Western Delta University held her first of the Inaugural Lecture series on Thursday 14th July, 2022. The event began with the Registrar introducing members of the Vice Chancellor’s procession to all in attendance. Thereafter, The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Augustine Ikelegbe presented his opening remark titled “The University, The Professor and The Inaugural lecture”. He said a university is a community of scholars and students learn under the guidance of their lecturers. The title Professor is the highest rank a lecturer can attain in recognition of his/ her research works and contribution to knowledge. An inaugural lecture announces a professor’s research outcome as well as prowess to the university community and public.
The Inaugural Lecturer, Prof. Emmanuel Okaka was called upon to deliver the lecture entitled: “Man, Work and Conflict: The Search for Solution through an Unsavory yet, Necessary Triad Relationship.” He started by saying that wherever humans exist, work is there and conflict must occur. If not resolved, such conflict can lead to breakdown of law and order. Government, management and labor unions are the actors with regards to labor relations. Workers are registered under labor unions, just as management serves as a link between workers and government. The government ought to provide an enabling environment for development to take place.
He highlighted the reasons for unresolved conflicts between trade unions and government in Nigeria to include: refusal of government and government agencies to implement agreements reached with labor unions, contempt of court orders that favor workers, selfishness of labor union leaders, just to mention a few. This is what the inaugural lecturer termed “unsavory nature of labor relations.” He chronicled the history of trade unions in pre-colonial Nigeria from 1938 to our present democratic era.
For industrial crisis to be thoroughly resolved, Prof. Okaka proposed that Government should always implement all agreements reached with trade unions, involve all parties in the process of conflict resolution, create a working environment for development, synergize with union members and management. Union leaders on their part should not be self-centered by calling for strike just to align their pockets. They should keep the interests of the workers in mind when negotiating for better working conditions and salary packages.
The event had in attendance dignitaries from all works of life, including the Pro Chancellor of the University, Emeritus Professor Andrew Onokhoraye, Principal officers of the university, lecturers, students, Head of the Nigeria Navy command, Oghara, Local Government Chairman of Ethiope West local government area, a representative of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Delta State, renowned media consultant, Mr. Tony Abolo, family members, friends and well-wishers of the inaugural lecturer. The maiden inaugural lecture was climaxed with the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Augustine Ikelegbe decorating the Inaugural Lecturer, Prof. Emmanuel Okaka in the presence of his family members to the admiration of attendees.
Shadrach Aika, Western Delta University News