‘Always bear yourselves with some pride and decorum. Your thinking, behaviour and general attitude to life must change for the better. You must always think clearly before taking any action. You must be yourself always and recognize that you have a distinctive identity and personality and must not be led by the nose. Do not be ashamed ta ask questions and admit your ignorance. The first step to learning is to acknowledge yo do not know everything. You must always acknowledge and bow to superior argument. Discipline, self-reliance and excellence should always guide one.‘
These have always been the thoughts and words of Professor Festus Aghagbo Nwakoto staff and students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University and to all who came his way.
Obata obie, we heard a lot about you before you accepted to serve as the Foundation Vice-Chancellor of Nnmadi Azikiwe University. When you requested me to serve as your Public Relations Officer, I accepted because of your antecedents. I said I will serve for one year, but had to serve for five years because of what I discovered you to be. I have no regrets whatsoever. You taught us to be more concerned about our reputation because our character was what we truly were while our reputation was merely what people thought about us. You always said it was better to discipline oneself so that others won’t do it for you. You believed that one can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you. You taught us that failure was not fatal but failure to change might be. Your leadership style created an environment that supported intellectual endeavour and this made you a legend within the University and even beyond. You taught us to think of how we could better our society rather than accumulating personal fortunes which you said was primitive.
You achieved a lo during your tenure despite the non availability of funds. The Federal Government of Nigeria took over the University during your tenure despite formidable opposition. You secured full accreditation for our Medical School and graduated the first set of UNIZIK Medical Doctors, you attracted donations from far and wide including Chevron, Anambra Foundation in Canada, etc. You approved the production of the UNIZIK song.
Obata Obie, teacher of Professors, man of great discipline, quiet philanthropist, sponsor of many Catholic priests and religious, President West African College of Surgeons,our foundation Vice-Chancellor, the man of many firsts, be rest assured that we will keep to what you taught us. We will not and cannot fail you Sir. Rest peacefully in the bosom of the Lord for I am sure that is where you are. Adieu Papi, you may be gone but can certainly never be forgotten
Prof. Chris Anyamene
From Unizik Bulletin, February 24, 2014 (Vol 7 No 8, pg 2-3)