Prof. Fidelis Okafor, the Vice Chancellor, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU), has called on Nigerian youths to shun sectional agitations and acts of violence that could disrupt the peace in the country.
Okafor made the call on Wednesday when members of the Northern Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) paid him courtesy visit at the Igbariam campus of the university.
The vice chancellor, who noted that peace was better than war, pointed out that peace and justice are two Siamese twins that must exist together in order to achieve the desired development.
“Your visit is significant, especially at this time of uproar.
“We are also saying that equal rights should be given to all persons in the country because we cannot be talking about peace without justice.
“What an average Nigerian is asking for, is a means of livelihood and a conducive environment to raise children, but our politicians have denied us access leading to sectional agitations,” he said.
Okafor said the university which was renamed after late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu in 2014 is famous for its serenity and had always propagated the unity of the country.
“We are working in every capacity to bring peace where there is none and to mediate in crisis situation; that is what our youths must learn to ensure peace and unity of the country,” Okafor added.
The vice chancellor, who received an award from the youth group for his purposeful leadership and contribution to education, commended them for the honour.
He said that the youths remained the hope and future of Nigeria and stressed the need to give them opportunity to pilot the affairs of the nation.
Earlier, the national President of NYCN Mr Isah Abubakar said that the award, ‘Garkuwan Matassan Arewa’ which means ‘the shield of northern youths’ was bestowed on Okafor to recognise his achievement as bridge builder.
He described the vice chancellor as a “patriotic citizen whose performance at various echelons of leadership is worthy of emulation.’’
He said: “People are calling for secession and evacuation of some tribes in their communities instead of working for national unity and peace.
“The youths are the future of this country and as such, we must fight for the right course.
“We are aware that our leaders have failed us.
“How can Nigeria in the 21st century still be talking about closure of schools in the name of strike?
“The way out is to restructure Nigeria because an average northerner also feels that he is marginalised.
“It is on this note that we want to invite Prof. Okafor to a meeting of all Vice Chancellors where the unity and peace of the country will be discussed.’’
Abubakar commended Okafor’s visionary leadership, prudence, sincerity of purpose, youth empowerment, and fear of God, which he noted was responsible for his distinction.
In his remark, the Special Assistant to Gov. Willie Obiano on Students Matter, Mr Sherrif Zadok, said the honour was a welcome development to the VC, the institution and the people of Anambra.