Despite the harsh economic realities on the ground, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Charles Okechukwu Esimone, FAS has remained undaunted in effectively attracting huge funds and infrastructural development to the University.
This again was evident on Tuesday, July 26, 2023, at the formal flag-off and groundbreaking ceremony of the one billion naira Student Centre being bankrolled by the Abdul Samad Rabiu (ASR) Africa Initiative.
Speaking at the ceremony, the MD/CEO of ASR Africa, Dr. Ubon Udoh congratulated the University and the Vice-Chancellor for his uncommon drive for infrastructural development and academic excellence.
According to Dr. Udoh, ASR Africa has a commitment of setting aside one hundred million dollars annually of which fifty million dollars is set aside specifically for Nigeria and the remaining $50m for the rest of Africa.
He averred that the Initiative is geared towards bridging the infrastructure deficit in Education within Nigeria and other African Countries.
Dr. Udoh further disclosed that the NUC ranking, the global universities’ ranking as well as developmental strides played a major role in the annual selection of the benefitting universities across the country.
He appraised the quality of leadership in the institution and her academic standing which according to him played a great role in emerging a beneficiary of the project. He also expressed great confidence in the contractor handling the project as the process of bidding was highly rigorous.
In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor expressed his gratitude on behalf of the Governing Council, Management, Senate, staff and students of the University to ASR Africa for selecting UNIZIK as a beneficiary of such a lofty project.
Prof. Esimone recalled that the process which led to the selection of UNIZIK as one of the benefiting institutions was rigorous as well as the bidding process for the construction.
The Vice-Chancellor disclosed that the centre when completed will be iconic considering the architectural masterpiece it embodies including a suspended amphitheatre.
He revealed that the complex would house the Students Affairs unit, and the SUG secretariat including their respective arms, among other features.
Prof. Esimone commended key actors who worked towards the design of the project, notably Architect Okey Ezeobi, whose ideas and innovation would ensure that one of the best architectural edifices in Nigeria and Africa at large will be domiciled in the institution.
He described the ongoing project as a dream come true for students of the institution.
In his remarks, Architect Ezeobi commended ASR Africa for making the dream of an Architectural masterpiece domiciled in Nnamdi Azikiwe University a reality. According to him, this is the only structure in the whole of Nigeria where the amphitheatre is suspended. He congratulated the Vice-Chancellor for this great feat.
On his part, the Dean of Student Affairs, Prof. Chinonso Achebe described the Vice-Chancellor’s love for the students as uncommon. In his words, “When the opportunity came calling, the VC could have chosen any other project but for his love for the students, he went for a project that would create a lasting impression in their hearts”. He thanked ASR Africa for making this tall dream come to fruition.
The SUG President, Comrade Francis Ejikeme in a vote of thanks, commended the Vice-Chancellor and the ASR Africa for their uncommon support to the students of the University.
– Franklin Onwubiko