It was an emotional moment at the Abia State University (ABSU) Senate Chambers, on Wednesday, 25th November 2020, as the members of senate held a unique and epoch making valedictory session in honor of Distinguished Professor E. Uche Ikonne, the 7th substantive Vice Chancellor of the University for an outstanding and successful tenure in office, between 2015 t0 2020.
As former Vice Chancellors and senior academic of the University took turns to pour encomiums on the outgoing Vice Chancellor, it was obvious that indeed, a visionary and world class academic and administrator, has truly left an enduring legacy in the positive story of Abia State University, and will be remembered as one of the very best Vice Chancellors, the University has ever produced.
Here are some of their comments:
PROFESSOR CHIBUZOR OGBUGU (Former Vice Chancellor ABSU)
“Well done. Well done. And welcome back to the location of wisdom where you belong. Well done.”
Accompanied by another former Vice Chancellor Professor Ogwo E. Ogwo, they both engaged him in an emotional fatherly embrace, signifying a profuse sense of love and pride for a great accomplishment.
PROFESSOR O. M OGBULU (DVC and new VC designate)
“A thousand page book cannot accommodate the great accomplishments and achievements of the Vice Chancellor, Distinguished Professor E. Uche Ikonne in ABSU. He is the kind of academic with an uncommon knack for diligence, excellence and commitment. God will lead him, guide him, protect him, and take him from higher level to another”
PROFESSOR EMMA NGUMOHA (Dean, School of Post Graduate studies. ABSU)
“It was a very seamless working relationship with the Vice Chancellor, because he is a seasoned academic to the core. Teaching is a calling. There are those who are called into the Profession, and there are others who called themselves. Professor Ikonne is one of the very few, who is truly living his calling in the Profession.”
PROFESSOR C.I OGBONNAYA (Chairman, PG Monitoring Committee. ABSU)
“Professor Ikonne is a very dynamic person. His achievements have taken the University to greater heights. He is a Vice Chancellor Emeritus”
PROFESSOR OGBONNA ONUOHA (Director, General studies)
“The Vice Chancellor’s administration was very successful. The various Directors will constantly acknowledge his achievements in the University. History will be fair to him because he has achieved the mandate he set out for his administration, and indeed, our story has changed”
PROFESSOR EZIONYE EBOH (Former Rector, Abia State Polytechnic, Aba)
“The VC is a man committed to the welfare of staff and students of the University. He came, he saw, and he conquered”. It shall be well with him”
And with so many other comments eulogizing the Vice Chancellor, Distinguished Professor E. Uche Ikonne, as an exceptional leader, who is passionate for the educational development of the state, and the country at large, the valedictory senate session lived up to its billing as a unique event, that befits such an outstanding achiever in the person of Professor Ikonne.
Earlier in his address, Distinguished Professor E. Uche Ikonne expressed joy that the valedictory senate session in his honor is coming just immediately after the appointment of a new Vice Chancellor to take over from him, putting to shame the negative speculations of those who do not mean well for the system.
He thanked the Governor and Visitor to the University, Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, PhD, who appointed him and gave him the necessary support during his tenure, the former Governor of the State, and Senator representing Abia Central, Distinguished Senator T. A Orji, who first saw some positive qualities in him to appoint him as the Rector, Abia Polytechnic, Aba on rescue mission. He profusely expressed gratitude to the former Vice Chancellor, Professor Chibuzor Ogbuagu, who brought him into academic and administrative limelight in the University by making him a Deputy Vice Chancellor during his tenure.
While also showing his gratitude to the ABSU senate and various senate committees for their commitment, dedication and support, which saw them having 44 regular sessions before the COVID-19 pandemic, he equally shared some of the achievements of his administration to include;Expansion of the Academic base of the University
Increasing the Inaugural lecture series of the University from 19th it was on assumption of office to 54th, within 4 years
Improved ranking of the University on the webometrics to be the 27th best Nigerian University, and 2nd best State University
Digitization of the administration, admission and result reconciliation
Regular payment of staff salaries before the global pandemic, COVID 19 shut down the entire world
Improved security in the University
Revitalization of the Alumni relationship
Restoration of discipline amongst staff and students of the University, among other achievements which improved the image of the University, resulting in increased admission, robust and uninterrupted academic activity in the University.
He stated that change is a continuous thing and the story of ABSU will continue to change positively, explaining that whatever he did during his tenure was in furtherance of the welfare of the Institution, and anyone he may have offended should find a place of forgiveness in his/her heart.
In conclusion, the revered Academic, Professor E. Uche Ikonne, acknowledged the commitment and support of the former Registrar, Dr (Mrs.) Evelyn Iheukwumere, and used the forum to dispel rumors of any political ambition, stressing that he will still remain in “academics” his primary calling and “As long as God gives him life, he will continue to practice his Profession and contribute his own quota to the development of education in the country” he ended.
The event which earlier opened with a short exhortation and prayers by Reverend Father Pascal Onyemelusi, former chaplain, St Augustine Catholic Church, ABSU, was well attended by members of senate.