According to Charles C. Colton, “Constant success shows us but one side of the world; adversity brings out the reverse of the picture”.
Since assumption of Office, 1st December, 2015, as the 7th Substantive Vice-Chancellor, Abia State University, *Distinguished Professor E. Uche Ikonne*, has left no one in doubt about his Vision and Mission of taking the University to the pinnacle in the comity of Universities in Nigeria and beyond, as encapsulated in his 19-page well articulated document: *”My Mandate: Our Story Must Change*
Ranked 93rd among Universities in Nigeria, on assumption of Office, ABSU is now ranked 27th and 2nd Best State University. On the Employability of its graduates, ABSU is rated 17th in Nigeria.
Other notable achievements of the *Professor E. Uche Ikonne* led Administration include:
🔸 Improved Academic content/Introduction of hitherto unattainable Academic programmes;
🔸 Regular payment of full salaries, when other Universities (Federal and State), were paying certain percentage of Staff salaries;
🔸 National and International collaborations;
🔸 Infrastructural Development;
🔸 Revival of Inaugural Lecture series from 19th (1981-2015), to 55th (Dec. 2015-2020)- 35;
🔸 Conduct of Maiden Alumni Convocation Ceremony, a novelty in University Administration in Nigeria;
🔸 Unprecedented 3½years of Uninterrupted Academic Activities;
🔸 Improved Staff and Students welfare, culminating in the Award of “Best Performing Vice-Chancellor, South East, on Staff Welfare and Development”. etc.
As the University was cruising to its Eldorado, suddenly came the deadly and satanic pandemic, the Covid-19, hitherto unthinkable, unimaginable, with its attendant global financial and health challenges; the centre could no longer hold; Staff salaries were uncharacteristically in arrears; Schools were closed, thereby blocking all avenues of Internally Generated Revenue and the Staff Unions agitated.
Thank God for the timely intervention of the Scholar-in-Governance, Eminent Governor, Abia State and Visitor to the University, *Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, Ph.D*, who promptly approved bail out for the University to meet some of her challenges.
In approving the Bail out, the Governor stated that “he is mindful of the fact that the University has remained a strong Model in Resources Management and maintenance of Academic stability. The Governor, “notes with pride, that the University, has since, the inception of his Administration remained a sign post for Excellence and Service, which has manifested in the consistent improvements in the rating of the University by Independent assessment agencies in the Country”. Nothing can be more reassuring and heartwarming, as this.
Kudos to the dependable and pragmatic support by the star-studded University Governing Council, ably led by the Chairman and Pro-Chancellor, one of the finest, scholarly and trusted Administrators, *His Excellency Senator Adolf Wabara, Ph.D.* The Council and Management have left no stone unturned at improving Staff Welfare and Promotion of Academicism in the University.
Very few will argue that Abia State University is better today because of the sagacity, rare Leadership qualities and Uncommon achievements of this Internationally celebrated Optometrist and “Ugo Mmuta of Abia State”, with the support of Management and the Governing Council.
This Global Economic challenge, which is not peculiar to Abia State University, calls for sober reflection, patience, understanding, innovativeness and prayers. *To “Jaw-Jaw” is better than “War-War”*. Together, we can achieve more for our dear Children, the Institution and Posterity.
*Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do.*
ABSU is surely and steadily on the path to unimaginable Progress and Prosperity.