Ademola Babalola in Ibadan
The University of Ibadan Alumni Association (UIAA), on Saturday honoured a former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie Oyegun, Chief Dr. Michael Omolayole, Dr. Amechi Obiora of Eko Hospital, Chief Reuben Fasoranti (Leader of Afenifere) and Chief Olu Falae for their contributions to the institution.
In conferring the awards, Dr. Kemi Emina, described Kalu, Publisher: The Sun and New Telegraph Publishing Company, as a great entrepreneur who is leading the youths of Nigeria through his entrepreneurial spirit.
Emina made the remark during his welcome address at the UIAA Luncheon and Awards ceremony of the association held at the Bishop Richard Finn Auditorium, University of Ibadan, as part of activities marking the annual programmes of the association chairmaned by the former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who was ably represented by the Pro Chancellor of the UI Dr. Umar Mustapha.
The luncheon and award was a follow-up to the 3rd Public Service lecture of the association entitled: “Change and the Nigerian Traditional Institution”, and delivered on Friday by the Obi of Onitsha His Majesty Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe.
Kalu, a quintessential leader and business magnate, who was represented on the occasion by his Personal Assistant, Prince Kunle Oyewumi, was among the 58 ‘ancients’ conferred with various awards by the university alumni.
Just as he was given the “Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year” award, the former Edo State Governor and National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was given the “Alumnus of the Year” award.
While the UIAA President thanked Dr Kalu for his immense contribution to the development of the University of Ibadan and advancement of knowledge, he called on him “to continue to do more in his entrepreneurial spirit and empowerment of the youth. Similarly, he thanked Chief Oyegun “for all you have done to uplift our institution, to uplift our education and to uplift our country because you belong to the ancient and the modern class. You are the first of its kind to be given an award of ‘Alumnus of the Year of this institution.”
The awardees were lauded by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Idowu Olayinka, as well as Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, towards their immense contributions for the development of the institution and advancement of its knowledge-based drive.
Kalu, who was represented by Oyewumi, thanked the University of Ibadan Alumni Association for the recognition, asking the premier University “to keep the flag high and flying.”
He said that his boss really deserved the award, noting that “for an outstanding university that the University of Ibadan is, it is not out of place to honour somebody of the status of Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu with this ‘Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year award. Dr. Kalu is very passionate about this award and it is not out of place that he has been given this award because he has always been a business man. He has contributed to much to the society by creating job for the teeming population, and he will continue to do so. Just recently, he has added hospitality and tourism to his flourishing conglomerate: Slok company and we will not relent in our effort to do more for Nigerians.This award will motivate him to do more and I am sure he will continue to do more. To the university, Dr. Kalu says they should keep the flag high and keep it flying.”
In his remark, the Oyo State governor Senator Abiola Ajimobi, thanked the UIAA for recognising the awardees for their contribution to the institution and the country as a whole. He lauded Chief Oyegun describing him as “an accomplished Economist, a distinguished civil servant, naturaly-endowed leader of our party. A man at 77 who still looks younger even than I am. He is a distinguished Nigerian and a man we are all proud to call our Chairman. He is an association member of GOV OYO”, while urging the younger people in attendance to learn to eat well, maintain healthy living to be as young at 77 like Chief Oyegun.
Oyegun thanked the UIAA for the privilege, saying that “I am a happy man. I thank God that I have always been opportune to be the first: first youngest Permanent Secretary, first Executive Governor of Edo State and first Chairman of a party which within one year drew the country our of her bad international image”.
Other awardees are: Chief Areoye Oyebola, Professor Joshua Ogbonnaya, Dr. Alex Iziyon (SAN), Balogun Joel Olasehinde Arogbofa, Chief P.A. Dunkwu, among others.