By Ingram Osigwe
January 5th was a day to remember in Urualla, headquarters of Ideato North local government area of Imo state. The town was agog with twin epoch events: Thanksgiving mass for the 82nd birthday celebration of the pioneer Vice-Chancellor of Imo State University, Professor T.O.C Ndubuizu as well as for the success of the surgery he had abroad recently and the inaugural lecture of the Sir Tony Ezenna Lecture series.
The inaugural lecture was part of the events lined up for Professor Ndubuizu’s birthday celebration and it attracted important personalities from all walks of life, including Imo State Governor, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, former Anambra State governor and the PDP vice presidential candidate in the 2019 presidential election, Mr. Peter Obi, former governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim.
Others are; Minister of State for Education, Mr. Emeka Nwajiuba, Member representing Orlu/Orsu and Oru East in the House of Representatives, Hon Jerry Alagboso, Managing Director, The Sun Publishing Ltd, Mr. Onuoha Ukeh, Hon Jones Onyeriri Jones Onyeriri, SA Political to Gov Ihedioha, Commissioner for information, Barr Felix Ebiliekwe, Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Barr Chijioke Nzekwe, Dr Rufus Omeire, Chairman, Imo state Hospital management board, Rt. Hon. Prince Obinna Okwara, Chairman of Swift Networks, Mr. Charles Anudu, VC IMSU, Prof. Adaobi Obasi, SA to Governor Ihedioha on Trade and investment, Chief Chineme Iheaku, Hon Ernest Njesi (Chairman, interim management committee, Ideato North L.G.A), Hon Okey Dike, Barr Osita Mbamalu, Engr Chikata Egboluche, Mr. Chukie Gboneme, Dr Chris Okafor, Hon Larry Ajero and Dr. Chijioke Anozie, Prince Ferdinand Akano (President IMSUA), etc.
The inaugural lecture anchored by Ace comedian and TV presenter, Okey Bakassi and Okwuru-oha witnessed Business moguls like Chief Val Onwughalu (Bhulenth Investment Ltd), Chief Val Ozigbo, Sir Eddie Muomenam, Chief Jonathan Uzor Okafor (Jonex Nig ltd), Owelle Chukwudi Ofoedu (Brillance Nig Ltd), Chief Ifeanyi Ojimba (Transtel Suites and hotels), Chief Canice Nnabara (Macans Global Services Ltd), Chief Jerry Chukwueke (Germaine Group of Companies), Chief Sam Ihionu (Divine Success), Chief Chidi Chiege (Natdora International Inc), Chief Willy Obi (Obison Home mate Explorers), Chief Canice Udokoro, Chief Luke Okeke (Koil investments), Chief Val Nzekwe (Eze Udo)
The traditional institution was visible through the like of HRH Eze Cletus Ilomuanya (Obi of Obinugwu) and HRH Eze Eddie Anyanwu (Ezuo Mbu Umuezuo, Umuokirika Mbaise. PG of Owerre-Akokwa, Chief John Ihebighi also graced the event.
The guest lecturer and President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. John Nia Nwodo was at his best as he held the audience spellbound with his oratory skill.
Armed with the lecture topic: “What Matters Most Must not be at the Mercy of What Matters Least”, Nwodo was masterful in his dissection of what ills Nigeria’s education sector.
He was even more superb and authoritative in proffering solutions.
As the Ohanaeze boss spoke, there was pin-drop silence as the audience listened with rapt attention. Then, soon, the eerie silence was broken by intermittent cheers.
Then head bowed, lips moved and hands clapped in an agreement of Nwodo’s enriching, brilliant and engaging submission.
After the guest speaker’s scintillating presentation, Governor Ihedioha mounted the podium and addressed some of the points raised by him (Dr. Nwodo). The Governor promised to equip all secondary schools in the state with science equipment.
He also promised to erase Imo of the locust years.
The Tony Ezenna lecture series is one of the steps the Orange Drug Chairman has over the years taken to promote intellectualism, encourage learning, enrich knowledge and support improvements in the education sector.
Notedly, Ezenna makes huge philanthropist contributions to the advancement of education in Nigeria, particularly in the Ideato nation.
He has awarded numerous scholarships, renovated avalanche of schools, built from scratch many more and donated teaching aids.
Sir Ezenna spares nothing in ensuring that education gets to his beloved Ideato. His desire is to see every Ideato child in school.
Consequently, he has rebuilt many schools and classroom blocks in Ideato, including Akokwa High school, National High school Ndizuogu, Secondary school Ntueke, Bishop Shanaham secondary school Orlu, Cor Marie High School, Urualla among others.
Essentially, it was Professor Ndubuizu’s day. And the day started with a church service at Urualla. St Peter’s Catholic officiated by Bishop Augustine Ukwuoma. Also present was the Emeritus Bishop of Orlu Diocese, Gregory Ochiagha.
After the Thanksgiving mass, service all roads then led to the council headquarters, Urualla for reception and kick-off of the Sir Tony Ezinna lecture series.
Earlier, Ijele Akokwa, Sir Tony Ezenna, had welcomed all the guests, thanking them for sparing their time to honour one of the finest sons of the Ideato Nation, the pioneer VC of Imo state University, IMSU, who had a successful surgery and just turned 82.
Sir Ezenna enjoyed parents to re-orientate the value system and place emphasis on education.