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Former Enugu Governor, Nwodo, Makes Strong case for Indigenous UNN VC

A former Governor of Enugu State, His Excellency, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, yesterday, 2nd of May 2024, made one of the strongest cases for an indigenous Vice Chancellor for the University of Nigeria Nsukka. 

The former Governor was hosted as a Guest at the Arise Television Morning program, "Morning Show".

Responding to questions during the event, Chief Nwodo lamented that 64 years after the university was built and sited in Nuskka, Enugu State, that an Nsukka Man has not been allowed or appointed to occupy the prestigious position of Vice Chancellor of the University. 

Nwodo who was however, former national Chairman of the then ruling peoples Democratic Party (PDP), regretted that Nsukka Zone, also known as 'Enugu North Senatorial Zone', which has produced over 200 qualified professors, is yet to produced vice chancellor of the University.

Excerpts from the interview reads:

"The University of Nigeria Nsukka was the first indigenous University to be built in Nigeria and it started admitting students in 1960. At that time, the University of Ibadan was just University college of the London University. It was in 1962 that it became an indigenous university in Nigeria. Now going down 64 years from the time the University of Nigeria Nsukka was founded, nobody from the Enugu North Senatorial District has been Vice-chancellor, and our people are beginning to feel that this is a form of marginalization, because as I speak, Nsukka senatorial district has over 200 professors and in the last four efforts to find a vice chancellor they have come second on the list, in fact one of them later became vice chancellor of Enugu State owned university. 

"So, it is not that they are not qualified to become a vice chancellor, but somehow it has eluded us and we have as a host community cooperated with all the Vice chancellors that have been there. 

"But, our people are beginning to feel is it after 100 years of existence that they become vice-chancellor.

"If you check all the federal Vice-chancellors in Nigeria, the Vice-Chancellors not only come from the states but from the geographical location of the university and this is true for over 90% of our federal universities. 

"But, you see i have an experience when somebody from Enugu State was an acting vice chancellor and had been a deputy in the university of Technology in Owerri and he had applied for the position of vice chancellor. He informed me and I lobbied for him to be appointed, but there was a stiff opposition from owerri imo state that they can never have a Vice-chancellor who is not from their state, and in spite of his qualifications and having risen from lecturer to professor and deputy Vice-Chancellor, he could not be appointed. So that is exactly what is happening in our country. 

"The Normal thing in the academic environments of a university is to appoint a vice chancellor on merits from any part of the world that is the right thing to do you look for the best candidates from any part of the globe and that happened when the University of Nigeria was founded.

"You recall that it was through the efforts of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the then Premier of Eastern Nigeria in collaboration with the University of Michigan in United States of America in 1955, that was when the university was conceived but admitted students in 1960. And the first Vice-Chancellor was from United States of America, and he was also succeeded by an American and they set the standard for Nsukka, very high standard, and the indigenous Nigerian Vice chancellors that succeeded them were extremely brilliant professors, and they have also done very well.

"So it is not that we want the rules to be changed but that we are simply making a plea and lobbying as would any qualified person or group that an indigenous person is also worthy of being the VC of University of Nigeria Nsukka.",  he concluded.

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