An extemporaneous speech by the Acting Vice Chancellor, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Professor Kate Azuka Omenugha FNIPR, during an interactive session with all students of the University on December 8, 2023

Greatest Nigerian Students!!!

My dear beloved students,

I have come to present myself to you, so that you can see your Acting Vice Chancellor in her full element. I have come with some of the principal officers of the University, the dean of student affairs and the Managing Director of ICT Agency in Anambra. I have come with the MD of ICT Agency because he will be sharing with us some of the things we have for the students on ICT. Technology is the way to go and from day one we want to bring you on board so that together, we reap the benefits of Technology.

We therefore seek your support and cooperation in driving some of our programmes, some of which will be disruptive. You cannot be doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. We are going to work closely with students to assist in making changes. I have had a meeting with the Students’ Union Government – SUG, and shared with them our desire to use your energy, skills and drive to institute reforms. We are conscious of our multi campuses and will carry all along. We are particularly interested in our environment. Please do not mess up the environment. Do not litter. I made that point clear when you turned up en masse to welcome me to the university, but littered the environment with cans of water and all manner of things. I thank your president for taking the lead to clean up when I expressed displeasure. That’s leading by example. But going forward, help and keep our environment clean. We are going to have in place, the student police and policing. Details of this will be worked out and fully implemented. There are many things we do not know about you and the university at the moment. We rely on you to tell us your ideas, pains, joys and experiences in the university. We will be sending out Google forms to students to gauge the situation. We have provided you today with suggestions box where you can place your concerns. I shall read them myself and address the issues as they arise. We shall also give out the COOU HOTLINE. This is for students to send their complaints to. Please do not call the line. Only text messages. We will not like you to abuse this chance. Use it responsibly. If you have been following our activities since we assumed office, I have made it clear that we will fight to end every form of abuse of students. I shall rise to defend students who are victimised. But you need to do your own part. There are two things about being a student; you can decide to be a student in the real sense of the word. But you can also decide to be a non-academic student; those who fail their courses and whileaway their time.

Many of you were in secondary school when I was the Commissioner for Education. We drove some dictum. We normally say that nothing is impossible! I do not accept failure. Yes we can. That is the spirit. It is a bit disappointing that many of us do not know our University song. Please I insist we learn the song and understand the words. That way you key into the vision of the university. I understand that many of us at Uli campus have not been attending lectures because of security challenges. We are thinking of blended teaching and learning to address the lacuna while the security challenges are battled. Do well to cooperate with us by getting computer literate. We shall do all we can to provide support. And let me tell you, Mr. Governor, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo is determined to give you an education that is comparable to any in the world. And what I am here to do is to drive that, so that you are able to get that. But we cannot do these things alone. You need to do your own bit. You need to pay your fees on time. You need to make sure you don’t belong to any cultic group. You need to make sure you are disciplined. Part of what we want to do is to make you develop passion for university. Share the university song in various platforms so that you can learn that and sing it with passion and reverence.

Make sure that you report any form of intimidation, any form of abuse, any form of disenchantment, any form of people trying to take advantage of you, you report that appropriately. Please avoid examinatom malpractices of all sorts. You will end up destroying your future. I also came here with a drama acted by our secondary school students called the “Little Scar”, it’s on examination malpractice and the dangers; acted by teenagers. We shall be distributing them to you. Please find time to watch it. We are moving the deadline for school fees payment from December 10 to a date in January. We shall communicate a new date to you and that will be sometime in January. But you must pay your fees. We are training you both in character and learning. Since I came here, I have been engaging a whole lot of critical stakeholder, and I tell you, this gathering here is the most important and the most critical stakeholder in this university. Without you, we can’t be here. If you listen to what I have been saying, I have said that I will rise up and protect you from any form of harm, but you must do something in return and pay your fees appropriately. You have talked about banks, we are going to have negotiations with some banks to see if more can come here. It depends on how it goes. You have talked about water, those of you living in the hostel, if you are observant, you will know that there are some people working on your water now. It was yesterday evening that somebody saw some students carrying jerry cans and bucket, and I said, “it’s unacceptable”. Dean of Students’ Affairs, can you give them update on what we are doing about the water? Dean said, by this evening, you will have water. You have my line. If you don’t have water by this night, please, send me a text on the hotline.

We will work to have a functional SUG and ensure we have more social lifeban and extracurricular activities.

As we come to the end of this interaction, I wish to encourage you to work hard. Do not accept failure. Put God first in all you do. I wish you a very fruitful journey in our University.

May God bless all of us.

Thank you very much.

Recording and Transcription: Ebuka Onyekwelu

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