AN ADDRESS BY THE VICE-CHANCELLOR OF PAUL UNIVERSITY, VEN. PROF UCHE ISIUGO-ABANIHE AT THE 9TH MATRICULATION OF UNDERGRADUATES AND 23RD MATRICULATION OF POSTULANTS, PAUL UNIVERSITY, AWKA ON THURSDAY, 7TH MARCH 2019.
The Proprietor of Paul University, The Most Rev Dr Emmanuel O. Chukwuma, OON
Interim Chairman, Board of Trustees, Hon Justice Benjamin Ahanonu Njemanze
Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Engr. (Sir) Chris Okoye
Distinguished members of BOT and Governing Council
Our Guest Speaker, Prof Uche Ikonne, VC Abia State University/ Council member
The Acting Registrar, Mr Churchill Adimora
The Bursar, Sir Simon Nnoli
The Acting University Librarian, Dr (Mrs) Mercy U. Nwegbu
Dean, Faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences Prof Emesi Katchy
Dean, Faculty of Management and Social Sciences, Assoc Prof. Ugochukwu Nzewi
Acting Dean, Faculty of Arts, Dr Levi Izuakor
Director of the Institute of Theology, Rt Rev Prof Anthony Nkwoka
Director of Academic Programme, Prof E.I.E. Ofodile
Coordinator, General Studies Programme, Mr Ifeanyi Ezeaku
Acting Dean of Students, Ven Dr Gilbert Madubuike
Acting Dean of the Postulants, Rev Peter Ndubueze
Heads of Department
Lecturers of all cadres
Other Staff of Paul University
Other Students of Paul University
Parents and Guardians
Gentlemen of the Press
Ladies and Gentlemen
AN ADDRESS BY THE VICE-CHANCELLOR OF PAUL UNIVERSITY, VEN. PROF UCHE ISIUGO-ABANIHE AT THE 9TH MATRICULATION OF UNDERGRADUATES AND 23RD MATRICULATION OF POSTULANTS, PAUL UNIVERSITY, AWKA ON THURSDAY, 7TH MARCH 2019
We give immense thanks and praises to the Almighty God for enabling us to see this auspicious day. Indeed, we joyfully declare that this is the day the Lord has made, and certainly, we will rejoice and be glad in it. May the Lord, Who, in His mercy and love, brought all of us here, take preeminence in this ceremony and rule and reign in our lives in the precious name of Jesus Christ.
We are delighted to welcome the matriculating students, both undergraduates and postulants, who collectively are the reason for the occasion. Without you, the ceremony will certainly not take place; so we thank you for making our day! With pleasure, I also welcome your parents, guardians and friends, who are here to see you reach this milestone in your lives. We also heartily welcome the dignitaries of Paul University, the Proprietor, the Pro-Chancellor and BoT and Council members.
To the matriculating undergraduates, you are indeed lucky to be among those who have gained admission to the Nigerian university system this year. On average, only about 26 per cent of applicants to Nigerian universities were admitted in the past five years; 74 percent of applicants were denied admission. This translates to about 6 million applicants who were denied admission due to shortage of space and capacities in the existing 170 universities in the country, comprising 43 Federal universities, 48 state-owned and 79 universities owned by private or corporate bodies.
Secondly, you should count yourselves lucky to be admitted into a faith-based University, such as Paul University, because you are going to leave the university, in four years, not only sound in learning and character, as all universities claim, but also sound spiritually, socially, emotionally and physically. This rounded educational development for the total man, touching his body, soul and spirit, is the bed-rock of the Paul University approach.
The Total Man concept is a unique and holistic concept of human development that is novel in the Nigerian university system. The fundamental and foundational philosophy of the Total Man Concept is premised on accessing the total make-up of man, from the spirit, soul and body dimensions. The essence is to prepare and equip students of Paul University with the relevant life skills and mind-set which will provide anchorage for them as they wade through the tidal waters of life and everyday living with its attendant challenges.
Paul University is anchored on core values of spirituality, excellence, diligence, and moral rectitude, and aims to be an enviable institution, a model for faith-based universities in the country, with predictable academic calendar and highly dedicated staff, and producing enterprising graduates, future leaders who would drive development, enterprise and the Ministry of God in the country.
The philosophy of the University is “Honest service is loyalty to God” which epitomized the life and ministry of our Patronal Saint, Paul of Tarsus, unarguable, the greatest evangelist ever lived, through whose ministry the Gospel of Christ spread to Europe and thence Africa. For us, this philosophy is derived from a genuine desire to provide an additional dimension to the Nigerian tertiary educational environment by inculcating in the youth the virtues of patriotism, discipline, creativity, honest service, loyalty to God and man, and other Christian virtues. As a result, we aim to produce here highly dedicated and resourceful men and women, who would be willing to provide services and innovations with available resources, at the highest level of efficiency, wherever and whenever duty calls, in line with the University’s motto of “Ecce ego mite me” (Here am I, send me).
The Christian virtues enunciated above are obviously most applicable to our matriculating postulants, who are being prepared for a higher calling in God’s vineyard. The Institute of Theology of Paul University offers you a unique environment for pastoral formation and will prepare you as tested shepherds of God’s flock. Has God really called you? Remember, “no man takes this honour to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.” (Heb 5:4). If this is of God, it will surely come to pass gloriously, because He Who has called you is faithful, Who also will do it! (1Thess. 5:24).
Dear matriculants, many of you are leaving your homes for the first time, and for the first time you don’t have your parents to guide or instruct you. The University confers the air of freedom on students; they make their choices without the guidance of parents or siblings. Many students like this aspect of university life. But what you end up with as you pass through the University depends on the choices you make starting from today. We, the VC, lecturers and administrators, are here in loco parentis to help you make better choices and truly emerge worthy in learning and character.
As a faith-based University, Paul University has zero-tolerance for all anti-social behaviours. We have suspended or rusticated a number of students for cultic tendencies, alcohol use, examination malpractices, drug use, smoking, immoral behaviours, stealing and fighting. We hold the spirituality of our students in high regard, and as such we punish students who fail to attend morning and evening devotions, Wednesday mid-week service, and Sunday services. All these are designed to make you a well-rounded individual; and this is consistent with what every good parent desires for his/her children. We are confident that you will leave Paul University a better person, well-endowed intellectually, spiritually and socially.
Once again, I congratulate you, the matriculating students, and wish you a happy and fulfilled stay at Paul University. By the grace of God, you will be great and well-accomplished men and women in whose hands the future of this country and the Church of God rests.
Permit me to express our gratitude to our father-in-God, Most Rev Dr Emmanuel O. Chukwuma, (OON), Proprietor of Paul University, for finding time to come for this function. We are also grateful to the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Engr. Sir Chris Okoye, not only for being present here, but also for his vision to reposition the University as a great citadel of learning. May God breathe His breath on these plans and efforts that they will blossom to the advantage of this institution. We want to appreciate the Lord Bishop of Awka Diocese, Rt. Rev Dr. Alex Ibezim, for his immense support and commitment to Paul University all these years.
Finally, I want to thank our Guest Speaker, Professor Uche Ikonne, for finding time to prepare and present this lecture at short notice. We appreciate you Sir. Apart from being a member of the Governing Council of this University, you are an ardent Anglican, and indeed a friend of Paul University.
I wish all our guests God’s travelling mercies. God bless and keep you all.
Ven. Prof Uche C. Isiugo-Abanihe
March 7, 2019