Senator Okowa decried situation where most Nigerians now seek to attend universities abroad whereas in the time past, Nigerian Universities were sort after by foreigners.
The Governor who spoke when members of the University of Ibadan Alumni Association (UIAA) paid him a courtesy call in the government house, Asaba on July 31, 2015, emphasized that the alumni associations have a lot of roles to play in ensuring that their alma mater are better places to seek knowledge.
“A lot is going wrong nationally in our universities, they are not exactly where they are supposed to be, I think that at this critical point in time, it is really important for our alumni associations to begin to look inwards to find ways of supporting our Universities to be what they ought to be,” he said, adding, “I do know that in the past, a lot of people used to struggle to come to Nigerian Universities but, now, our children are going to find knowledge in other countries, I do not think that is in the right direction.”
He reiterated, “Alumni associations should begin to look beyond providing infrastructure, we need to look into the administration and academic situation of our universities to know truly if we are producing the right kind of students for the Nigerian society.”
The Governor, who noted that appropriate funding may be the bane of the Universities, stated that though the TETFUND was doing a lot, there is a lot of room for improvement.
He said, “I also think that we need to have a stakeholders meeting as it concerns education advancement in this country so that we are able to find appropriate means of funding for the Universities, though, a lot is been done through the TETFUND, it doesn’t appear to be enough.”
“The administration of the universities itself is something we need to properly look at because, we don’t seem to be getting the best,” he stated, asserting, “we are beginning to have charlatans among those in academics and administration of our universities.”
Governor Okowa lauded the scholarship scheme for indigent students as introduced by the UIAA, saying that it would ensure that intelligent students were not deprived of education because of their background.
He also used the occasion to restate his resolve for even development of the state, disclosing that it was important for Asaba as the state capital to get its fair share of developmental projects.
“Our state is very peaceful, Asaba is very peaceful, we are proactive in the development of the state capital because, visitors will judge the rest of the state from what they see in Asaba,” he said, while thanking members of the UIAA for choosing Asaba for their National Executive Council (NEC) meeting.
Earlier, the National President of UIAA, Dr Kemi Emina, accompanied by members of the executive and ‘ancient’ members of the association, as well as members of the Asaba Chapter of UIAA, the host chapter, had congratulated the Governor for being the first alumnus of the University of Ibadan from Delta State to be a Senator and also, emerge as the Governor of the state.
While informing him that they were in the state for their NEC meeting, Dr Emina said as an association that was created to add value to its alma mater, the UIAA was constructing a lecture theatre, awarding scholarship to indigent students and actively involved in the activities of the University for it to uphold the ideals of its founding fathers.
Highlight of the historic visit was the decoration of Governor Okowa with the UIAA Muffler by National President, Dr. Kemi Emina.
Amongst the top Uites who graced the occasion, include the Delta state Deputy Governor, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro, the Delta State Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr. Kingsley Emu, former House of Reps members and now Special Adviser to Governor Okowa on Inter-Parliamentary matters, Hon. Paschal Adigwe and the Delta State Head of Service and also UIAA Asaba Chapter Chairman, Sir Patrick Origho.
The ‘ancients’ included Chief Uso Onianwa, Oza-Okita Ahaba, Dr. David Maduemezia, Oligbo Ahaba, Dr. Edoziem, brother of the Asagba of Asaba, Chief Ikechukwu Aduba, former Delta State Police Commissioner, Lady Esther Elue, wife of the former Deputy Governor of Delta State and Chief (Dr.) Wellington Okirika, the Bolowei of Gbaramatu kingdom and pioneer Chairman of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC.
The UIAA Asaba chapter members were led by 1st Vice Chairman, Samuel Ilabor and included, Chucks Erhire, Secretary, Uche Maduemezia, Treasurer and David Diai, Publicity Secretary, as well as Chairman of the Hosting Committee, Sir Richard Asenime and his committee members, Emeka Ohaegbu, Ronke Oyelude, CC Ebenuwa and Bernard Palmer, amongst others.