Former Vice Chancellor of Imo State University and Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie has been appointed as Chairman of the Committee for the establishment of University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo.
Prof. Awuzie heads other members drawn from the academia and they are expected to submit their report in six weeks.
Other members of the Committee are Prof. Victor C. Kogah, Prof. Basil O. Nwosu, Prof. Vitalis C. Nwulu, Barr. T. I. Igwe (Secretary), Dr. Aloy Ojilere, Engr. Prof. K. B. Oyoh, Prof. Chiedozie C. Eze, and Mr. Uwandu Uzoma (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education).
Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State inaugurated the Committee on Friday at the Sam Mbakwe Executive Council Chambers, urging them to work towards ensuring that the University takes off with others during the next academic session.
Governor Uzodimma told the Committee that when the University takes off, it will provide the educational and employment needs of the people of Imo State.
Prior to the inauguration, Governor Uzodimma had played host to traditional rulers and leaders from Ohaji/Egbema who came to thank him for the decision to have Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo changed to University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.
Led by Chief Charles Orie, the traditional rulers and leaders told Governor Uzodimma that he has demonstrated love for their communities and pleaded that the new arrangement will take into consideration the educational and employment needs of the communities hosting the University.
The stakeholders also pledged their total support to the government of Governor Uzodimma on behalf of the Umuagwo Communities.
While responding after their inauguration, Prof. Awuzie promised that the Panel will submit its report in six weeks just as the Governor assured of government’s support to enable them do a thorough job.
On Thursday when Governor Uzodimma went on a tour of facilities at the proposed site of the University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, he expressed the preparedness of the state for a take-off of the University in the next Academic Session.
Rounding-off the inspection tour at the Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo, the Governor told the media that the facilities on ground are more than enough for any University to start.
Governor Uzodimma noted that Imo State has already got the National Universities Commission’s (NUC) license for the Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo, to operate as a University. Hence, he visited to access the available facilities.
He emphasized that there may be initial challenges of appropriate Staff in terms of qualification, standards of academic and non-academic staff, yet the need for a second University owned by the state has become necessary as that will go a long way in reducing the burden on the present Imo State University and foray of Imo children seeking admission into the University.
The Governor also announced that soon an implementation Committee will be inaugurated to consider and implement the reports submitted by the Visitation Panel to Imo Polytechnic, Umuagwo. He explained that the Committee will scrutinize the staff nominal roll of the Polytechnic, recommend those qualified to migrate to the University while leaving others to continue as staff and management of the Polytechnic.
Governor Uzodimma reassured all that the arrangement will be a “win-win” situation where no one will lose out as those who will upgrade their qualification in future will as well have the opportunity to migrate to the University as staff.
Governor Uzodimma, who inspected the main workshop, male and female hostel, the Oil Palm Nursery value chain, the four ICT centres, the College Auditorium, Laboratory and Library, the Fishery, Poultry and Cassava processing plant as well as class room blocks, warned that the entire land of the Polytechnic in Ohaji Egbema LGA of Imo State belongs to the State Government.
He, therefore, warned against encroachments to the land from any quarters and promised to revoke and return back to government any of such lands. “Government will not tolerate any of such acts no matter whose ox is gored,” Governor Uzodimma assured.
The Governor used the opportunity to acknowledge and commend the presence of the Federal Government through the Tetfund projects visibly present in the Polytechnic. He said the projects will go a long way in facilitating the take-off of the proposed University.
He urged the Polytechnic Management and Staff to continue with their normal duties as government will surely pay them their salaries and entitlements. He thanked the host Community for their peaceful co-existence with the Polytechnic, noting that better days are ahead for them and the entire Imo State.
Earlier, the Rector of the Polytechnic, Sir John Ikechukwu Mbadike, while welcoming the Governor, described him as a distinguished Imo son and Senator who has a lot of passion and goodwill for the Polytechnic. He lauded Governor Uzodimma for attracting a lot of ICT and technological equipment and other facilities to the school that made the Institution to be one of the first accredited CBT centres in Nigeria.
CPS/Media Adviser to Executive Governor of Imo State