Kate Polycarp, Umuahia
Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has expressed sadness over the death of the former Vice-Chancellor of the Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike (MOUAU), Professor Francis Otunta.
Otunta died in a ghastly motor accident on Tuesday, while returning from his hometown.
Governor Ikpeazu described the demise of Professor Otunta as a painful and heart-breaking loss.
In a statement made available to journalists by his Chief Press Secretary, Barr. Onyebuchi Ememanka, the Governor said, Professor Otunta was one of Nigeria’s finest mathematicians and educational administrators.
He said in the area of managing the affairs of tertiary institutions, the deceased was one of the most experienced in the country, having served as Rector of the Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic Unwana Afikpo and later as the Vice-Chancellor of MOUAU.
Ikpeazu said: “Professor Otunta was a well rounded academic who showed great respect to fellow academics. He supported and allowed me to lead a Research Team in Biochemistry at the University, even as Governor.
“Perhaps, his most enduring legacy, in my view, is that he shared and respected my position as Governor of Abia State that an indigene of the state should succeed him as Vice-Chancellor of that University. This shared philosophy gave birth to the emergence of a son of Abia State, Professor Madu Iwe as the current Vice-Chancellor of the University, something for which I will remain grateful”.
Governor Ikpeazu condoled the family of the Late Professor, the government and people of Ebonyi State and the entire academic community in Nigeria on the huge loss and prayed the Almighty God to grant his soul eternal rest.
In the same vein, the Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, has also expressed shock at the sudden demise of Prof. Otunta.
The Abia Speaker, in a statement, described the late Otunta as an accomplished academic who played his modest part in the educational development of Nigeria, saying that his death will surely leave the academic community in pains.
While praying the Almighty God to grant his soul eternal rest, the Speaker consoled Otunta’s family and asked God to grant them and all those affected by the death the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.