It was commendation galore for the outgoing Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Owerri (FUTO), Prof. Francis Chukwuemeka Eze as the university community held Exit Thanksgiving Mass in his honour, Sunday June 6, 2021.
The Mass which took place at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Chaplaincy FUTO was presided by the Chaplain, Rev. Fr. Dr. Jude C. Ike, assisted by several priests, including Rev. Fr. Samuel Obasi who represented the Catholic Bishop of Orlu.
The Thanksgiving Mass coincided with the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, which the chaplain in his homily explained as “the centre of the church, our faith and our lives.” He listed several Eucharistic miracles that occurred during the breaking of bread and blessing of wine. He advised Catholics to always approach the Holy Eucharist with so much respect and declaration of our unworthiness.
Turning to Prof. Eze, the homilist congratulated him for the successful completion of his tenure as the 7th Substantive Vice-Chancellor and his laudable achievements.
Also, the representative of the Catholic bishop of Orlu, extolled the outgoing vice-chancellor for his numerous achievements both in academics and infrastructure.
In her goodwill message, the incoming Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Mrs. Nnenna N. Oti said, the Midas touch of Prof. Eze, would be felt in the tremendous changes he has brought on the landscape of FUTO, coupled with his relentless effort to ensure that the university contributes significantly towards the expansion of the frontiers of knowledge and development of high level manpower in Nigeria.
“By all these achievements, you would be living behind a very big shoe for your predecessor which by God’s providence happened to be my humble self,” Prof. Oti, who is currently the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics), said.
Other commendations came from Prof. J.S. Orebiyi, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Admin), Prof. B.C. Anusionwu, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research, Development and Innovation), John Nnabuihe (Registrar), Helen Onuoha (Bursar), Dr. (Mrs.) J.L. Ekere (University Librarian) etc.
Speaking during the Mass, Prof. Eze thanked God for having led him this far. He thanked the FUTO community for their support and solidarity during his tenure as the Vice Chancellor and also charged them to give more support to the incoming Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mrs. Nnenna N. Oti than they gave to him, as he would like the new vice chancellor to achieve more than he has done because that will be the real definition of growth.
Chaplaincy uniform was presented to the outgoing vice chancellor for his hardwork and expectation of more work while a bible was given to the incoming VC, Prof. Mrs. Oti, which will serve as a light in her new path.
In a related development, Prof. Francis Eze, the out-going Vice-Chancellor of FUTO held his farewell press briefing on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, at the FUTO Senate building.
Speaking during the event, the vice chancellor stated that despite all the challenges and downturn of the economy, his administration was able to weather the storm and recorded laudable achievements. Some of his achievements included: Expansion of the academic programme with the introduction of new schools (Faculty), departments and courses with approval from the relevant authorities.
Some of the new schools introduced included: School of Electrical Systems, School of Biological Sciences, School of Information and Communication Technology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, New College of Medicine with School of Basic Medical Sciences, School of Basic Clinical Medicine and School of Clinical Medicine among others. This new expansion, he said, will lead to the production of highly skilled young men and women and also creators of employment in different facets of the economy.
Other achievements include staff development and training, which is a key in the actualization of the university’s mandate; also promotion of deserving staff as at when due.
More achievement on free health outreach to the host community, training of farmers from the host community, admission and also employment of people from the host community.
However, he maintained that one of the issues faced by his administration was the massive encroachment of FUTO land by the host community as a result of lack of perimeter fencing.