Governor Willie Obiano has praised the authorities of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, for choosing Professor Charles Igwe as the vice chancellor of the institution from June 15.
The successor to Professor Benjamin Ozumba, whose tenure will expire on June 14, was announced on Thursday by Chief Michael Olorunfemi, the University of Nigeria pro chancellor and chairman of the governing council.
“All the people involved in the process leading to the emergence of Professor Igwe are truly guided by a powerful sense of history and a strong commitment to the growth of the university”, Obiano said in a letter to the newly elected vice chancellor released in Awka today by the Anambra State Commissioner for Information & Public Enlightenment, Mr C. Don Adinuba.
“Prof Igwe was chosen by fellow academics and a few others involved purely on merit.
“This shows an acute acknowledgement that the only way the UNN, established by the Great Zik of Africa in 1960 to restore the dignity of man, can fulfill its historic mission is to make meritocracy a way of life.
“Meritocracy must be reflected in the admission of students, in the hiring and promotion of the staff and in the appointment of principal officers.
“The love of meritocracy led the Great Zik of Africa, the most important man from West Africa in the last two centuries, to recruit for the UNN, when it was owned by the East Nigerian Regional Government, such outstanding scholars as Professor Sam Aluko and Professor Babs Fafunwa, with the latter becoming the acting vice chancellor in the mid 1960s.
“The meritocratic system resulted in the exceptional performance of UNN graduates in those years.
“As Chancellor of the University of Lagos the same period, Zik ensured that meritocracy was adopted at the new institution, hence the appointment of a world-class science researcher like Professor Eni Njoku as the UNILAG vice chancellor.
“As could be expected, UNILAG products were very competitive in the global market.
“In recognition of the centrality of meritocracy in the search for Nigeria’s emergence from the current development crisis, both the people and governments of the Southeast have been urging the rest of the country to adopt a merit-based system in everything we do, including in the appointment of security and intelligence chiefs.
“Nigeria has in recent years made a mark on global football simply because merit has been the criterion for choosing players”.
Stating that Professor Igwe has excelled as the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration) since 2016 and Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, Governor Obiano argued that there is hardly person among the contestants for the post of the UNN Vice chancellor whose record of fidelity to the UNN could match Igwe’s.
“The brilliant soil science professor is steeped in UNN history and values.
“A UNN product, Professor Igwe joined the university as a soil survey assistant in 1976 and converted to the academic staff in 1991.
“The Anambra State Government will support the new vice chancellor in the mission to restore the dignity of Africans and all Black people in the global scheme of things”.