Wike seeks better funding for nation’s varsities
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has charged Nigerians to be more concerned and committed to funding existing universities to enable them to offer quality education and produce requisite manpower for the country.
Wike said establishing more universities would not solve the challenges confronting higher education in Nigeria.
He stated this yesterday at the inauguration ceremony of Emohua Campus of the Rivers State University (RSU) in Emohua Council.
“I cannot build more universities now, not because I don’t have where to build them, but I think it is more important to fund the existing institutions, because we have not adequately funded the ones we already have.
“If I want to play politics, I could start a University of Engineering. It is easy to say that, but to actualise it and make a standard university, employ lecturers, provide infrastructure and the required equipment for a modern engineering academy is not easy,” he stated.
Wike said he was mindful of the dreams of the founding fathers of the state university, stressing that the institution should drive education- related development from designated council areas in the state.
He stated that besides the Etche, Ahoada and Emohua campuses, the state government has decided to site another campus in Ogoniland.
“Because I believe in the dream of the founding fathers of RSU, there will be another campus in Ogoni. I have already told the Pro-Chancellor and Vice Chancellor about it.
“I had earlier given out the premises of the Model Secondary School, Saakpenwa to the Kenule Benson Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic in Bori. But Chairman of the Governing Council of that institution said they don’t think they can use the place.
“We can’t allow the structures to waste. So, a campus of the university will move there immediately. Bori area is now like a town. By the time we complete the Saakpenwa-Bori-Kono road, people will no longer stay in Port Harcourt and go to work in Bori,” he said.
Unveiling the project, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Prof. Ndowa Lale, commended Wike for the investments in education, adding that the governor was using it to achieve holistic development of Rivers State.
He said multiple campuses of a university would boost capacity of the institution, improve revenue and facilitate development of the host communities.
Vice Chancellor of RSU, Prof. Nlerum Okugbule, said the institution was overwhelmed with Governor Wike’s support, which he said, had helped to improve its teaching and research capacity.
He stated that 40 years after its establishment, Wike has actualised the founding fathers’ vision for the institution to have multiple campuses across the state.