By Sam Oti
The Provost of Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze, Anambra State, Prof. Josephat Ogbuagu, has emerged the Best Provost for 2016 after a screening exercise by the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN).
The deputy president of NYCN, Ezemagu Sunny Nnamdi, who led other officials of the council to the college to present the award recently, said the leadership of the FCET, Umunze, emerged as the most outstanding from the category of state and federal colleges of education in the country.
Ezemagu said the exemplary leadership of Ogbuagu at the FCET brought about rapid development in infrastructure at the permanent site of the college. He commended the provost for maintaining a good relationship with both staff and students of the institution, such that the college enjoyed uninterrupted academic sessions for the past seven years of his administration. Aside from the NCE programme offered by the college, he explained that its degree programme, run in affiliation with the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, as well as its Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PDE) had become a lifeline for thousands of students yearning for tertiary education in the country.
Similarly, the Secretary, Advisory Council, NYCN, Uzoh Ifeanyi, said the council had continued to play its role creditably as a bridge between Nigerian youths and the government. He said the council recently took up the task of evaluating the status of public tertiary institutions in the country to ensure that young people in the country enjoyed qualitative education.
“It is clear that education is the key that can change this society. There is need for us to recognise institutions, individuals and even the organised private sector that have done well in the advancement of education. We set up a committee to look at institutions in three categories: universities, polytechnics and colleges of education,” he explained.
He noted that the committee left no stone unturned in ascertaining institutions that had done well to enable students thrive academically. According to him, the committee also looked at the general improvements in various academic institutions especially in infrastructural development, staff and students’ welfare, stability of academic programme, as well as quality of teaching and learning.
“We selected three institutions for the 2016 recognitions: Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, Ibadan Polytechnic and the Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze. This is the first time the council would be doing this. The selection came after rigorous discussion, and from what we have seen in here, we have no iota of doubt that the council has made the right judgment,” he said.
He pointed out that the reports from the Students’ Union Government executives, as well as the comments of other students of the college had confirmed the position of the NYCN in the choice of Ogbuagu as the best provost in 2016. He described the provost as an exemplary leader whose firm academic leadership had raised the college to greater heights in the comity of colleges in the country.
While receiving the award, Ogbuagu commended the leadership of NYCN for the honour and promised to redouble his efforts at transforming the institution. He further explained that the concept of Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) prompted the need for skilled manpower. He said it was part of government’s initiative to encourage the training of skilled manpower in technical, vocational and science areas that led to the establishment of a Federal College of Education (Technical) in each geopolitical zone of the country. He expressed the hope that the FCET, Umunze, would later be elevated to a full-fledged university, noting that the vision of producing technically-inclined graduates was being realised.
Ogbuagu commended the effective leadership of the SUG led by the President, Okoye Nonso Augustine, for its understanding and proper handling of students’ matters. He disclosed that the college had maintained a zero-tolerance for cultism and warned students not to make themselves instruments of violence in the hands of unscrupulous individuals. He condemned at the attitude of some youths, who bragged about their nuisance value, without any preparation to become future leaders. He also advised students to live in hostels managed by the college, and desist from associating with people of questionable conducts.
The provost explained that his administration recognised the importance of skilled manpower in the country and introduced measures to reposition the teaching of technical, vocational and science subjects in the college. He said the School of Fine and Applied Arts, School of Industrial Technical Education (SITE) and other departments would exhibit unique vocational and technical works during an exhibition planned as part of this year’s convocation ceremonies, slated for Friday, March 31, 2017.