At its 57th Founders day celebration held on Friday October 6, 2017, the authorities of the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) bestowed on Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the governor of Delta State, the prestigious Dignity of Man Award.
According to the university, the award on Senator Okowa was in recognition of the inclusive developmental policies of the Okowa led administration in Delta State.
To Deltans however, this award to the governor is to say the least, an irony and a paradox. It is the agreement of all critical minds that the Okowa administration has done nothing to improve on the dignity of Deltans.
If anything, Governor Okowa has superintended over the gradual erosion of the economic power and dignity of Deltans. Hiding under his ego aria mantra of deception, Okowa and his media machine has run out of excuses for failure.
The employees in the local government councils are owed over 10 months arrears of salary while pensioners are daily protesting the refusal of the Okowa administration to pay their pensions and other retirement benefits. This is despite the fact that there has been an embargo on employment in the Delta State Civil Service which has thrown young school leavers into the lurch.
Added to this, is the failure of the Okowa administration to build basic infrastructure such as roads. A visit to Asaba the State capital would reveal the mess of a once thriving urban conurbation that is now a ghost town. Delta Line, one of the thriving assets of the state has been sold off to a private enterprise and hundreds of Deltans face the grim prospect of mass sack.
To crown it up, the recent suspension of the First Class Scholarship Scheme, an Award which entitles the beneficiary to a cash reward of Five Million Naira in addition to Postgraduate scholarship up to the doctoral level which Students of Delta State Origin who performed excellently in their various fields of learning looked forward to.
All these and more are the hallmarks of the Okowa administration which makes it difficult to reconcile the Dignity of Man Award bestowed on the governor.
The University of Nigeria Nsukka should rediscover and understand its place as an ivory tower which the society looks up to for direction. The fact that the said University founded by the legendary Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Zik of Africa can bestow a prestigious award on a person without carrying out due diligence is unfortunate.
The situation foisted on Deltans under the present administration is one that has poured scorn and odium and indignity on all and sundry especially its senior citizens who had spent the better part of their lives working for the state. That the University of Nigeria Nsukka could endorse this wickedness by an award is a shame, an aberration and an insult on the sensibilities of hardworking Deltans.
The University of Nigeria Nsukka should purge itself of this self-inflicted integrity crisis and shame by withdrawing the award forthwith and apologizing to Deltans.
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