Giving has spirit and to give back to institutions where one was made through tutelage takes a heart embedded with a sense of gratitude.
This is why many educational institutions wish that old students are able to remember how the institution moulded and teachers impacted them to become people of societal relevance and be able to contribute to the development of such institutions.
It is on this note that, Zenith Family Environmental and Social Protection Network, ZESPRONET, a group of like minds and Alumnus of Abia State University, Uturu, ABSU engaged the School management, through a NEEDS assessment process to identify and determine how to bridge the gap between ABSU’s current and desired state, which gave birth to the 80 million naira worth 44-bed model and ultramodern Postgraduate hostel.
Addressing newsmen shortly after the project was commissioned by the State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, and handed over to the School during the combined 27th and 28th convocation ceremony of ABSU, the International President, Dr Boris Chukwuemeka Oji represented by the National President of the group, Sir Okere Bidwell, said the project which the body embarked upon in 2019 when Prof. Uche Ikonne was the Vice-Chancellor of the institution was birthed to ameliorate the accommodation problems faced by Postgraduate students.
He said the foundation laying was performed by the Pro-Chancellor of the Institution, Senator Adolphus Wabara, noting that the edifice with modern equipment, according to available records, was the first time people of like minds who graduated from an institution and whose members are drawn from Nigeria and diaspora would be embarking on such a gigantic project as a way of appreciating and giving back to one’s alma mater.
Dr. Oji who revealed that the project spanned a year and nine months, noted that their intention was not just to build a Hostel, but to rewrite the wrongs, set precedence as to how things ought to be in the society.
His words, “Two years ago, we embarked on a journey without knowing when, how and what we will encounter in giving back to our Alma Mater- Abia State University Uturu.
“We chose an audacious project, a 44 room Post-Graduate Hostel, all rooms en-suite. We contacted the University Authority and the then Vice-Chancellor and Senate listened to our proposal and granted us approval and site allocation.
‘” Today, to the glory of God Almighty, this is the Hostel, standing at the allocated site. Achieved through shared vision, committed leadership, the great sacrifice of members and oneness of purpose”.
Being mindful of the environment, Oji further disclosed the intentions of the group to embark on massive free planting which will cut across the entire South-East.
Dr. Oji who also informed that ZESPRONET, as an NGO had assisted members in one way or the other, recalled that during the COVID-19, pandemic, the group came up with Radio jingles which helped in sensitizing the people on how to prevent the dreaded disease just as he said that the group also contributed towards upgrading the ABSU ICT centre with computers.
He commended the ABSU Management, past and present for the support they have accorded the group, pointing out that it wouldn’t have achieved all if they didn’t own up to the group on their needs.
Meanwhile, the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Uche Ikonne, Prof. Ikonne, described the strides recorded by ZESPRONET as outstanding, pointing out that the speed they spent in building the postgraduate hotel was very instructive.
Prof. Ikonne while also appreciating the group for dedicating the project to him, insisted that the major stakeholders in an institution remain the students who graduated to become alumni.
He informed that when he took over as Vice-Chancellor of the Institution in 2015, the Institution rendered some services and the Alumni was revived, adding that the Alumni donated computers to enable the Institution to automate the computation of result process which gladdened the hearts of the Alumni.
Recall that while laying the foundation stone for the project, Sen. Adolphus Wabara had called on other alumni associations of the University to emulate the good initiative of ZESPRONET, to make Abia State University an enviable citadel of learning in Nigeria and the world at large.