Another wrong investment in Edo University
Two full-page adverts on Wednesday, February 24, 2016, declared vacancies for Academic, Non-academic and admission into Degree programmes for 2015/2016 academic session of Edo University, Iyamo in Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State. It would have been a thing of joy that another university has been added to the existing tertiary institutions in Edo State. But considering the present financial position of the state government and the total neglect of the already existing government tertiary institutions, one can only conclude that the establishment of Edo University, Iyamo is not just uncalled for, it is retrogressive, untimely, a misplacement of priority and meant to serve the personal interest of the comrade governor.
At present, Edo State has a university (Ambrose Alli University, AAU) Ekpoma, School of Technology and Management Sciences, Usen, College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi, Michael Imoudu Institute of Physical Education, Afuze, School of Health Technology, Benin-City, College of Education (Tayo Akpata University of Education), Ekiadolor and College of Education, Igueben, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Benin-City. Apart from these state-owned tertiary institutions, there are federal institutions like the University of Benin (Uniben), Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, Federal Institute of Construction Technology, Uromi and some privately owned such as Igbinedion University, Okada, Benson Idahosa University, Samuel Adegboyega University, Ogwa, Shaka Polytechnic and Light House Polytechnic all in Edo State. For a governor to even contemplate establishing another university where you already have five, three polytechnics, two colleges of education, five schools of nursing and midwifery, one school of physical education, one institute of construction technology means that the governor not only lacks direction and focus, but he is also wasteful and insensitive to the needs of the people.
As at today, all Edo State Government owned tertiary institutions are glorified secondary schools as a result of lack of adequate funding, facilities and personnel. What do you expect from an administration where the governor functions not only as the over-all chief executive, but also as Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Head of Service (HOS), Commissioner, Accountant-General, Auditor-General and even the Head of Board of Parastatals?
When the Management of Ambrose Alli University requested for N1.26 billion from Edo State Government for the accreditation of all the courses in the university and upgrade of teaching facilities, Oshiomhole gave out a paltry sum of N120 million. As at today, all the courses in education failed accreditation and those that were fully accredited before now have been reduced to interim accreditation as a result of lack of facilities and man power. Since he became governor of Edo State, no employment or replacement had been done in the university to fill the existing vacancies.
Oshiomhole came up with two executive bills to the House of Assembly. One was to upgrade the College of Education, Ekiadolor to the status of a University to be known as Tayo Akpata University of Education, Ekiadolor and the other bill was to establish a new one to be known as Edo State University of Science and Technology, Uzairue. There is no particular town or village called Uzairue. Uzairue is a clan that has about 11 villages or towns among which are Jattu, Iriaokhor, Afashio, Afunwa and Iyamo. In terms of population and size, Iyamo is the smallest, but that is the comrade governor’s village.
Oshiomhole knew this very well. He later sent another bill to the House of Assembly seeking to amend the Act establishing the Edo State University of Science and Technology, Uzairue to Edo State University of Science and Technology, Iyamo-Uzairue (Estako West II). Within 48 hours, the amendment bill was passed into law and the university became known as Edo State University of Science and Technology, Iyamo. When was it amended from Edo State University of Science and Technology Iyamo to Edo University, Iyamo?
The bills for the upgrade and for the establishment of a new university were passed on March 27, 2014 by the House of Assembly and the governor did not assent to the bills differently but the same time. How come that the Iyamo University that had no single block on ground is now ready for academic activities while Ekiadolor with existing facilities, teaching and non-teaching staff listed for upgrading, has not been able to take off as a university? Very curious circumstances that only Oshiomhole is in a better position to explain.
Referring to the passing of the Edo University of Science and Technology, Uzairue bill, Governor Oshiomhole was quoted to have said “until we have a country where the governor’s child can go to a public school, then we have not gotten there”. This was another deceit that it was a public university whereas one of the clauses of the executive bill reads “The Edo University of Science and Technology Uzairue which will operate as Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative, the fee-paying university will be self-sustaining and charge economic fee necessary to sustain competitive international standard.” Public Private Partnership (PPP) means that the university would be managed by the state government and private investors. Edo people would want to know who are the private investors.
In this year’s budget, N1.2 billion (about 10%) was earmarked for Edo University, Iyamo, from the total budget of N13.64 billion for the education sector. We challenge the comrade governor for the sake of transparency and accountability to explain to Edo people the actual amount for the projects, who are the private investors and how much the private partners have invested in these projects. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) should investigate the ownership of the Edo University, Iyamo and the source of funding.
Akhigbe wrote from Benin.
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