The pro-chancellor of Gregory University, Uturu, Professor Gregory Ibe has explained reasons why the school awarded an honorary doctorate degree to the controversial Onitsha Prophet, Chukwuemeka Ohanemere, popularly known as ‘Odumejeje.
In a telephone interview with Jungle Journalist, Professor Ibe admitted that he was irked to learn that Odumejeje was in their list, but that when he confronted the school management on why they should nominate such a controversial figure for the degree, he was reminded that as a centre of knowledge, the school cannot and will not base its analyses on popular opinion, but would rather work with facts rather than rumours.
He stated that Management was able to prove that Odumejeje was very qualified to receive the doctorate, hence its issuance to the Prophet.
His words “The university management took a decision and I had to own up to it.
“I came in from America and learnt in the morning of the convocation that he was part of those who were to be given an honorary doctorate and I didn’t like it. But when they marshalled out their reasons to me, I was forced to agree that he is eminently qualified for it.
“The criteria for the selection of Odumejeje is largely based on humanitarian activities to the people.
“There was an inferno in Onitsha, and without wasting time, he went to Onitsha and began to rehabilitate the victims. He went there before even the state government took any action to help. What is mass action for a typical igbo man?
“The university took note of that, the government gave N100 million only this week, other churches also went there later.
“If a man is evil, who are we to judge? It’s in the eyes of God to decide and prove that this man is good or evil.
“According to my management, he said, ‘if you adjudge me to be evil or good, just be aware that I am trying to lift more people out of the poverty line.
“Many of those criticising him commit more evil in hiding. If this man is evil, are there proofs? If there are none, then we must judge him based on his good deeds, not based on public opinion. Eddy Nawgu was all over the place and he was popular, until God arrested him and he paid the ultimate price.
“Two Uturu people died in the Onitsha fire incident and Odumejeje has lifted their families as well.
“Nollywood actors are following him around, why, since Nollywood is a platform for the exposition of evil? There must be something good about him that’s making them follow him.
“We are throwing this as a challenge to Ndi Igbo – come out and do something humanitarian for our people, touch the lives of the people positively and see if we won’t celebrate you”, Ibe stated.