From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said he did not believe that establishing more universities will solve the problems associated with higher education.
Governor Wike stated this while speaking at the flag-off ceremony for the establishment of Emohua campus of the Rivers State University in Emohua Local Government Area, yesterday.
He said what should be of more concern should be how more funds could be committed to existing universities, so that they can offer the needed holistic educational training in the production of requisite manpower for the country.
“Why I cannot build more universities is not because I don’t have where to build (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 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.
Governor Wike said he was mindful of the dreams of the founding fathers of the state university that the institution should drive education-related development from designated council areas in the state.
He said in addition to Etche, Ahoada and Emohua campuses of the university, the government has decided to site another campus in Ogoniland.
Wike said: “Because I believe in the dream of the founding fathers of this university, there’ll be another campus in Ogoni. I have already told the pro-chancellor and the 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 the chairman of the governing council of that institution said they don’t think they can use it.
“We cannot allow the structures to remain like that. So, a campus of the university will move in there immediately.
“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.”
Performing the flag-off, former vice chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Ndowa Lale, said Governor Wike is using the enormous investment in education to achieve holistic development of the state.
According to him, multiple campuses of a university promote, increase carrying capacity for the institution, improve revenue and eventually facilitate development of the host communities.