A Toast To Cornel Ellah, CRUTECH Mass Comm New HOD

Sir Cornelius Ellah, Head of Department, Mass Communication, CRUTECH.

About a fortnight ago, I made a post on Facebook congratulating Sir Cornelius Ellah, one of my former Lecturers who was recently appointed as the Head of Department of Mass Communication, Cross River University of Technology, CRUTECH. I also promised to do an article on why majority of his former and current students are very excited about his elevation to the position of HOD. Today, I've decided to fulfill that promise.

In 2008 was when I got admitted into the department of Mass Communication, CRUTECH. I received my first lecture in 2009. As it is with the Nigeria situation, I got admission around October or November of 2008 when the academic session actually began but did my registration around February the next year. This was when I met the soft spoken and well dressed excellent Lecturer, Mr. Cornelius Ellah. He was the exams officer of the department at the time.

As a student, from my year 1, I was never a complete academic student who gave attention only to his books. I was very involved in other extra-curricular and social activities like Unionism, sports, fellowship etc. Being a student who was not completely academic (I wasn't a non-academic student either), I was also not very close to any Lecturer  particularly even though I related with most of them very well.

Sir Ellah, one of the most popular Lecturers in department was always more than a Lecturer to me in spite of the fact that I wasn't one of the Students that was very close to him. He was one of the Lecturers that always boasted my confidence about my outlooks. There was hardly a time I'll see him without him telling me "Peter, you look good, keep it up".

Complements like that coming from someone who was largely regarded as the best dressed Lecturer in the department meant a lot to me. Among the students, we were always discussing how he dresses so well and his quality of teaching. Nine in every ten Students then would always say positive things about him. I've no doubt that it has changed because his positive testimonies from students were there before some of us even got admitted into the department.

Cornel as he is fondly called by his colleagues is one of the longest serving Lecturers in the department. He has very unique method of teaching. He was among the very few Lecturers that at the end of every semester, you can keep a very comprehensive note from any course he teaches. Till date, many of us still refer to some of his notes to refresh our brains.

In terms of punctuality to lecture, nobody does it better. With utmost respect to all my former and current Lecturers, there's nobody I've sat under his tutelage that has demonstrated discipline in punctuality more than him. His 7:AM is 7:AM. With him, there's no "Africa time". His man management is always shown in this aspect. He doesn't use his gift of time discipline to judge his students. He understands that so many students may wish to be as discipline as him with time but because of some circumstances beyond their control, they tend to report a bit late to class.

Mr. Ellah can fix a class by 7:AM and still allow students 20 minutes later to enter his class. Some people may not understand what this means to students until they have a Lecturer that if you're one minute late to class, you're destined to fail that semester. Others may say he was breeding indiscipline as students are supposed to wait for Lecturers, but as correct as it seems, they're some students that must wake in the morning and finish house chores before they are allowed to go school.

Some are even workers so it's always difficult for them to meet the exact time as the funding for their education most times depend on some of these sacrifices. Understanding this bitter reality, he gives some minutes of grace to people with these peculiar issues. But he doesn't allow students to abuse the grace either because he perfectly understands those with these situations and others who deliberately don't like taking their studies seriously.

One of the things that endeared him so much to students is his extraordinary connection with them. Mr. Elah is the only Lecturer I've seen in my whole life that knows all his students by name. I mean all. Even if the class is as large as 300, he will call everybody by name. There's always a feeling of relevance when you see your leader call you by name. Because he knows everybody by name, he always understand how to approach every single student to  help them improve.

He teaches in and outside the class. He blows cold when necessary and hot if the occasion demands. His appointment as HOD is something that many who have passed through the department always prayed for. They're some Lecturers that students curse instead of praying for them but CRUTECH Mass Communication department is so blessed to have majority Lecturers in the good books of their Students.

Mr. Ellah's exams are usually some of the best for most students not because his questions are usually simple but because his questions allow students the freedom to think and express themselves according to how they individually understand his lectures. He's never going to ask you to define something but to solve a problem with a definition based on your understanding of the concept. This gives students so much freedom to express themselves. It's always near impossible for two people to have the same answer to his questions but very frequent for two people with different approaches to a question to have the same scores.

He is indeed a Lecturer that every student should dream of having. He makes his students who pass appreciate their efforts and those who fail to accept their failures and prepare them to do better in subsequent exams.

His appointment may mean a dream come true for him because he has worked so hard for the department, Students and University to get to the level he is now, but it means more to a lot of people out there whom he has impacted directly or indirectly through his near perfect lecturing, lifestyle on and off campus and rare leadership qualities he has displayed over time.

For this, on behalf of hundred of thousands of his former and present students, I say a big thank you to the Acting Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Austine Angba for the worthy appointment and a very warm congratulations to him. We wish him nothing but the best. With him, we are sure that the department is in safe hands as he'll continue to build on the legacies of his predecessors to greater success.

Once again, congratulations Sir.

Inyali Peter, Ellah's former Student writes from Calabar.
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  1. I am indeed so proud of my inlaw. This appointment is very well deserved. Thank you so much Mr Inyali for this beautiful piece of testimony about the new HOD,Mass Comm. Mr Ellah.



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