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Ikpeazu's triumphant return to ESUT: The stand out moments for me


By John Okiyi Kalu

When Governor Okezie Ikpeazu returned to ESUT yesterday there were two wonderful moments that will be etched in my memory for long. Of course I am supposed to be a strong man without emotions, but those moments hit me big time.

1. When Governor Ikpeazu arrived the auditorium, the VC, Registrar and two others came to welcome him. Hiding behind the VC (pic 1) was a pretty and elegant woman in academic robes, and she was giggling like a girl. But somehow the Governor spotted her and you can't beat the following moment.
Have you ever seen a proud mother welcoming her graduate son from Cambridge UK at the Airport?
If not that my Governor was forming "hard man" I suspect a few tears would have dropped from him, but I saw the eyes of Prof Ethel-Doris Umeh. She was tearful and proud like the mother of a Cambridge graduate.

The guber hug that followed almost took ages and not even the protocol staff of the Governor dare to break it up.
Okay, here is the backstory of the emotional moment: Prof Doris was the Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences who hired Governor Ikpeazu as pioneer HOD of Applied Biochemistry department at ESUT. Then Dr Ikpeazu was to resume as Lecturer 2 but when his appointment letter arrived he was promoted to lecturer 1 on his first day at work. He was also announced as the pioneer HOD of the department.
So you can imagine how the Governor and the elegantly brilliant and bold Prof Doris felt when they met yesterday.
She wasn't even the person that invited him to her inaugural lecture. Another mutual friend of theirs told the Governor of her inaugural lecture (she is the first female Prof ever to hold an inaugural lecture at ESUT) and he decided to be there for her.
That moment of their meeting touched me "biggly" (apologies to Trump) because I saw a proud "mother" and "son" who has done well locked in an embrace that said "you are my heroine" and "my son you have made me proud".
2. Before the arrival of the Governor to ESUT, the national anthem was played to signal the commencement of the event, after the VC and the academic community's colorful procession into the auditorium. But as protocol demands, when the Governor arrived the auditorium to roars of cheers and sustained applause from those at the hall, the national anthem was played again. As is customary at events involving the Governor of Abia State, the Igbo version of Abia State Anthem followed the national anthem.
Aside from those of us from Abia State, the rest of the people were apparently pleasantly surprised as we chorused our beautiful anthem and sang along with Governor Ikpeazu. It took a little while for many at the hall to understand what was happening and I heard the academician sitting beside me whisper to his neighbor on the left "that is their state anthem".
Immediately after the Abia anthem was concluded the crowd roared again with deafening claps and cheers in acknowledgement of the beautiful Igbo rendition of Abia State anthem. And then the university PRO, who doubled as the MC, announced to the crowd that actually the Igbo song was Abia State anthem and "hopefully soon Enugu State will compose an anthem like Abia".
Naturally, I was proud of my state and my Governor who gave us that anthem.
On a personal note, meeting my former HOD, Prof (Mrs) A C Okaka, was the 3rd emotional moment. I didn't know she will still remember her best graduating student of 1991 whom she also accidentally reviewed as MSC student at Uniport. Since then we have not had any contact and when she saw me she was all smiles and made one funny comment: "Okiyi you are all grown up". And I responded "mummy it is 26 years after o". Hahahaha

Prof Okaka studied in France and returned with a DSC degree. Yes, doctor of science. She is among very limited number of academics in Nigeria with a DSC instead of PHD degree and I have always been proud of her. When she realized, in my MSC years, that I was among those she was reviewing their Postgraduate thesis at UNIPORT, as external examiner, she laughed and told the other panelists; "so Okiyi is one of your students, expect a Prof soon"
Awuolam my HOD na ala biggly. Ejighi uburu eke abu Professor. Hahahahaha.
Akwukwo na ato uto ma ona ara ahu na nmuta. Let my wife and children continue with "PHD" and "Prof" make I rest my battered old brain maka isi mgbaka.
Privately, I made a few observations about ESUT. I think that school is firmly focused on academic excellence. That much showed in the faces of their students and their dress codes. Every student I saw looked and dressed like somebody at a citadel of learning. No half naked girls and no sagging boys. Even the lecturers appeared decent, old fashioned and very professional, to me.
I highly recommend that you send your children to ESUT without fear or favor. Those managing the institution understand the difference between an academic institution and a big brother house of mpu.
Even CPS Enyinnaya Appolos entered the institution and started writing studiously like a JAMBito. Lekwa Picture evidence make Ndi "Igbiji" claims.
Kudos to the management, staff and students of ESUT. Keep making us proud.