Obi made these remarks on Wednesday during the public presentation of “Communication and Media Studies”, a book edited by Prof. Chinyere Stella Okunna, former Dean of the Department of Social Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, NAU, Awka, and former Anambra State commissioner for Economic Planning.
Obi, who was the guest of honour at the event, said that people like Prof. Okunna who were contributing to the advancement of knowledge should be encouraged. Noting that the world today is knowledge-driven, he described as disgusting, the situation in Nigeria where political thugs and diverse rascals get rewarded more than professors and researchers.
His words: “Today, nobody recognises academics nor are they invited for meetings on how to deepen knowledge in the country, yet everyday we hear of meetings with kidnappers and bandits.”
All the speakers took turns eulogising the book as well as its editor, Prof. Okunna, for her devotion to scholarship. Prof. Onuorah Nwuneli, traditional ruler of Igbakwu, described Okunna, the first Female Professor of Mass Communication in sub-Saharan Africa, as imbued with an “analytical mind”.
In his own remarks, Prof. Charles Okey Esimone, NAU vice chancellor, who purchased some copies of the book for the university, described Prof. Okunna as an “accomplished scholar whose love for excellence is inspiring.” He said that people like her are useful towards achieving his vision of making the university among the best 200 in the world.
Prof. Esimone described the book as rich and scholarly. He encouraged other lecturers to engage in mentorship of the young ones as Prof. Okunna is known.
Prof. Joseph Ikechebelu, chairman of the occasion, who is the NAU deputy vice chancellor, Administration, described Prof. Okunna as one of the eminent professors that have given a name to the university. Ikechebelu commended her work and assured on the readiness of the university to start exporting knowledge to all the parts of the world.
Reviewing the book, Prof. Nnamdi Ekeanyanwu described Prof. Okunna as a “mother and a mentor”. He described the book as “the first that addresses the unbundling of Mass Communications into eight newly approved courses by the National Universities Commission, NUC.
Commending the book in all aspects, he said: “Its technical details, finishing, themes, grammar, contents and language are excellent, depicting the experience and proficiency of the editor.”
The reviewer concluded by recommending the expansion of the section on public relations, advertising and strategic communication. He also suggested incorporating, by way of contributions, the practical experiences of media practitioners.
Earlier, in her welcome address, Prof. Okunna said she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love. She particularly thanked Obi for his exemplary leadership, personality and character. She also thanked the vice chancellor for his vision for the university.
Arthur Eze, special guest of honour, who was represented by Okey Ezeh, appreciated Prof. Okunna’s efforts with N5 million.