Rivers State Governor. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has charged the Acting Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt to restore the institution to the path of academic excellence.
Governor Wike said the institution used to be one of the best in academics, character moulding and leadership in the country.
A statement by Paulinus Nsirim, Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, disclosed that Governor Wike made the observation when the Acting Vice Chancellor, Prof. Stephen Okodudu led a delegation of the management of the institution on a courtesy visit to Government House, Port Harcourt.
The Governor expressed regret that the institution has become a place where lecturers align with mainstream politicians in order to manipulate the electoral process.
“It is appalling that the appointment of a Vice Chancellor of the institution is also immersed in such political consideration.
“That is the reason why there is an impasse in the emergence of a substantive Vice Chancellor.
“I must tell you the truth. Politics has penetrated the institution. The position of a Vice Chancellor used to be based on merit.
“But the consideration now is different. Every Vice Chancellor wants to align to a politician or is appointed because of such affiliation. In turn, he recruits willing lecturers who will be used to manipulate the electoral process.
“Such trend is destroying the university system. It distracts from the core business of teaching. After manipulating the outcome of an election, you will turn around to say leaders are not doing anything.
“You make it possible for bad leaders to emerge and you bemoan their inefficiency in office. How can you exonerate yourselves from such leadership?
“Rigging of election is worse than armed robbery. It is better to punish such people more because they have denied the people their mandate and benefits of good governance, ” he stated.
The Governor also restated his commitment to support his alma mater in order to enhance learning.
He recalled that as a minister he attracted the Faculty of Law and also built the Faculty of Social Sciences.
Contract, he said, has been awarded for the construction of a new convocation arena and funds will be released soon.
“We want the glory of the school to be restored. Return it to what it used to be.
“My Commissioner for Commerce whose husband is a lecturer in your institution informed me about the bad section of the East West Road. I quickly sent the State Road Maintenance Agency to fix it,” he said.
The Acting Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Stephen Okodudu said he is appointed to serve for six months.
He stated that within the period, he is expected to restore peace and the machinery has already been set in motion.
He thanked Governor Wike for the existing harmonious relationship between the State Government and the institution.
Prof. Okodudu noted the several support the State Government had given the institution and commended Governor Wike for his doggedness in providing quality infrastructure to develop the State.