By Ikenna Nwokedi
The UNIZIK Business School (UBS), Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka on Wednesday, began her two-day 2023 Hybrid International Conference at the ASUU NAU Secretariat.
The Conference which is the fifth for the UBS and coincidentally the second hybrid has its theme as, “Political Transition and Economic Development: The African Experience.”
In his remarks, His Excellency Dr. Alex Otti, the Executive Governor of Abia State who chaired the occasion described the theme of the conference as apt especially at this moment in Nigeria’s democratic system of governance.
Dr. Otti who was represented by the former Deputy Vice-Chancellor of UNIZIK, Prof. Sam Omenyi emphasized that political transition deals wth political leadership as events that occur during the change of leadership goes a long way in affecting the development of the nation.
Declaring the event open while making his remarks, UNIZIK Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Charles Esimone, pointed out that many years after the political transition to independence, many African states are still embarrassingly bugged down by underdevelopment which is defined by the human development indices of the United Nations even with the huge resources they are endowed with both in human and mineral resources.
Prof. Esimone who was represented by the Special Adviser to the Vice-Chancellor on Academic Matters, Prof. Frederick Odibo opined that it is a sad case that Nigeria which is a leading exporter of crude oil is unable to refine its domestic refined petroleum product need describing the situation as a humiliating illustration of the devious resources curse from which many African countries are affected. The VC offered that the conference is an opportunity to open new insights towards tackling the conundrum of political leadership.
In his address, the Director, UNIZIK Business School (UBS), Prof. Emma Okoye stated that intellectual discourses of this nature which stimulate critical thinking is one that drives the ‘Project 200’ vision of the present administration of Prof. Esimone. The UBS Director averred that the growing collaborations that the Business School have achieved thus far have largely been borne out of the case study of her doctoral candidates who as part of their study undergo a week-long learning process in a foreign country to study the thriving business and how they operate to retain profitablity.
The scholar opined that while the current leadership have made continuous progress in giving UBS the face lift it deserves in order to come up to speed with other competitors, the UBS have constantly remained focused in achieving excellence in business education by adopting global best practices through her membership of Global Regulatory bodies and promoters of Business Schools such as AACSB, BGA and AABS.
He urged all to take advantage of the their cutting-edge consultancy processes to develop and grow their organization to become more profitable while adopting survival strategies in a challenging business climate. Prof. Okoye also thanked Prof. Esimone for his immense support to the UBS, and the MOC for a well organized conference while also singling out the recipients of the UBS awards for their contributions to the development of the society, businesses and education.
The keynote speaker, High Chief Prof. Obiorah Okonkwo eulogized UNIZIK Vice-Chancellor for driving the University in the area of grants and scholarships toward the delivery of quality education and development. Prof. Okonkwo who was represented by Prof. Charles Obiorah gave an insight into the political infrastructure of most African nations since independence from the cold war era to the post-cold war era.
Prof. Obiorah remarked that most African countries which gained independence from the period of 1960 to 1970 has a political culture that was largely democratic but took a new dimension thereafter as most government embarked on negative tendencies such as nepotism, corruption, embezzlement of public funds and extrajudicial killings. The scholar informed that some African leaders operated Zulu party system where they either remained in power for years or where forced out through coup.
Prof. Okonkwo affirmed that a peaceful political transition will bring about enhanced development that will ensure that people feel the impact of democracy, he called on African leaders to adopt servant leadership through equity and accountability in all their policies and implementation actions.
The Lead Paper Presenter and Former World Bank Managing Director (Africa), Dr. Oby Ezekwesili emphasized that the pattern of political transition in Africa has not guaranteed true democracy describing the desired real democracy as one which generates positive socioeconomic development.
The former Minister of Education pointed out Nigeria political system has become a system where transition is no longer people but court driven and monopolized such that the people’s wish does not count anymore but the wish of the political class. Ezekwesili urged the federal government to enthrone policies that will alleviate the sufferings of poor Nigerians who she said have been at the receiving end of bad governance and policies that have thrown them into poverty and economic hardship.
On his part, Ven. Prof. Anayo Nkamnebe stated that political transition talks about transition in leadership with power to make laws end enforce them. Prof. Nkamnebe emphasized that once transition is not people driven and legitimate, the transited leader might lack the inner drive to enforce policies that would generate desired economic development. He called on Nigerian Government to enact policies that will alleviate the poor economic conditions of most Nigerians and bring about socioeconomic development.
Highpoints of the occasion were award presentations and tour of the new UBS building.
Recipients of the awards were Dr. Alex Chika Okafor, CEO Chikason Group (Dynamic Entrepreneurial Award); Prof. Joseph Ikechebelu, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Administration (Distinguished Medical Services Award); Prof. Frederick Odibo, SAVC on Academic Matters (Distinguished Academic Service Award); Chief Obinna Iyiegbu, Obi Cubana (Distinguished Serial Entrepreneur of the Year); Chief John Ikenna Oguegbu, CEO Kojo Motors (Dynamic Entrepreneurial Award); Chief Sir Ikenna Okafor, Ide Akwaeze (Dynamic Entrepreneurial Award); Prof. Benjamin Chuka Osisioma, Former ANAN President (Distinguished Academic Leadership Award); Prof. Clems Nwogbo, CEO MP Infrastructures (Distinguished Engineering and Infrastructure Award) and Chief Barr. Charles Odunukwe, CEO Colonades Hotel Lagos (Dynamic Entrepreneur of Excellence).