…As monarch begs FG to elevate college to varsity
By Sam Otti
The new Governing Council, Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze, Anambra State, has expressed satisfaction with the state of development in the institution after a facility tour of the two campuses.
Members of the Council, at their inaugural meeting, in the college recently, promised to work with all stakeholders to consolidate the gains already recorded by the college so as to chart further progress.
The Chairman of the Governing Council, Barrister Ibrahim Radda, said the facility tour was prompted by the desire to ascertain the true state of learning facilities and building projects in the college before adding that the facilities in the college rank among the best in the country. He noted that the expansive college library with over 10 million book resources is second to none.
Other members of the Council include the representative of the Federal Ministry of Education, Mrs. Helen Abdu, the NCCE representative, Paul Onochie, Hon Uche Anakor, Edmond Nkalu, representing the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Prof. Josephat Ogbuagu, the Provost and representatives of the college’s Academic Board, Dr Jane Chinyere Madichie and Dr Christopher Ugwuogo, and the College Registrar and Secretary to the Council, Sir Augustine Udensi.
Raddah said members of the Council were happy with the transformation of the college by the Provost and his management team. He noted that with the current state of facilities in the institution, the college ranks high in the comity of Federal colleges of education in the country.
More accolades for the college came during a courtesy visit to the traditional ruler of the host community, His Royal Highness, Igwe Promise Ezeh, Abilikete 11. The royal father pleaded with council members to lend their support in elevating the college to University of Education, the first of its kind in the entire South East geopolitical zone. He noted that on assumption of office, the Provost, Prof. Ogbuagu, promised to attract degree programmes to the college and commended him for honouring his words.
Ezeh also pleaded with the federal government to construct the second link road to the college. According to him, the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, saw the plight of staff and students of the college on the dilapidated road and promised to construct the Nsogwu Road, which had been renamed Willie Obiano Boulevard.
The traditional ruler further pleaded with the Council to consider the appointment of a qualified candidate from the host community to succeed the outgoing Provost, noting that no indigene of the area had served in that capacity since the inception of the college in 1989.
In his response, the council chairman promised to address the peculiar challenges facing the college. He assured the traditional ruler that the selection of the next Provost would follow due process, which allows every qualified candidate from any part of the country to apply while adding that a candidate from the host community that meets the necessary requirements would be considered for the job.
Radda appealed to some aggrieved union members to sheathe their swords and work with the Council for peaceful resolution of any trade dispute assuring that the Council would stand on a neutral ground on issues affecting the college and would not pander to parochial sentiments.
Also speaking, a member of the Council, Hon Uche Anakor, from Anambra State, and who reported to have visited the college three years ago, said he was overwhelmed by the rapid transformation of the campus within a short period of time.
“Going by what I saw during our inaugural meeting, the development was unprecedented,” he said. “The college now has a lot of structures, and has moved to its permanent site. As an Anambra indigene, I can tell you that this state is the light of the nation. This college is a light to other colleges of education in the country.”
Anakor, known by the chieftaincy title of Omambala, informed that the desire to elevate the college to a full-fledged University of Education was raised during the council meeting and promised that the Council would lend the necessary support to this lofty aspiration of becoming the first Federal University of Education in the South East. He noted that the pedigree of the college has risen with the success recorded in the running of degree programmes, in affiliation with Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.
“I believe that in no distant time, we are going to accomplish the desire of becoming a Federal University of Education,” he assured. “The College has all the wherewithal, in terms of personnel, facilities, location, among others. The location of the college is unique. It can be accessed by people from Abia, Imo, Enugu, Delta, Rivers, Anambra states. Already, the college is running degree programmes. I don’t think there will be any hindrance to the quest to upgrading it to a university.”
He further assured: “We will approach the federal government, TETFund to see how they can help us to build more structures. If you are talking about becoming a university, there is need for more classroom blocks, auditorium, and other facilities. We are going to throw our weight behind that proposal and see what we can do to assist the school by looking out for necessary funding of these projects. To upgrade from a college to a university requires a lot of processes.”
He commended the cordial relationship between the college and host community, and promised that the Council would ensure that the amicable relationship will continue to flourish. He lauded the Provost, Prof. Ogbuagu, for providing the required leadership that had transformed the college to a centre of excellence and noted that the indelible footprint he left in the college would be missed on the completion of his tenure next year.
“I personally think the Provost has done so well. I raised the issue the other day,” he said. “I told him that if it were possible to give him a third term, I would strongly support it. But then, the college was established by an Act, which stipulates two tenures for the Provost. I learnt that when he came to the college, the population was less than 2000, but he grew the students’ population to over 5000. When it comes to building projects, he has done very well. His achievements cannot be washed away.”
Anakor expressed hope that Ogbuagu’s successor would take the college to greater heights noting that the Council would not allow any successor to drag the college down to the mud.
The Council members also visited Aguleri town to commiserate with the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, on the death of his mother.