OHANAEZE NDIGBO YOUTH WING ON
THE CRISIS ROCKING THE UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA NSUKKA FOLLOWING THE REMOVAL OF THE PRO-CHANCELLOR AND CHAIRMAN OF COUNCIL, DR (SIR) EMEKA ENEJERE.
THE IME-OBI OHANAEZE NDIGBO
ON SUNDAY 5TH JANUARY 2014
AT THE OHANAEZE NDIGBO SECRETARIAT, 7 PARK AVENUE G.R.A ENUGU.
LEADERSHIP OF THE OHANAEZE NDIGBO YOUTH WING.
Preamble: since the turn of Nigeria’s fourth Republic in1999, the Igbo nation has suffered systemic daze from the actors and decision makers at the centre. From the emergence of five senate presidents during the eight years of Obasanjo administration to the unceremonious sack of Prof Fabian Osuji and its spiral effect resulting in the fall of Senator. Adolphus Wabara as Senate President, the inglorious sack of the first South-Easterner to head Nigeria’s Police Mr Ogbonna Onovo in the early days of the Jonathan administration, We cannot also forget in a hurry the forceful resignation of the most productive power minister Nigeria ever had Prof. Bart Nnaji, just to satisfy the gluttonous desire of a section of the country. The recent disgrace of Eze Festus Odimegwu for stating the obvious as it concerns the sincerity of Nigerian population records. Ndigbo has always been treated with disdain and disrespect by other ethnic nationalities within the Nigerian state. Even as we watch the present drama playing out in the aviation sector, where a section that saw that sector as their birthright are up in arms in calling for the removal of Princess Stella Oduah as Nigeria’s Aviation Minister just because she has caused a hurricane of transformation that threw their stranglehold on the aviation industry off-balance.
However, while the above were hatched and executed by forces outside Igboland to boost the political standings of the executors, and most of the victims falling into the traps as a result of their selfishness and greedy nature, the recent announcement of the removal of the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) Dr (Sir) Emeka Enejere by the Supervising Minister of Education , and his replacement by Chief Emeka Ukala (SAN) is one that is hatched, incubated and executed by Ndigbo, against Ndigbo, to the detriment of Ndigbo.
From the surface, it looks as if Enejere’s removal is his personal problem. But when viewed from the critical point we will come to the consciousness of knowing that this is not just a slap to the Igbo nation, but a threat to the future of our teeming young population and generations yet unborn. Bearing in mind that Dr. Emeka Enejere represents an uncommon generation that knows the University of Nigeria Nsukka inside-out, having lived his entire life as a student and lecturer in that great citadel; not also forgetting his courageous role as the University’s Students Union Government in keeping not just the institution alive, but the lives of many Ndigbo during the thirty months of annihilation called the Biafran-Nigerian Civil war.
At the appointment of Dr. Enejere as the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council, Ndigbo that have the good of Igboland at heart leapt in joyous celebrations. On his side, the former university don did not fail as he set the ball rolling with progressive policies that are aimed at restoring the dignity of man as enshrined in the university’s motto.
Since this ugly incident of Enejere’s removal by the Nyesom Wike-led cabal, different stakeholders have stood up against the abnormality, but surprisingly Ohanaeze Ndigbo which prides’ itself as the apex Igbo socio-cultural (and in recent times) political organisation, has kept mute.
This quietness of Ohanaeze Ndigbo on this issue at a time like this when its key officers; the President-General and the Secretary-General are proud products of the University of Nigeria is confusing to the generality of the Igbo nation and Nigerians.
Hence the gauntlet falls on the younger generation to sound out the drums. This we are doing through this simple presentation.
Dear Igbo Leaders,
THIS IMPUNITY MUST NOT STAND
We come before you today with tears, not just for what we stand to lose as individuals, but for many years of setback that our nation (Igbo land) is doomed to in the near future if the sad events of Tuesday 17th December 2013 and the week preceding the 2013 Christmas are not hurriedly and decisively corrected.
It should be recalled that on this date which for some time will be a sad one in the annals of Igbo history, the pride of Ndigbo was touched and the hands of the monkey was noticed in our soup. A slap was dealt to our collective pride as our flagship institution of higher learning; the University of Nigeria Nsukka was thrown into “mourning” following the unceremonious removal of the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the University’s Governing Council Dr. Emeka Enejere by the Supervising Minister of Education Mr. Nyesom Wike on grounds yet to be explained by the minister and his lieutenants.
For followers of contemporary Igbo History, the symbiotic relationship between Dr. Enejere and the University of Nigeria cannot be over emphasised, as Enejere symbolises the true spirit of Nsukka; having played pivotal, decisive, and courageous roles at landmark periods in the history, both of the UNN and Ndigbo.
As the President of the University of Nigeria Student Union Government 1966/ 1967, Enejere at the risk of his life, positively contributed to the Biafran Struggle. After the civil war at the completion of his undergraduate and graduate studies in both Nigeria and America, he was absorbed into the institution’s academic work-force where he spent 12 years, and voluntarily retired meritoriously in 1992.
It is important to note, that at the end of the civil war in 1970, he mobilised Nigerian University students from Unilag, UniBen, and Uni Ife to demonstrate and call for the re-opening of the University of Nigeria and other higher institutions in Igboland.
In a nutshell, “Dr. Emeka Enejere is the University of Nigeria Nsukka and the University of Nigeria Nsukka is Dr. Emeka Enejere.”
Hence, when on Tuesday 9th of April 2013, the former Minister of Education Prof. Rukkayayt Ru’Fai swore in the Governing Council of 21 Federal Universities, the joy of Ndigbo knew no bound as the name of Dr. Emeka Enejere was announced as the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the 14TH Governing Council. With a man of sound ideological base, undiluted cosmopolitan world view at the helm of affairs, good understanding of the subject matter (University of Nigeria Nsukka),and an unpretentious zeal in tackling the problems of the institution; Ndigbo believed that the University of Nigeria Nsukka was back on the track of its glorious days, and in realising the dreams of its founding fathers led by the visionary Rt. Hon Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe of Blessed memory.
On resumption of duty as the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the 14th Governing Council of the University of Nigeria Nsukka, the Enejere-led council set out to implement the template of the Federal Ministry of education as enunciated by the then Minister for Education Prof. Rukkayat Ru’Fai viz effective monitoring of on-going infrastructural development, revitalisation of the key university functions of research and training , boosting the Internal Revenue base of the university, streamlining of appointments of staff in accordance with acceptable standards and approved scheme of service, prudent management of the university’s finances and encouragement of responsible student union government.
While the students and staff university staff whose activism and carrier progress stagnated by the current Vice-Chancellor Prof. Batho Okolo erupted in joy, the university administration felt threatened.
The council in its bid to expedite her goals called for report a report from the key officers of the university: An effort which was almost truncated by the Vice-Chancellor who was bent on misdirecting the Council and causing confusion between the Governing Council, the bursar, and the Registrar all in a bid to conceal abnormalities in the management of the university.
Our elders, in the cause of our investigation over the removal of Dr. Enejere, we came to discover that cases of brazen misapplication, misappropriation and mismanagement of university funds by the Batho Okolo-led administration, a practice that the Enejere-led council frowned at.
Shamefully the university administration is presently involved in a shameful imbroglio with the pioneer President of its Alumni Association and revered professor of sociology Prof. B.I.C Ijoma over a Sociological Centre building named after him and fully sponsored by the Delta State Government. Interestingly, in a bid to cover-up its shame, the Okolo administration is believed to have spent almost Sixty Million Naira (N60,000,000) of university’s Internally Generated Revenue in a hurried construction of the complex.
Our source within the university told us that after a series of staggering but horrendous presentations by the Vice-Chancellor, it came to fore that the Vice-Chancellor operates the institution as a personal empire with himself as the sole allocator of benefits.
In appointment of staff, we discovered that Prof. Okolo was on rampage in the appointment of personnel under questionable circumstances and outrageous salaries. The unilateral appointment of Mrs Christiana Oriola ( ICT Director) and Miss Chinwe Onyenwe ( Alumni Co-ordinator) who were placed on salaries of Two Million, Three Hundred and Thirty Seven Thousand, Six Hundred Naira (N2, 337,600) Only and Five Hundred Thousand Naira Only respectively tops the list of the administrations regulatory recklessness prior to the coming of the 14th Governing Council.
It should be noted that in order to carry on with the impunity of indiscriminate and questionable recruitment of staff, the Okolo administration took over the responsibility of staff recruitment and placed it under the office of the Vice-Chancellor with a Controller of Personnel assigned the duty, even after the 2004-2010 Visitation Panel frowned against that. However the Governing Council has since reversed this anomaly.
On discovering the inordinate manner in which the university’s finance was being run, and in a bid to put the books in order, the 14th Governing Council decided to bring in financial consultants to look into the financial books of the institution. After a selective tender, the Auditing firm of David Adetuyi was appointed in September 2013 and a fee of Ten Million Naira agreed as the fee by the Council. However, a jittery Okolo has up till this moment withheld the mobilisation fees thereby frustrating the council’s effort at determining the financial integrity of the university.
Being accustomed to having a free hand in the management of both the human and material resources of the University of Nigeria, the Vice-Chancellor became agitated and resistant to the plans of the Governing Council to introduce annual budgeting in managing its finances.
Sensing that his era of reckless spending and unabated administrative lapses was finally coming to an end, Prof. Okolo decided to destabilise the Governing Council; this he did through his course mate at the University of Ife and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education Dr. Mac John Nwaobiala who without due process redeployed the Ministry’s nominee to the council Mr. Ebenezer Fayemi and replace him with one Mrs Brown without officially informing the Governing Council, an action which the Vice-Chancellor has been boasting of being the master-mind.
Sadly, as things were getting to the point of a shipwreck for Prof. Okolo, as regards the insistence of the Governing Council for a well spelt out budget, coupled with the fact th
at members of the Council are men who have proved their mettle in different walks of life and were in the council as a form of service to the fatherland and humanity.
Okolo and his cohorts located in exalted public positions hatched the plan of truncating the good works of the Governing Council. This they did by unceremoniously announcing the removal of its Chairman and Pro-Chancellor Dr. Emeka Enejere on Tuesday 17th December, a day after the chancellor submitted the council’s activities to the supervising minister of Education in Abuja, without stating reasons for the removal of such a person except that in the words of the Supervising Minister of Education Mr. Nyesom Wike.
Wike has since gone ahead to announce his former boss and lawyer Chief Emmanuel Ukala (SAN) as Enejere’s replacement. While Prof Batho Okolo still goes about boasting to those who care to listen that “He is untouchable.”
We wouldn’t want to bother you with the spontaneous reaction of stakeholders from both within and without the university who have stood up to condemn the unpopular action. While the unions within the university have downed their tools, the Alumni Association which has been primed and re-energised by the Enejere-led Governing Council to rise to play their role as key stakeholders in the growth and development of their alma mata just like other Alumni Associations all over the world,has vowed not to rest until the farce is reversed.
As this great citadel sits on the precipice, the fate and future of the Igbo generation-next which we represent dances on the line. And with our elders as represented by Ohanaeze Ndigbo failing to act or at best acting in calculated steps, we have decided to take up the gauntlet in this struggle aimed at putting things in their right perspectives in saving the flagship, University of Nigeria Nsukka and Dr Emeka Enejere.
1) That the President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, instruct the Supervising Minister for Education Mr. Nyeso Wike to immediately reverse the unpopular decision of removing Dr. (Sir) Emeka Enejere, announce the immediate removal of Emmnuel Ukala.
2) That Mr. Nyesom Wike and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education Dr. Mac John Nwaobiala should tender unreserved apologies to Dr. Emeka Enejere; this apologies must be published in at least three national dailies and aired on two widely viewed television stations.
3) That the supervising Minister for Education should be immediately removed from office for trivialising that position and using same as an avenue for the gratification of his cronies.
4) The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nigeria Prof Batho Okolo should be relieved of his duties with immediate effect, arrested and investigated by the nation’s anti-graft bodies.
5) That Ohanaeze Ndigbo should as a matter of urgency stand up in defence of one of our own, and make representations to the President.
If any these demands are not met within one week of this letter,
1) We shall mobilise Igbo youths and women across Nigeria for an unprecedented demonstration at both the Federal Ministry of Education and the National Assembly.
2) We shall mobilise forces against the re-opening of the University of Nigeria; an action that might spiral into other institutions of higher learning, owing to the strategic importance of the University of Nigeria.
3) We shall see it as a deliberate act of insolence on the generality of Ndigbo with the support of the Presidency, therefore we shall mobilise our cadres for a review of our political stand come 2015.
A stitch in time saves nine
We rest our case.
Ibuchukwu Nwodo. JP
Ohanaeze Youth Wing