The Management of Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo, FUNAI, has reacted to the renaming of the institution after the late former Vice President of Nigeria, Alex Ekwueme.
Vice President Yemi Osibanjo on Friday in Oko during the burial service of the ex-vice president announced the renaming of the university to honour Mr. Ekweme.
The decision drew some criticisms with some people wondering why the Federal Government did not rename the Federal Polytechnic Oko which Mr. Ekweme founded.
But the management of the institution in a statement on Saturday said it was excited and proud that the school will now be associated with Mr. Ekwueme.
The statement, which was signed by Vice Chancellor of the University, Chinedum Nwajiuba, also gave reasons why the Federal Government did not rename the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, after Mr. Ekwueme.
“Some may ask why not rename the Polytechnic at Oko? That is for those unfamiliar with protocols and rankings in governance. Some may ask why not upgrade Oko to a university? Government is reluctant to have two federal universities in a state,” he said.
Mr. Nwajiuba described Mr. Ekwueme as an excellent man.
“He had at least seven degrees from a diversity of disciplines including Architecture, Law, and Sociology. Of everyone who has had a university named after in Nigeria, he is the most educated, and perhaps most deserving.
“He was at a time Chancellor of the Ebonyi state university. He was an early entrepreneur establishing perhaps the first firm of Architects in Nigeria, in the late 1950s. He went on to establish hotel businesses in Enugu, Owerri, and Abakaliki among others.
“The timing and locations of his hotel may tell something about his Igboness. He built the school that became the Federal Polytechnic Oko, and for decades was responsible for the education of so many persons in and outside Nigeria,” Mr. Nwajiuba said.
The VC further described Mr. Ekwueme as a visionary whose ideas, though opposed in 1995 are today being adopted on the country.
The VC further said Mr. Ekwueme was a man of integrity the school should be proud to be associated with.
On the name change, the VC said Mr. Ekwueme’s initials will be added to the school’s acronym FUNAI.
“In my university FUNAI, we love the acronym and the sound. We truly love FUNAI and the sound of the name. We also love our anthem, and at least two other songs about FUNAI. Unlike other Federal Universities named after persons, ours is the only one with the word Federal retained, as announced by the Vice President today at Oko.
“ABU, OAU, NAU, MAUTECH, are all Federal but do not have that in their names. We still have our beloved FUNAI, with AE (now) added in front. Our anthem and all our songs remain as we sing them with AE-FUNAI,” the VC said.