By Ugochukwu Iwuji
According to William Shakespeare, the celebrated world writer, some people are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them. The story of the Rev Canon Engr Dr Michael Chidiebere Arimanwa follows the second trajectory which points to the fact that some people, through a dint of sterling character and effort achieve greatness by themselves. There is no doubt that no achievement is made without passion and sacrifice. This explains why Napoleon Hill avers that “Greatness is usually born of great sacrifice.”
With a career in the educational sector, Rev Canon Arimanwa has not left anyone in doubt about his passion for hardwork, integrity and excellence. It was these tripartite virtues that guided him through the ranks as lecturer till he earned a place at the top management of the Federal Polytechnic Nekede. As an engineer, Rev Canon Arimanwa did not rest on his oars as he courageously traversed the gamut of academic trajectories till he got his Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Structural Engineering. Those who he had taught would readily attest to his intellectual erudition, savvy and meticulousness.
Calm and calculated, Rev Canon Arimanwa’s sterling personality is as tall as his tall frame. He is not given to too many words; but when he speaks, one can only perceive a man with great cognitive prowess. This makes him to easily stand a role model and even a hero to anyone who comes across him. His humility is also legendary as he galvanizes human resources for productivity, either in the church circle or academic community.
With a career shining as bright as the sun in the academia, Rev Canon Arimanwa did not lose sight of the call of God in his life. He also did not get carried away by the seeming allure of his job. Thus, he answered the call of God by enrolling into the holy order of priesthood in the Anglican Communion. That way, he became a scholar and a man of God. Accordingly, on the one hand, he serves as a fisher of minds for humanity, and on the other, he serves as a fisher of souls for God.
The most positive lesson in his secular and divine calling is that he performs his duties with commendable dexterity and passion. These are rare virtues that have made it easy for him to be a reference point in his calling. It therefore did not exactly come as a surprise to many when in 2018, the Federal Government of Nigeria appointed him Rector of the Federal Polytechnic Nekede. Being himself a product of the institution, the man of God quickly hit the ground running with an ambitious development and transformation of the infrastructural facilities, making them befitting of a modern polytechnic. Aware that teaching and learning cannot take place without adequate teaching aids, Rev Canon Arimanwa made the provision of teaching materials and aids a top priority. Remarkably, he also equipped the various laboratories and workshops in the polytechnic so that students can have practical knowledge of their various disciplines. It is notable that under his purposeful leadership, the polytechnic has fully digitized its operations, making information readily available in line with modern realities.
Underscoring the need for human capital development, Rev Canon Arimanwa implemented a deliberate policy which encouraged staff of the school to seek higher degrees within and outside of the country. This saw a high number of the polytechnic staff returning to school to equip themselves with requisite postgraduate learning. The aim of this policy is to massively unleash fresh intellectual energy to boost learning and productivity in the polytechnic. This policy has paid off as the polytechnic can now boast of a galaxy of intellectually sound and motivated academic staff who are vast in their areas of study. It was therefore not surprising that at the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Federal Polytechnic Nekede blazed a trail by manufacturing top-quality hand sanitizers and automated hand washing machines which it generously donated to the government and the public to assist in the fight against the dreaded epidemic. The polytechnic under the inspiring and pragmatic leadership of Rev Canon Engr Dr Michael C. Arimanwa has also scored another first as it has organised a COVID-19 test for its staff and students free of charge. Interested members of the public could also access the service at no cost to them.
Above all, the integrity and honour the hardworking cleric has brought in the administration of Federal Polytechnic Nekede is worthy of reference. Under his leadership, for instance, the polytechnic was rated as best performing polytechnic in the federation by National Board for Technical Education. Reports from JAMB also indicate that Federal Polytechnic Nekede is the first destination of choice for candidates. As a matter of policy, the polytechnic under the exemplary leadership of Rev Canon Arimanwa has inaugurated the culture of zero tolerance for any act of depravity, ineptitude and hooliganism. This is a psychological reorientation that needs to be replicated in all institutions of higher learning in order to reclaim the sanctity of our ivory towers.
Uneasy, they say, lies the head that wears the crown. Yet Rev Canon Engr Dr Michael C. Arimanwa has remained undaunted even as he has raised the bar in school administration to a commendable height. He has thus changed the narratives with innovative approach and exemplary leadership laced with integrity and hardwork. These are heroic traits that have insulated him from the conspiratorial narratives and antiheroic activities of fifth columnists. And since truth represents light, it is only natural that forces of darkness pale into insignificance at the epiphany of light.
Today, the workaholic Rector and preacher of the gospel has added another feather with his installation as Canon of the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of our Lord (CATOL), Owerri. The rank of a Canon in the Anglican Communion is one that commands honour and respect on the recipient. The rank itself is viewed as a standard in the taxonomization of the clergy in the Anglican Communion because the life of the recipient is seen as a standard or rule to others. Being installed as Canon of the Cathedral is significant in the sense that Rev Canon Engr Dr Michael C. Arimanwa has been found worthy to join the league of senior clergy who has faithfully added value to the priestly calling. In the main, this honour revalidates the biblical position in Proverbs 22:29 that a diligent man would always stand before kings. Certainly, there are so many awards and prizes that the Rev Canon Engr Dr Michael C. Arimanwa has garnered in his career, this one, is however, unique for its divine predilection.
Indeed, the life of Rev Canon Arimanwa is a lesson on the eternal verities of human virtue. Most importantly, it is a life laced in divine grace. Men of grace symbolically have the rare capacity to assail precarious conditions and emerge victorious. As this humble cleric is installed Canon by the Lord Bishop of Owerri Anglican Diocese, Rt Rev Chukwuma Chinekezi Opara, Ph.D; may he be guided by the strength and wisdom of the Most High God. Ultimately, may Rev Canon Engr Dr Michael Chidiebere Arimanwa revel and prevail in the aura of a fresh anointing to do God’s work and serve humanity. Amen.