The Chairman, Senate Committee on Education, Sen. Uche Chukwumerije, has called on the Federal Government to upgrade the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, to a university and rename it after Dr Alex Ekwueme.
Chukwumerije made the call on Friday in Oko while delivering a paper at the 3rd Alex Ekwueme Annual Lecture Series, to mark his 80th birthday.
The event was organised by the polytechnic in honour of Ekwueme.
It will be recalled that Ekwueme, an octogenarian, was Vice President of Nigeria during the Shehu Shagari administration (1979 -1983).
Chukwumerije said that Ekwueme had made huge contributions to Nigeria’s democracy and should be honoured.
In a lecture entitled: “The Igbo and the Nigerian Political Space: The path to self-rehabilitation,” Chukwumerije said for Ndigbo, their birthday present to Ekwueme would be “to heal their post-civil war infirmity of unanchored individualism.”
Ndigbo, he added, should declare “never, never again to self-inflicted injury when a golden opportunity (like the PDP Jos Presidential Primary) knocks in the near future in their presidential bid”, while calling on them to unite in order to take their rightful position in the political process of the country.
“No matter the help the Igbo get from the outside, they can never occupy that rightful place if they are disorganised, directionless, and lack focus as a group,” he said.
The senator expressed optimism that with unity “no force from the outside, no matter how formidable or entrenched, can hold them down for long.”
In a remark, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, commended the organisers of the which he described as a call for Igbo to unite and forge a common front.