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ASUU’s allegation on proliferation of varsities in Delta false – Okowa

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ASUU’s allegation on proliferation of varsities in Delta false – Okowa - Naija News 247
ASUU’s allegation on proliferation of varsities in Delta false – Okowa

By Clara Egbogota

Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta says criticism by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) that the state  is proliferating universities with recent establishment of three new ones is false.

Okowa spoke at the inauguration of chairmen and members of the Governing Councils of the three new universities at Government House, Asaba.

The three Universities are the University of Delta, Agbor; Dennis Osadebey University, Asaba; and the Delta State University of Science and Technology, Ozoro.

He said  the universities were established to broaden access to the teeming number of students from the state,  desirous of university education.

He also said that it was to ensure that no qualified student from the state was denied admission into the University.

“Let me respectfully disagree with the position of ASUU that there is an unhealthy proliferation of state universities in the country.

“The establishment of universities is on the concurrent list and, as a state, we do so when the need arises.

“In our case, it is to fill the gap created by shortage of space and to increase access to university education for our qualified youths,’’ he said.

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Okowa said that according to the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) 2018 report, 80,131 indigenes of the state,  representing 4.85 per cent of total applicants, sat for the board’s university entrance examination.

He stressed that only a fraction of those who passed could be admitted.

“Also, for the 2019/2020 academic session, 25,896 candidates from the state chose Delta State University (DELSU)  as first choice. Out of this number, 22,358 qualified but only 4,854 candidates could be admitted.

“From the foregoing, you can see that even the state-owned DELSU has reached its full carrying capacity, hence, it is incumbent on us as an administration to broaden access to university education for our bright students.

“Especially in the fields of medicine, engineering, law, ICT, and architecture,” he said.

The governor said the ongoing strike by universities lecturers was nationwide and it was not a state issue.

“Teachers in the state’s universities merely joined in the action in obedience to their union’s directive,” he said.

According to the governor, the state government is not in dispute with any staff union in its tertiary institutions.

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“The issues raised by ASUU at the national level do not pertain to us in Delta as the allowances they are asking for are already being enjoyed by staff in our tertiary institutions.”

Okowa described members of the universities’ governing councils as men and women of proven integrity and impressive track record in the academia in public administration and the private sector.

He urged them to bring their wealth of experience to bear in the respective institutions.

“As the supreme governing authority of the university, you are expected to use your expertise and experience to put these universities on the trajectory of growth, academic excellence, and national recognition.

“It is incumbent on them to bring balance and disinterested judgment to policy issues, the general management of the affairs of the university as well as provide the expenditure template for the universities.

“I expect the councils to lead the efforts in ensuring financial autonomy of the universities. 

“To do this successfully, you need to concentrate more of your efforts on marketing these institutions and sourcing help, financial and otherwise, for them,” he said.

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He said his administration had embarked on the construction and upgrade of 44 infrastructural projects in the three universities which were already at advanced stages of completion.

Prof. Emmanuel Nwanze, Pro-Chancellor of University of Delta, Agbor.  described  Okowa as a visionary leader whose impact in creation of the three new universities would be felt and appreciated in 20 years time.

He urged other Pro-Chancellors and members of the governing councils to distance themselves from the day-to-day running of the universities to eschew acrimony  in the institutions.

Those inaugurated for University of Delta, Agbor, were Prof. Emmanuel Nwanze, Pro-Chancellor; Dr. Geoffrey Enita, retired  Rear Admiral Peter Eluma , Prof. Ebele Egwunyenga, Dr Roland Oritsejafor, and Prof. Job Akpodiete.

Dennis Osadebey University, Asaba, has Prof. Robert Ikomi as Pro-Chancellor; Dr Christopher Onyemenam, Prof. Ezekiel Agbalagba, Prof. Peter Aloamaka, Prof. Sam Ogege, Dr Arnold Ojugo, and Mrs Vivian Nanah.

Delta State University of Science and Technology, Ozoro has Chief Godson Echegile as Pro-Chancellor; Prof. Benedict Binebai, Prof. Arthur Ekpeko, Chief Terry Otuya, Prof. Sam Aghalino and Mrs Felicia Omatsola.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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Olajire Taofeek
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