Unizik Mass Comm. Department Marks 25th Anniversary, Alumni Homecoming
By Izunna Okafor, Awka
Media practitioners have been urged to exhibit professionalism, courage, and patriotism in the discharge of their duties, and in a way it will help to as the men fourth estate realm of the government.
The Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina made the call while delivering a keynote speech at the event of marking the 25th year anniversary celebration of the Department of Mass Communication, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, the maiden homecoming of the department's alumni, as well as the public presentation and launching of the 25th anniversary edition of Unizik Comet Magazine.
While describing journalists as people who have very important roles to play in attainment of the full potential of any country in the world, Mr. Adesina, who was represented at the event by Prof. Nnaemeka Agbanu of Chukwuemeka Odomegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam, said "Mass Communication has a role, therefore, in peace, security, conflict resolution, branding, perception management, diplomacy and so on."
He warned that "In recent times, all we witness in the nation’s media are misleading headlines and this is capable of exposing the nation to grave danger if not checked."
In an address of welcome, the Chief Host of the event and the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Charles Esimone who recently marked his two years in office, commended and congratulated the staff and students of the Mass Communication Department, and restated his vision "to transform Nnamdi Azikiwe University to become best University in Nigeria, among the top ten Universities in Africa and among the best two hundred Universities in the world," calling for all hands to be in deck to actualise the vision.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chairman of the Occasion, Chief Ifeanyi Igwebuike Mbanefo recalled the experiences of the past and the situation of things now, and reminded the students that ICT and many opportunities abound in the media industry, into which they can tap and excel or rise to the topnotch, despite the challenging situation of the country.
In her own address, the Head of Department, Prof. Chinwe E. Uzochukwu, gave the a brief background of the department and its journey so far for the past 25 years, and appreciated the staff students and friends of the Department, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Esimone, and others who have contributed to the growth of the Department over the years; even as she revealed that Unizik had been among the few pace-setter schools poised for the much-talked unbundling of the Mass Communication department.
Highlighting some of the achievements of the Department over the years and her current needs, Prof. Uzochukwu, who said the Department would henceforth partner with her newly formed alumni association encouraged "other privileged persons to endow one thing or the other for the Department which will soon become a Faculty of Communication and Media Studies."
Delivering the Jubilee Lecture, the Jubilee Lecturer, Kasie Abone described Mass Communication as process of imparting and exchanging information through mass media to a segment of the population; and highlighted the various careers/opportunities in mass communication, the skills and qualities required of a mass communicator, the challenges and the surviving strategies; even as she harped on the need for adequate training of communication practitioners, to perform optimally.
In their separate remarks, the Special Guest of Honour and Senator representing Ebonyi Central in the National Assembly, Senator Obinna Ogba; the Royal Father of the Day and the Traditional Ruler of Igbakwu, HRM Igwe Prof. Onuorah Nwuneli; the Guest of Honour and the Chairman of African Democratic Party (ADC), Chief Ralph Okey Nwosu; and the Chief Launcher, Chief Godwin Agbasimelo (Oga Ndi Oga) congratulated the Department, and advised the students to study harder, so as to do great in the media profession.
The event which started with interactive session between the students of the department and veteran media practitioners, also featured cutting of the anniversary cake, official unveiling and launching of the 25th anniversary edition of Unizik Comet, as well as presentation of awards to some deserving individuals, including the first female professor of Mass Communication in Sub-Saharan Africa, Prof. Stella Okunna; Anambra State Commissioner for Basic Education, Prof. Kate Omenugha; Prof. Godson Okafor; Dr. Nelson Omenugha; Senator Obinna Ogba; among other academics, guests, philanthropists and achievers.
In a vote of thanks, the Chairman of the Anniversary Planning Committee, Dr. Emeka Odogwu, flanked by the Committee Secretary; Dr. Nelson Omenugha; and the Chairman, Publicity/Alumni Relations Sub-Committee, Dr. Henry Duru appreciated everyone who attended and contributed to the success of the event.