FEATURE ARTICLE

Prof. Herbert EzeWednesday, April 19, 2017
hmezefom@gmail.com


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MATRICULATION EVENT AT LISBON UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, IFAKALA, MBAITOLI, OWERRI

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he siren sounded from afar and later close enough for people who were packed full in the auditorium which hosted the first matriculation exercise of Lisbon University College to sense that an august visitor was approaching the university campus with his entourage. It was on Tuesday, 28 March, 2017.

Soon the campus was tense with traditional music and people from different walks of life who accompanied the prospective chairman of the board of trustees alighted from various vehicles which formed the encourage.


Pic: Some members of staff at Lisbon University College (LUC)

There were five traditional rulers including two emirs from northern Nigeria, the emir of Katsina and the emir of Daura. Nolly Wood personalities were among the entourage. Among them also was a commissioner of police and many security men including women. Praise singing welcoming the august visitor was both in Ibo and Hausa, and this continued with blowing of trumpet and the local Ibo pipe (Oja) as Chief Okonkwo was being ushered into the auditorium until he was properly seated.

Chief Dr. Ken O Okonkwo, as I learned, is the chief security officer of the governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Dr. Willie Obiano. He recently got a meritorious award from the Nigeria Senate as the best security officer in the nation. Dr. Okonkwo is from Anambra State. He had his education both in Nigeria and America where he did undergraduate and graduate studies in Criminology and Psychology.

In his records are several achievements in combating crime. He holds the traditional title of Aguneche- Igbo of South East Nigeria. (The lion that watches the Igbos of the South-East, Nigeria). Today, he is being installed as Chairman, Board of Trustees (B.O.T) by Lisbon University College of Management Technology, Mbaitoli, Owerri. The inauguration of the first trustees board of Lisbon University began as soon as Dr. Ken arrived with his entourage, and he was subsequently installed as chairman of the board.

It was a colorful occasion and things unfolded as planned in the programme. The dressing of the Chairman B.O.T with academic gown, hood and cap with tassle was done by some leading professors of the university and other professors who were invited for the event. There was a big hand of applause as he was presented to the audience, and praise singers did their work superfluously in English language, Igbo and Hausa accompanied with musical instruments.

Next, the Principal Consultant of Lisbon, Dr. Peter I. Ahiwe passed the chairman's award to Professor Herbert M. Eze (Lisbon's Chief Consultant on UNN Affiliation and N.U.C. matters) who presented the Chairman with a meritorious award for his great achievements and services Following this, in his capacity as the newly installed Chairman B.O.T , Chief Okonkwo, presented awards to other awardees in the occasion which include H.R.H Eze M.A.E Ekerue, the Eze of Ifakala (where the University is resided); H.R.H. Igwe Joel M. Egwuonwu of Umuawulu; H.R. H. Igwe (Sir) K. C. Onyekwuluje of Umunya; The Emir of Katsina, Alhaji (Dr) Abdulmumini Kabir Usman, CFR; The Emir of Daura, Alhaji (Dr) Umar Farouk. CON; CP Adeleye O. Oyebade, the Commissioner of Police, Abia State Command; CP Sam Okaula, the Commissioner of Police, Anambra Police Command and numerous other people listed, some of whom were not present to receive their award but mentioned.

In his speech after the installation that makes him the first Chairman of the newly inaugurated board of trustees of Lisbon University College of Management Technology (LUC), Dr. Okonkwo congratulated the matriculating students and enjoined them to conform to the academic and moral standards of the College in their own interest and that of their parents and our nation. "When we correct you, it is because we love you. This should make you better citizens for Nigeria, the Chief Security Officer asserted.

An overstatement in his speech that "the Lisbon University College (LUC) is licensed by the NUC to operate as a private university in Nigeria" was noted as an error item. As the attention of the Lisbon management was called to it, they acknowledged it as a serious error and apologized it was a wrong which would have been averted if the paper was vetted before the chairman's speech. The Chairman, until his installation that day as the Chairman of BOT, was an outsider to the University College and would be corrected over this wrong through the appropriate quarters. Affiliation with UNN does not mean licensing by the NUC.

Dr. Okonkwo took on examination malpractices and charged the LUC students "not to indulge in any form of it" and "dare to be different in this area" He said about mobile phones that "they can be a nuisance and waste of your time if you do not know how to manage them well. The time you use to read and send text messages can be used to read your books." One could only imagine how hard the Chief Security Officer would have landed on cultism and other crimes prevalent in many tertiary institutions in Nigeria if he treated them as well.

A thunderous ovation followed after his speech accompanied by praise singing and shouts of "Agu na eche Igbo, South East" spiced with traditional music of different cultures in appreciation of a job well done.

The Master of Ceremony directed that it was time for the matriculating students and staff to be ushered into the auditorium. They were led in a procession as follows: all matriculating students were led by Mrs I.D. Nwankwo, Heads of Departments and other Senior staff led by Rev. E. Elobode, and the Provost's procession was led by Rev.Fr. Dr. T. Akubueze. The procession was in ascending order. Music was played as the procession entered the auditorium. The assembly remained standing until the Provost entered the arena and remained standing until the National Anthem was sung.

The Registrar requested the students to rise for the matriculation oath and led them to repeat the oath following him, after which the Provost said, "Now I admit you formally to the membership of Lisbon University College of Management Technology and enjoin you to live up to the highest standard expected of you." The matriculating students replied loudly in one voice, "We accept the honour with gratitude."

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