The Governor of Rivers State in south-south Nigeria, Nyesom Wike has advocated for increased funding of tertiary educational institutions to enhance training facilities and quality of learning.
Governor Wike made the remark during a ceremony for the establishment of a Campus of the Rivers State University at Emohua Local Government Area.
Wike, who noted that establishing more universities would not solve the challenges associated with higher education said increasing funding for existing universities and other tertiary education would eventually improve the quality of manpower in Nigeria.
“Why I cannot build more universities is not because I do not have where to build or site them, but it is to have the money to fund the universities. The ones we have, we have not been able to fund them.
“If I want to play politics, I can say I want to start a University of Engineering. It is easy to say that, but to bring it down to what is truly expected of a university of engineering; to employ lecturers, to provide infrastructure, and the equipment that are required for modern engineering is not an easy thing,” he said.
Concerning the state university, Wike noted that in addition to Etche, Ahoada and Emohua campuses of the university, the state government has decided to site another campus in Ogoniland.
He explained further, “because I believe in the dream of the founding fathers of this University, there will be another campus in Ogoni. I have already told the Pro-Chancellor and the Vice Chancellor of the university about that decision.
“I had earlier given out the premises of the Model Secondary School, Saakpenwa to the Kenule Benson Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic in Bori. But the Chairman of the Governing Council of that institution said they do not think they can use the site. We cannot allow the structures to remain moribund. So, a campus of the university will move in there immediately,” he stated.
Wike also said, “Bori area is now like a town. By the time the Saakpenwa-Bori-Kono road is completed, nobody will need to stay in Port Harcourt to go to work in Bori anymore.”
Flagging off the construction of the campus, the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Professor Ndowa Lale noted the enormous investment in education undertaken by Governor Wike, which he hinted was being utilized to achieve holistic developments in Rivers state.
Lale noted that having multiple campuses would translate to greater capacity for the university, improved revenue and facilitate development of the host communities.
Also speaking, the Vice Chancellor of the Rivers State University, Professor Nlerum Okugbule, said the institution was overwhelmed with the support received from the governor, which has helped to improve teaching and research capacities.
“It will be recalled that at the inception of the university in 1980, it was intended to have campuses in several parts of the state.
The aim was to use the various campuses to promote the development of all parts of Rivers state. After over forty years that vision has now been actualized by our courageous, bold and dynamic governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike,” he said.
On the types of building approved for the campus, the Director of Physical Planning, Rivers State University, Ben Woke, hinted “the governor has given approval for the construction and furnishing of hostel blocks, administrative building comprising 48 offices, 21 lecture halls and theatres in campus.
He said they would also construct and furnish a mini shopping centre, one health centre, a maintenance building, a guest house and internal roads, connect the campus to national grid and provide street lights.
Source: Voice of Nigeria