Members of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) in Awka, Anambra State capital, rolled out the drums to celebrate the school’s second Vice-Chancellor (VC), Emeritus Professor Pita Ejiofor. The event was part of the activities marking the silver jubilee of the Faculty of Management Sciences.
The event, which was held at the auditorium and chaired by former Minister of Health, Dr Tim Menakaya, was graced by Chief Willie Obiano, represented by his deputy, Dr Nkem Okeke; former national chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh; former Secretary to the State Government and 2017 Governorship aspirant, Mr Oseloka Obaze; chairmen of Anambra and Enugu Council of Traditional Rulers, Igwe Alfred Achebe and Igwe Lawrence Agubuzo; and the VC of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Prof Fidelis Okafor, among other guests.
Prof Ejiofor was the pioneer dean of the faculty in whose tenure the foundation for the faculty building was laid. The faculty was named after him. As the VC, he completed and moved members of the university administration into the first high-rise building in the school. He also secured the repeal of the non-residential status of the university after completing two hostel complexes.
Welcoming the guests to the occasion, the VC, Prof Joseph Ahaneku, said he was excited that his predecessor was being honoured during his administration. He described the honour as “well-deserved and befitting”, saying the contribution of Prof Ejiofor to the physical and academic development of the school was immeasurable.
Prof Ahaneku pointed out that the honoree also contributed to the evolution of the Management Sciences discipline in tertiary education system.
Guest lecturer and president of Academy of Management Nigeria, Prof Barnabas Agbonifoh, who spoke on Management yesterday, today and the Nigerian management question, noted that the nation’s potential for irreversible development was being dragged back by poor managerial practices in public and private offices.
The lecturer faulted the Federal Government on key appointment, saying qualification needed to be the guide of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in appointing ministers and heads of government’s agencies.
Prof Agbonifoh advised managers to be dedicated to duties and take responsibility for the outcome of their decisions.
In his remarks, Dr Okeke described Prof Ejiofor as “an enigma”, stressing that the former VC was gifted and determined to achieve success in any task he accepted. The Deputy Governor hailed the honoree for his doggedness in ensuring the Igbo language survives as the Igbo are having identity crisis.
According to Dr Okeke, the Igbo must create unique identity, adding that the Igbo-speaking people must employ education to propagate their culture and heritage.
Dr Menakaya eulogised Prof Ejiofor, describing him as a “thoroughbred Igbo man”, saying he was born a teacher and role model.
The dean of the faculty, Prof Anayo Nkannebe, disclosed that the event was timely, noting that Prof Ejiofor deserved the honour for his contribution to the heights the faculty attained in the past 25 years.
Chief Umeh described Prof Ejiofor as a man of many parts, who showed good judgment in his effort to propagate the truth.
The high point of the event was the unveiling and launching of a festschrift in honour of Prof Ejiofor.
Responding, the honoree appreciated members of the school for considering it worthwhile to celebrate him in his lifetime. He said his objective as the pioneer dean of the faculty was to leave an enduring legacy for generations of students that would study in the school.
He said: “I am highly humbled at the outpouring of love and honour. If I had another opportunity to come back as a dean, I would do more.” The Nation report.