Onwuegbu, saved AE-FUNAI embarrassments – VC AE-FUNAI

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The vice-chancellor of the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Professor Chinedum Nwajiuba, has revealed how the former pro-chancellor of the university, Dr Anayo Onwuegbu, saved the university from the embarrassment that would have ensued if programmes in the faculty of engineering had failed their very first NUC accreditation exercise.

Professor Nwajiuba made the remark following his visit to the Enugu home of Dr Onwuegbu on Thursday, January 28, 2021, to thank him for his support for his administration which will end in 2 weeks’ time.

The VC recalled that though Dr Onwuegbu had left office as pro-chancellor and chairman of council of AE-FUNAI before he (VC) assumed office, the former pro-chancellor still responded positively when he was approached by the VC to assist the university with the donation of a workshop for the engineering faculty.

Upon assuming office as vice-chancellor in 2016, Prof Chinedum Nwajiuba had noted with alarm that the engineering programmes started by his predecessor in the university were, fast, getting due for accreditation exercise by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and yet had no single lecture room, laboratory, workshop, equipment or another basic requirement. To ameliorate the situation, the entire capital allocation to the university in the 2016 federal budget which came to only forty million Naira was quickly deployed to engineering for the construction of a workshop.

Considering, however, NUC accreditation requirements which are aimed at achieving high standards in the Nigerian university system, the single workshop building was a drop in the ocean. The dire situation was compounded by the paucity of internally generated revenue. It was thus obvious that without drastic remedial action, the programmes would fail NUC accreditation, a horrible record and reputation for the young university.

Creatively, Professor Nwajiuba took to appealing to individuals for crowdfunding. He went cap-in-hand to prominent persons across Southeast Nigeria, appealing that they come to the aid of the young university with donations of buildings and equipment as well as roads, drainages, etc. Dr Anayo Onwuegbu distinguished himself as one of the few that responded positively. He donated an engineering workshop, the construction of which he executed and fully funded from his personal means. Thanks to Dr Onwuegbu’s gesture and similar assistance, all the engineering programmes put up for accreditation by the University were successful.

As a token of gratitude, the vice-chancellor who was accompanied by the university’s director of ICT, Engr Dr Ngozi Eli-Chukwu and the acting director of partnerships, Chris Uwadoka, decorated Dr Anayo Onwuegbu with a piece of Akwete textile from the University’s Centre for the Promotion of Indigenous Textiles.

Responding to the effusion of gratitude, the former pro-chancellor noted that the set of appointments that made Prof Chinedum Nwajiuba vice-chancellor of Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike was the same that concluded his appointment as pro-chancellor of the university.

The tendency in such circumstance in our clime, he remarked, is for each party to antagonise, avoid or ignore the other.  Contrary to this tendency, he said, Prof Nwajiuba came looking for him with respect and an extended hand of friendship.  He praised Prof Nwajiuba for how seriously he took his assignment as vice-chancellor and acknowledged the development that had taken place during his tenure.  He further thanked the vice-chancellor and his team for the visit and wished him success in his future endeavours.

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