Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, yesterday, declared that upgrading some higher institutions to fully-fledged universities will broaden access to university education in the state.
Okowa stated this in Asaba, while inaugurating an eight-member Project Management Committee for the three newly established universities, with Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof. Patrick Muoboghare as its Chairman.
Members of the committee are: Ambassador Godson Echegile, Prof. Emmanuel Nwanze, Prof. John Enaohwo, Prof. Abednigo Ekoko, Prof. Sam Ukala and Ejiro Udjo, while Mrs. Bridget Odobor will serve as secretary.
The governor said those criticising the establishment of four universities in the state had no knowledge of the critical data available to the state government.
“With the approval, we have scaled the major hurdle for their establishment. What remains now is for us to set in motion the appropriate structures and operational modalities for their successful commencement in the 2021/2022 academic session.
“In line with the process-driven character of our administration, it behooves us to have a Project Management Committee to midwife the successful transition of the Dennis Osadebey University, Asaba, University of Delta, Agbor and Delta State University of Science and Technology, Ozoro.
The governor lamented that most Delta people could not afford fees charged by private universities, adding that when frustrated, some of the youths resort to vices, while many join the migrant train in search of greener pastures to Europe using unorthodox methods, with all the dangers associated with such moves.
“It is, therefore, incumbent on us as an administration to broaden access to university education for our bright students, especially in medicine, engineering, law, Iformation and Communications Technology (ICT) and architecture.
“Our administration has worked hard to curb youth restiveness in the state through various entrepreneurship development programmes. Our efforts in this regard stand the risk of coming to naught if every year, more secondary school leacers are left stranded, not because they are not qualified, but because we lack enough space in public universities to accommodate them,” he added.
The committee, which has eight weeks to complete its assignment, was mandated to take stock of personnel, moveable assets and liabilities of the College of Education, Agbor, Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro and Delta State University, Anwai Campus, among others
Chairman of the Committee, Muoboghare, applauded Governor Okowa for the choice of members of the committee, assuring that it would work hard to submit its report within the stipulated time.