Insurance risk expert receives honorary doctorate degree award

Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike

Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU) in Abia State, has been slated to have an educational Research and Human Development Centre for Insurance, Risk Management and Human Development Studies.

This was offered the university by the donor of the Centre, Prof Joe Mike Irukwu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and insurance and risk management expert at the MOUAU eight Convocation ceremony.

Irukwu was conferred with an honorary doctor of Science Degree D.Sc. in Business Administration, along with a posthumous one in Agriculture conferred on the late Premier of the defunct Eastern region, Dr. Michael Iheonukara Okpara.

Explaining his choice of the Centre in his acceptance speech, Irukwu, a past president-general of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said: “I have devoted most of my working life to the business of insurance, law, corporate governance, and risk management, as my contribution to the development of our country and humanity in general.

“In appreciation of the key role of this great university to our national growth and development that we have decided to donate an Educational Research and human development Centre for Insurance, Risk Management and Human Development Studies, as part of the university’s expansion activities to these important areas of societal and human development.”

Indicating his desire to have the Centre take off soonest, he said he set up a Committee led by Dr Phillip Nto, who will “at the end of this Convocation, approach the university authorities to assist us in working towards the establishment of this centre in collaboration with some of my distinguished friends and institutions to which I belong, together with the J.O. Irukwu Educational and Human Development Foundation.”

He commended MOUAU for honouring the late Dr Okpara, whom he described as a great man and an outstanding leader, and recalled that at the age 39, he assumed office and the mantle of leadership as Premier of Eastern Nigeria in 1959, and therefore became the youngest premier at that time.

“His relative youth notwithstanding, Okpara brought an undiluted dynamism, outspokenness and uncommon integrity to the leadership of the Eastern Region, delivering outstanding progress in Education, Health care and infrastructural development.”

“The fact that I am receiving this award along with one of our most distinguished leaders, Dr Michael Iheonukara Okpara of blessed memory, who is being honoured posthumously at this special ceremony, makes the event most unique and memorable.

“To be honoured along with such a distinguished leader and outstanding personality is indeed one of the highlights of my career for which we thank God.

“From all accounts, Okpara’s greatest achievements were in the area of agriculture and agricultural reforms at a critical transitional period in our national life. In this area, he not only put in place well thought through policies and international best practices, and as Minister of Agriculture & Production in the Eastern Region, started an ‘agrarian revolution’ that drove the modernisation and growth of agricultural practices in the Eastern Region.”

Irukeu therefore described the establishment of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture as a fulfilment of the vision of Dr. Okpara in his advocacy of ‘pragmatic socialism’ and emphasis that agricultural reform was critical to the success of Nigeria.

He added that with MOUAU’s rich pedigree in both the name it has chosen, and the circumstances of its formation as a specialised institute, continues to make waves both locally and internationally, giving credence to the University’s motto: ‘Knowledge, Food, and Security,’ in this context.



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