Barely nine years of its establishment, God­frey Okoye University, Enugu, makes a re­markable mark in the annals of university education in the country, write MAURICE OKAFOR/ANDREW UDEH.

Though the 4th convo­cation ceremony of Godfrey Okoye Uni­versity, Enugu, (GO), held on Saturday, February 25, 2017, has come and gone, the attractions and activi­ties which characterized the seven-day event will remain memorable in the minds of many people.

Established nine years ago by the Catholic Diocese of Enugu, the university has no doubt, made a remarkable mark in the annals of univer­sity education in the country. The sound moral dis­cipline and behavioural conduct of the students are products of the religious re­birth undergone by every student of the university. To a large extent, this unique culture has raised the quality and character of the products of Godfrey Okoye University on the positive side. No doubt, the institution is noted as one of the best citadel of learning, both in Science and Arts, the first of it’s kind established by the Catholic church in Africa.

Obviously, through the un­daunted efforts and commit­ment of the Vice Chancellor Rev Father Prof. Christian Anieke with spiritual sup­port from the Catholic Dio­cese of Enugu, the Godfrey Okoye University is compa­rable to the ‘Biblical mustard seed’ that matured into a huge tree - providing shelter and succour to various birds under a decade.

The vision and mission of its founding fathers centered on ‘Unity is Knowledge’ has remained the guiding prin­ciple and policy of the insti­tution.

Therefore, it is not sur­prising that Nigerians from all walks of life are accom­modated both as staff and students of Godfrey Okoye University, foreigners and missionaries inclusive.

To a large extent, the 4th convocation ceremony of the university was extraordi­nary. It was jam-packed with social, spiritual, cultural and academic celebrations.

Even though the award of degrees to the 2015/2016 graduates of the university, and honorary degrees to three distinguished Nigeri­ans at the convocation arena of the university, located at ‘Thinkers’ Corner, Enugu, was the climax of the 4th Convocation ceremony, the university’s 3rd inaugural lecture delivered by Mon­signor Prof. Obiora Ike, and the creativity/cultural day celebrations that pre­ceded the convocation, were unique and exceptional.

Three distinguished Nige­rians in various fields of en­deavour were found worthy to be awarded honorary de­grees during the university’s 4th convocation ceremony.

They were Dr. Vitalis Nnamdi Ozonweke, popu­larly known as ‘Andy Young, Hon. Patrick Asadu, mem­ber representing Igboeze North/South Federal Con­stituency in the House of Representatives, and Chief Cosmas Agu, a well-known businessman.

Dr. Ozonweke was award­ed the ‘Doctor of Business Management [Honoris Cau­sa] of Godfrey Okoye Uni­versity in appreciation of his legendary humanitarian ser­vices to the society, especial­ly in terms of providing suc­cour to the less-privileged and human empowerment.

The university also found him worthy for the award -having provided social amenities such as pipe borne water, rural road roads and electricity to his immediate community, Mgbagbu Owa, in Ezeagu Local Govern­ment Area of Enugu state.

The Catholic Church had always enjoyed his largesse in the execution of its capital projects. Also, many youths are beneficiaries of his schol­arship scheme.

Dr. Ozonweke told The AUTHORITY that the award will encourage him to render more humanitarian services to his community and the church as much as he can.

“The whole duty of man is to serve God and humanity,” said Dr. Ozonweke.

Friends and well wishers who accompanied him to Godfrey Okoye University for the award were later en­tertained at his Enugu resi­dence.

While Hon Patrick Asadu, received the award of Doc­tor of Biochemistry (honoris causa) Chief Cosmas Agu, was bestowed with an award of Doctor of Business Man­agement [honoris Causa] for his contributions towards uplifting the cause of man­kind.

The fascinating aspect of the 4th convocation cer­emony stems from the fact that the best students from each of the departments in the various faculties of Education, Management and Social Sciences, Natu­ral and Applied Sciences etc received categories of cash awards from the manage­ment of the institution.

The Vice Chancellor Rev Prof. Christian Anieke, ini­tiated the cash award as a means of inspiring the uni­versity students to work very hard in their respective fields of study.

The overall best student Miss Chioma Cynthia Nne­bedum, received the vice chancellor’s cash award of two hundred thousand naira [N200,000]

Nnebedum, from all in­dications, will ever count herself as a worthy ambas­sador of the university as she is also the beneficiary of the ten thousand US dollars cash award for the best overall student of Godfrey Okoye University, which came from the former Cross River state governor, Dr Donald Duke.

She thanked God for turning her a millionaire within a twinkle of an eye, even as she expressed pro­found gratitude to the vice chancellor, the management and staff of the university, for providing a convivial, disci­plined and enabling studying environment .

Delivering the 4th Con­vocation lecture – with the theme ‘This is your time, season’ - on Friday, February 24, 2017 - Dr. Duke, charged the graduands to put the knowledge acquired from the university into practice as they begin another jour­ney of their life.

He further advised them to initiate ideas and work hard on achieving set objec­tives, stating that “there are still bountiful opportunities of success in Nigeria.”

The former governor said: “Our world today is a school based on every brain, and an untrained brain is a drain to the society… He who dares, wins.”

He charged them to think of the unique quality they have that could add value to life and utilize them.

Thereafter, Dr. Duke was accompanied by the vice chancellor, the Chairman Board of Trustees, Prof. Bar­tho Okolo, the Enugu state Commissioner for Health, Dr Hycianth Ngwu, among others to commission the newly renovated medical laboratory of the institution, named after Dr Hycianth Ngwu.

The Deputy Governor of Enugu state, Hon. Mrs. Ce­celia Ezeilo, who stood in for Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, assured the vice chancellor that government would re­construct the road leading to the university’s permanent site at Ugwuomu Nike.

Another important feature of the week-long ceremony was the 3rd Inaugural lec­ture of the institution de­livered by Rev. Monsignor Prof. Obiora Francis Ike, on Thursday, February 23, 2017.

Speaking on the topic, “Integrating ethics in higher Education...The Imperative of value- based formation of future leaders,” Prof. Ike expressed the pressing need for Nigerian Universities to churn out quality products both in character and intel­ligence.

He described education as being at the centre of every human settlement and nec­essary for character forma­tion for the youths.

According to him” “‘Through education, the realization of meaning and purpose in society is achieved, and beneficiaries are empowered to gain more access to opportunities, re­sources and power.” .

He said further that “edu­cation reforms’ remain a pri­ority for almost every coun­try in the world and under such situations; there is the urgency to adapt the world’s educational systems to con­sciously evolve and trans­form in order to support the critical swifts and transitions happening around the globe.

“Through Education, the young and future genera­tions receive knowledge and traditions that help them to enter into the totality of real­ity.”

Prof. Ike advocated the need for every university in the country to be known and identified with certain areas of sterling quality and pro­fessionalism, just as Stan­ford University in California played a pivotal role in the state’s emergence as an ICT capital of the world.

“If we are able to make our Godfrey Okoye University become an internationally recognized center of learn­ing, rather than an institu­tion which churns out large numbers of graduates with fancy degrees, we will be fulfilling our roles as people who understand the role of strategic thinking and stra­tegic action in the 21st cen­tury,” said Prof. Ike.

The week-long activities of the 4th Convocation was heralded on the 3rd and 4th days with creative and cul­tural activities.

Though culture is gener­ally described as a way of life, the management of the institution considers it as a tool for promoting unity and peaceful co existence of the country.

This is against the back­drop that people from all tribes of the country are found in the institution both as students and members of staff.

“We are promoting the dialogue of culture because I want to see people from Northern part of the country communicating and relating peacefully with people from the East/West /Southern part of the country as brothers and sisters. That’s really the essence of establishing and promoting cultural activities in the school,’ said the vice chancellor.

The creativity/cultural day featured traditional dances, costumes and local/native dishes displayed by the stu­dents.

The chairman of Coun­cil of traditional rulers in Enugu state, His Royal Highness, Igwe Lawrence Agubuzor,who was the spe­cial guest of honour on the cultural day commended the management for enthroning cultural activities in the uni­versity.

He also commended the student groups for their various displays, stating that they are promoting the cul­tural heritage of the various tribes in the country.

source: www.authorityngr.com/2017/03/Godfrey-Okoye-University--Raising-the-quality-and-character-of-future-leaders/