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April 23, 2024
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Encomia as Prof. Iwuchukwu retires from IMSU

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By Peter Okolie

Encomiums poured in freely on Tuesday, as the pioneer lecturer in the Department of Religion, Peace and Conflict Studies, Imo State University (IMSU), Owerri, Prof. Rebecca Iwuchukwu, bows out of active service.

Guests, who spoke at her retirement ceremony held at the institution’s Faculty of Humanities, extolled Iwuchukwu’s qualities and great feat in her academic career.

The Dean of the faculty, Prof. Uchenna Nwankwo, said Iwuchukwu played the role of a “nice mother status and we will miss her as she is going.

“Thank God she is retiring with strong head and still focused,” Nwankwo said.

He urged her to remain focused and prayerful.

He said that celebrating Iwuchukwu at the faculty level was aimed at setting the pace for the retirement of academics.

The Head of Department (HOD), Religion, Peace and Conflict Studies, Dr Sunday Iherue, said that Iwuchukwu’s retirement was due for March 22, when she would attain the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Iherue said that during Iwuchukwu’s tenure as the immediate past HOD of the department. she secured a five-year accreditation for the department.

He further extolled her for having made “a lot of remarkable achievements”.

He also described her as “a caring, kind and loving woman”.

According to Iherue, this is the first time the faculty is celebrating a staff member.

“Most people who retired in the faculty retired unceremoniously as most of them left and people did not know that they had left the department.

“We realised the need to celebrate ourselves and the departmental board approved it.

“Also, part of our interest is to showcase the new Department of Religion, Peace and Conflict Studies,” he further said.

Earlier in an address of welcome, Prof. Emmanuel Inyama, also of the department, said that Iwuchukwu served the department meritoriously.

While congratulating the retiring professor, Inyama described her retirement as “a real blessing from God.

“What happened here today is really exemplary because in the academia, individuals retire in obscurity.

“There is no gift greater than serving and retiring without blemish,” he said.

For Prof. Luke Uzoigwe of the Faculty of Engineering, Iwuchukwu is “an elegant woman, magnified with a lot of intelligence”.

Uzoigwe said that Iwuchukwu’s early education “fortified her with beauty, knowledge and intelligence.

“She has done a lot for the university.

“She was a one-time member of ceremonial committee and chairman for entertainment committee for eight years in IMSU.

“She was also a one-time Welfare Officer of the Academic Staff Union of Universities in the university as well as a pioneer Director of pre-degree programme in the university.

“She served as President of Women Academics in IMSU,” Uzoigwe said.

In a tribute, the Director, Center for Igbo Studies, Prof. Frances Chukwukere, said: “I have never been invited to any faculty for any retirement.

“Humanities is always a forerunner in everything.”

The professor of Igbo studies commended Iwuchukwu for maintaining her real age, alleging that some lecturers falsify their age to remain in service for a longer period.

Also, Prof. Comfort Ebiringa of the Department of French described Iwuchukwu as a comforter.

Ebiringa said that she had known Iwuchukwu since 2006, when she visited her to sympathise with her over the demise of her husband.

“She hugged, encouraged and wrapped bundles of wrappers and gave to me.

“Since then, she has always asked after my children and how we are coping; her retirement today is a blessing,” Ebiringa said.

Others, who showered praises on Iwuchukwu, included Prof. Mike Okoro of the Department of Philosophy and Dr Fidel Onuoha of the Department of Religion, Peace and Conflict Studies.

The Representative of Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta and Oru West Federal Constituency, Rep. Eugene Dibiagwu, underscored the importance of peace in nation building.

Dibiagwu, represented by his Aide, Mr Modestus Nwamkpa, called for partnership with the department toward restoring peace in crisis areas.

He announced a one million naira donation to the faculty.

Responding on behalf of the retiring professor, her husband and former Commissioner for Public Utilities in Imo, Prof. Chima Iwuchukwu, said that his wife was the first to write the programme that launched the department in the institution.

“I am happy that she recorded many successes as well as many successors.

“As my wife leaves this university, the first thing she will remember any day she meets any of you is this wonderful parting gift of celebrating whom she has been,” he said.

He, therefore, commended the faculty and the department for setting the pace and teaching the university that “no one is indispensable” by honouring his wife.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Iwuchukwu, a trained teacher and graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and University of Port Harcourt, was a one-time secondary school principal and part-time lecturer of Hebrew and Greek Languages.

She later became a lecturer in the department, where she taught Hebrew and Old Testament Studies. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Sam Oditah

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