It was a moment of reawakening as the University of Nigeria Alumni Association (UNAA) held her 2022 icons’ award celebration themed, “Celebrating the Legacy of the University of Nigeria Alumni Icons”, on Thursday, November 17, 2022, at the Main Banquet Hall of the Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
At the event, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), in Nigeria, Mr Peter Obi, who was the keynote speaker, along with other participants, vowed never to let their alma mater die, while proposing pragmatic ways of making the vision a reality.
“Other schools I passed through as an alumnus, take for instance Oxford, once you google the Oxford Alumni, you see everything and the latest news. You will even see your number. But here we do not have such records. Sometimes, you start arguing with someone about the school you attended. There are many alumni of this school doing well globally. We can contact them, start with us, who are here and willing. Some of us can give one or two million per annum. I can give five to ten. The world is already together through communication and we cannot continue like this.
“I’m sure that Nsuka graduates an average of 5,000 yearly. Let’s just assume that they have graduated 40 sets, and assume they were only 2,000 per set, that is 80,000. If we decide to say that we have 50,000 alumni and each of them is willing to contribute 10,000 naira monthly or 100,000 naira annually, that is 5 billion naira, when multiplied by the 50,000. I am sure that the university does not get up to that, annually, from the federal government,” he observed.
According to the First Lady, Ondo State, Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, the present state of the University of Nigeria is saddening and it will be an abomination to allow the school wallow in that state, as she also noted that she has started working on the renovation of the dilapidated Kwame Nkrumah Hall of the university, as well as ensuring that Ondo state has a branch of the UNAA.
“Sitting down, folding our arms and watch our great citadel of learning depreciate before our very eyes is not acceptable. When they mentioned about the present state of the university, I felt so saddened. I had been there a year ago. What I saw was disheartening. It is a good step in the right direction, summoning some of us to look back and remember the very institution that made us.
“I attended Nsuka when it was at par with Oxford, Harvard and the likes. Those who could not make it to the university, after secondary school, with us, were the ones who went to America. They sought admission in foreign lands because they couldn’t get the requirements, to tell you the standard of university education in Nigeria at the time,” she said.
The National President, UNAA, Lady Doris Okoroh, PhD, in an exclusive interview with CEO Africa, expressed her expectation as well as gratitude to the members of the association, for their promise of commitment; she had earlier spoken extensively on the project the association is embarking on, which is the building of an alumni centre, estimated at 600 million naira.
The immediate past National President, UNAA, Sir Ben Okoronkwo, in an interview with CEOAFRICA, expressed optimism that the alumni of the school are equal to the task.