In what appears like a deliberate move towards strengthening the unity of the country, the Association of Yoruba Staff of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, has honoured some eminent Nigerians from different ethnic nationalities for their meritorious services to father land and the University Community.
The event, which was first of its kind by the Association, was at the instance of one of them and member Governing Council of NAU, Surveyor Jacob Abiodun Aluko, who has served out his tenure as member of the Governing Council.
Among the award recipients are the Vice Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Professor Charles Esimone, the Chairman, Governing Council of the University, Alhaji Bello Isa Modibo, and member of the Council, Dr Aminu Dukku.
Addressing the gathering after receiving the award, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Esimone, hailed the sterling qualities of Surveyor Aluko, who he noted had distinguished himself in the service of the university.
“Surveyor Aluko is a great son of Yoruba land, a great son of Nigeria and a great son of Africa. He has made his marks in the university here as a dependable ally. We will definitely miss his service. But, he must move on.
The Vice Chancellor appreciated the initiative of the Yoruba staff to form a formidable union and charged them to closely monitor the activities of members to ensure that they are not involved in unethical activities that can tarnish the image of the association.
“Don’t allow any of your members who may not align with the general ideal of the association to give you a bad name. No one should be involved in exam malpractice, admission or employment racketeering.
“But, think of one thing you want to do for the university that will be named after your association. We can source for fund. I will give approval for such move. With such project, your association will be remembered forever. I promise to support you in any way I can”. Esimone assured.
Responding on behalf of the Chairman, Governing Council, Dr Dukku appreciated the Association of Yoruba staff for keeping alive the spirit of oneness and unity, at a time national unity is under threat.
In a remark, the man of the moment, Surveyor Aluko, expressed profound gratitude to the Association of Yoruba Staff of UNZIK for honouring him in such an unusual manner, even as he noted with joy that the number of Yoruba staff has increased within the four years of his tenure.
Surveyor Aluko encouraged them to be of good behavior, even as he pledged to always assist them anytime he is called upon.
“I thank God, who has made this day possible. I am overwhelmed by this honour. I also thank the Vice Chancellor of this great university. He is a perfect gentleman, very willing to help at any time.
“I am not leaving the service to our fatherland, I have been appointed into the governing council of the University of Uyo. I promise to remain relevant to you. Please, be of good conduct as you keep the flag flying here”.
Earlier in an address of welcome, a member of the association, Professor Helen Adebola, noted that the resolution to honour Surveyor Aluko with a send-forth programme, was in appreciation of his undying support and encouragement to the association, during his tenure as board member between 2017 and 2021.
Professor Adebola also thanked the Vice Chancellor, professor Esimone, for ensuring that the spirit of federal character is established in the university.
“One of the aims of this association is to promote mutual understanding, love and progress among members. Today, we are gathered here to celebrate and honour our father, His Excellency Surveyor Jacob Abiodun Aluko for his encouragement, undying support, guidance and counsel”.
“Some years back, hardly would you see another ethnic group within the university community. But, when our Vice Chancellor came in the atmosphere changed. We now have different ethnic groups – Yoruba, Hausa, Edo, Delta among others within the university community”.