The management of the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Rumuolumeni, Port Harcourt has vehemently refuted claims made by a Port Harcourt-based tabloid, alleging that the Vice Chancellor of the prestigious university, Professor Okey Onuchuku vented his anger against the press.
The Port Harcourt Telegraph newspaper, in its edition of Sunday, July 16, 2023, published an article titled “How Ajuru’s VC is turning his anger on the Press”. The piece alleged that the esteemed Professor of Economics was blaming the press for what was transpiring in the university.
However, in a rebuttal, copy of which was made available to National Network, the university firmly denied the allegations, describing it, emanating from mischief makers as it is not only false but a calculated attempt at smearing the image of the Vice Chancellor.
Denying the newspaper’s claims in the refutal which was signed by the Deputy Registrar/Public Relations Officer of the institution, Ngozi Okiridu, the university laid out what it said were the facts as follows:
“1. The Vice Chancellor has the Public Relations Unit that deals with the Press and did not therefore at any time talk with the Press, let alone blaming them for being responsible for whatever that is transpiring in the University.
The Vice Chancellor did not dispatch a number of phone messages accusing some journalists of working against him.
It is not also true that staff hired by the immediate past Vice Chancellor Professor Ozo-Mekuri Ndimele were fired as soon as Professor Onuchuku came on board. It may interest PHC Telegraph to know that over 85% of those employed by Professor Ozo-Mekuri Ndimele are still at the University. PHC Telegraph may wish to ascertain this claim.
Universities like any other institutions, organizations, Agencies are guided by laws, rules and regulations and Ignatius Ajuru University of Education is not an exception”.
The university added that there are administrative procedures for staff discipline where due process is followed to a logical conclusion.
“It is therefore sad that PHC Telegraph would think that a matter as serious as forgery by a lecturer to gain promotion as alleged by the publication would be given a soft landing”, it said, and urged members of the public to discountenance the malicious publication which it said is ‘laced with lies, falsehood and geared at discrediting the leadership of Ignatius Ajuru University of Education’.
National Network reporter, who visited the prestigious university on fact-finding, witnessed the transformative achievements recorded by Professor Okey Onuchuku since assuming office less than three years ago.
Under his visionary guidance, Onuchuku has transformed IAUE into a hub of innovation and intellectual growth.
During the last convocation ceremony, the state government expressed the capacity of Professor Okey Onuchuku in tackling the mess of the Ndimele administration.
The government noted that Onuchuku administration has done creditably well in the area of corporate social responsibility, environmental sustainability and human security and development.
An evidence of good governance of Professor Onuchuku could be appreciated in the accreditation of over 22 academic programmes as well as resource verification of other six academic programmes.
According to the PRO, Ngozi Okiridu, “We have employed the best global scholars and practitioners as external examiners for both undergraduate and Post graduate programmes. School fees in IAUE under Professor Onuchuku are the most liberal in Nigeria. Students are to pay in two tranches to protect the less privileged in society. The administration is forward looking and will stop at nothing to promote academic excellence.
“Let me further draw the attention of the public to the fact that Professor Onuchuku administration has improved the quality of Postgraduate programme s through the recruitment of best hands across the country; introduced 3years minimum period for PhD programs as against the old 2 years that contravened global standard; introduced examination at all levels of Postgraduate programme as well as regular monitoring and evaluation of the programmes to guarantee quality assurance.He has done well in curbing cultism, examination malpractice related issues, including character development of students and teachers.Indeed, Professor Onuchuku has provided and will continue to provide credible and transparent academic and administrative leadership in IAUE,PH”.
She described the Port Harcourt Telegraph newspaper’s report as “more of hate speech arising from hostility perception and desire to please the pay masters. Professor Okey Onuchuku, DSSRS, is a great Vice Chancellor who has transformed Ignatius Ajuru University in many ways. In line with the strategic goals of Nigerian education, Professor Onuchuku is paying attention to those areas that will support the provision of access to quality education and ensure that IAUE will continue to see develop to world-class institution with world-class infrastructure, learning resources and teachers that will produce highly skilled world-class manpower with entrepreneurial flair. His legacies is concentrated, in the following areas: infrastructural development to support quality teaching and learning environment; research support innovation in society; library development to ensure the availability of information resources to support teaching and learning; and staff development yo support availability of skills manpower and lecturers with doctoral degrees.
“He has supported manuscript development and publication of journals to support propagating and sharing of research results; conference attendance to provide opportunity for attending conferences in Nigeria and beyond and exchange of ideas and development of entrepreneurial units to support development of students with entrepreneurial flair”, she said.