The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr Peter Obi, and the first lady of Ondo state, Her Excellency, Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, were among the dignitaries that attended the “2022 icons’ award celebration” of the University of Nigeria Alumni Association (UNAA).
Tagged with the theme, “Celebrating the Legacy of the University of Nigeria Alumni Icons”, the historic occasion was held on Thursday, November 17, 2022, at the Main Banquet Hall of the Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The event saw crème de la crème from all walks of life who have passed through the great University of Nigeria, together with their friends and associates.
Obi, who is also an alumnus of the university, was the keynote speaker.
In the keynote address, Peter Obi noted that alumni of Nigerian universities have more roles to play than they have been playing, as he used the UNAA as a case in focus; he further added that the nation is in dire need of rescue to avoid total collapse, noting that the recent report of 67 percent of Nigerians being poor is disgrace to the nation.
“I was in Nsuka two years ago. I challenged the association and said that the alumni association of the university should work differently.
They should be the people building the university’s life.
Alumni association is not a village society, where people just go for age grade. Alumni associations of Nigerian universities are not contributing in building the universities. We are not doing the right thing.
Associations just come once in a year, when we want to hold a gathering like this. It shouldn’t be like that,” he said.
The first lady of Ondo state, Mrs Anyanwu-Akeredolu, while lamenting the challenges of the University of Nigeria, as well as its Alumni Association, stated that the situation is unacceptable; she further added that she has started ensuring that the renovation of the Kwame Nkrumah Hall of the university, which she has chosen to shoulder, is completed.
She also added that vice chancellors of Nigerian universities should not always wait for alumni to donate or contribute money before they could record achievement in their various institutions; she tasked them to see the need for research, development and investing in innovation and renewable energy.
Her Excellency, Dame Patience Faka Jonathan, the immediate past First Lady, Federal Republic of Nigeria, who was represented by Dr Mrs Precious Bello, former Senior Special Adviser to Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan (her husband) on Millenium Development Goals, vowed to be part of the alumni’s multimillion naira building project.
The president of the association, Lady Doris Okoroh, PhD, who thanked all for their contributions, stated that the essence of the Alumni Centre project is to make the presence of the association felt in the school, while urging the icons and other alumni to choose a project that they can execute for the school, themselves, without giving anyone money; she promised that all who take part in the project will have their names inscribed on the Wall of Fame of the university.
Lady (Dr) Doris Okoro, who noted that Mr Obi’s speech two years ago in Nsuka inspired her desire to become the association’s president, thanked the presidential frontrunner, and further sought his collaboration in actualizing the goals of her administration, while adding that she feels fulfilled seeing the interests of alumni in identifying with the giant steps being taken by her administration.
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