*Commitment to duty key to fast-tracking development – Prof Akwanya*
By Ikemefuna Ikem
Prof Nicholas Akwanya, Department of English and Literary Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) says only commitment to duty and honesty will fast-track development in any country.
Akwanya says this in Nsukka on Thursday during his valedictory lecture titled, “No Longer a Tribe: Chinua Achebe, The Novel and Optimistic Post-coloniality,” to mark his retirement from UNN as a lecturer as he clocked 70 years.
He said if every Nigerian would carry out his or her duty with commitment and honesty knowing that development did not occur by accident but by the contributions of everybody, the country would be more developed.
“There is no magic to achieve rapid development in any country but only by commitment to duties and honesty of citizens.
“Corruption and impunity have become obstacles to development in this country as a result of lack of commitment and honesty.
“Leading countries of the world do not toy with dedication to duties and honesty irrespective of your tribe, religion, or political affiliation,” he said.
The professor of English said late Chinue Achebe, the literary world giant was able to market Nigeria and entire Africa to the world because he made commitment to duty his watchword in all his literary activities.
“Achebe succeeded as a literary writer because he was a man who cannot be stopped by obstacles as he has capacity to succeed and give care to his audience in order to drive home his message.
“Today the history of literary work globally will be incomplete without mentioning Achebe because he dedicated himself fully to literary work,” he said.
In a remark, Prof Charles lgwe, the Vice-chancellor of UNN described Akwanya as one of the finest and erudite professors of the university.
Igwe who was represented by Prof Johnson Urama, the UNN Deputy Vice-chancellor Academic said the retirement of Akwanya, a dedicated, experienced, and God-fearing professor would be felt by the institution.
“UNN has an emotional feeling that Akwanya one of its finest and erudite professors is retiring today.
“The professor has served UNN in
various positions and excelled in all positions he held.
“Akwanya is God-fearing, trustworthy, reliable, intelligent, honest, and dedicated to duty,” lgwe said.
Prof Florence Orabuez, former Director, UNN Institute of African Studies, while presenting the 25-chapter book titled: “Literature and Literary Criticism in Nigeria: Essay on the Works of A. N Akwuany,” that captured the literary work of Prof Akwanya, described him as a big Iroko tree in English and Literary studies.
“This 25-chapter book is an analysis of Akwanya’s literary work in UNN department of English said Literary studies.
“We the friends of Akwanya in the department put this book together in honour and recognition of his immense contributions to the department.
“Akwanya is a novelist, poet, teacher of teachers, professor of processors, a role model, literary icon, and an academic per excellence,” Orabueze said.
Earlier, Prof Paul Obiani, the Dean Faculty of Arts at UNN described the retirement of Akwanya as the end of an era in the university.
Obiani said that Akwanya belonged to the era of those who knew what being dedicated to duty entails.
“Akwanya believes that there is no shortcut to success but through hard work and honesty.
“The faculty will forever remain grateful to Akwanya for his immense contributions to the faculty,” he said.
The highlight of the occasion was the cutting of the cake to mark Prof Akwanya’s 70th birthday.