New VC Preaches Peace at Michael Opara University

The new Vice Chancellor of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Prof. Francis Otunta, has called for peaceful resolution of the lingering crisis in the university.
Otunta made the call during his inauguration as the fifth vice chancellor of the university on Tuesday at the Pius Anyim Auditorium of the institution, located near Umuahia.
He spoke against the backdrop of the differences between the out-gone Vice Chancellor, Prof. Hillary Edeoga, and a faction of the university’s branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, which led to the constitution of a panel of inquiry that probed Edeoga’s administration.
In his speech, Otunta said: “We are not oblivious of the recent industrial actions declared by unions against the management of the university.
“I want to very humbly invite the union leaders to note the fact that no war ends in the battle field.
“All disputes are usually resolved through negotiation, arbitration and eventually reconciliation.
“Please, my dear colleagues, let us meet at the round-table to resolve all the differences that seem to exist between management and all or any staff or even students’ unions.”
He appealed to the unions involved in disputes with the university management to “ensure that we get all these behind us before the end of March”.
“We cannot achieve any of our goals when there is no peace in the university.”
The vice chancellor promised to initiate new policies and measures that would improve on the performance of his predecessor, especially in the areas of infrastructure and welfare of both the students and members of staff.
He also promised to pay priority attention to capacity building for both the academic and non-academic staff of the university, through conferences, seminars and workshops.
He further promised to exhaust all avenues to access the Federal Government’s take-off grant to the institution at its inception 24 years ago.
In their separate speeches, Edeoga and the Chairman of the University’s Governing Council, Prof. Anya O. Anya, congratulated Otunta on his appointment and urged him to build on the foundation already laid for further growth and development of the institution.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Otunta, a Professor of Mathematics, was the Rector, Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana in Ebonyi, before his appointment.