…But the N384bn 2021 budget didn’t capture them
…Education allocated N23.55bn in the budget
Ben Eguzozie, in Port Harcourt
Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa said the state administration was fully prepared with resources and facilities to take-off three newly created universities in the state. The varsities were recently approved by the universities regulatory body, the National Universities Commission (NUC).
The varsities are: University of Delta, Agbor, University of Science and Technology, Ozoro, and Dennis Osadebe University at Anwai.
“I believe we are set; we have to take a few quick actions to get everything set but the facilities on ground are immediately sufficient for the initial take off. All programmes of universities don’t take off at the same time, Governor Okowa said.
According to him, shortly after inspecting different facilities at one of the varsities, University of Delta, Agbor, the new universities have facilities needed for the commencement of academic activities by September this year.
Joseph Ukadike, provost of College of Education, Agbor, which is being upgraded to a university, took the governor round the campus.
The governor said, all three newly established universities in the state were starting off this session, adding that the number of faculties that they would start with for the first year might vary from university to university.
This stems from what he described as staggard take-off of the ivory towers as approved by the NUC. “The NUC does not give approval to new universities to start everything (all faculties) at a time,” Okowa said.
However, education and economic analysts are quite doubtful if the state’s 2021 budget of N384 billion would be able to carry the actual take-off of the three varsities in one academic session in a single state, given the knock-on effects of the Coronavirus pandemic which had badly hit the Nigerian macro-economy.
The capital expenditure (capex) is only N210 billion in the state’s 2021 budget tagged “budget of economic recovery.” Education was allocated N23.55 billion in the budget.
According to the analysts, the country is only battling to recover its marginal exit from a second recession in five years. All its sub-nationals (Delta State inclusive) have all caught cold from the macro-economy’s sneeze. All have gone with dwindling revenues from the federation envelop.
But Governor has ambitiously claimed that “the University of Delta, Agbor is ready to take off, just as we saw the situation in the University of Science and Technology, Ozoro, where we found out that the facilities in the institution were good enough for a take-off. We have five critical buildings that can serve for the take-off of various faculties; and I think that they will definitely be ready by September.”
He conceded that some of the facilities need improvement to make them more habitable; while new ones are critically needed.
According to him, at the University of Delta in Agbor, the government would not have any problem in terms of infrastructure. He hoped that the management committee that had been put up by the state government would be able to quickly look at the staff strength of the new universities, and to quickly advise where the government needed additional staff, and the staff in the universities that would fit into the new universities.
He announced the search for a site to build the Agbor university’s medical school. He spoke of Boji-Boji town, as one of the fastest growing towns in the state, and could take care of people in a university environment.
Frontpage November 20, 2019