Prof. Austin Asagba and the future of Western Delta University, Oghara – By Kparobo Ehvwubare


From the inception of the administration of Prof. Austin Ovigue
Asagba, as the Vice Chancellor of Western Delta University, Oghara.
Media reports in the institution had taken multifarious dimensions.
His leadership model has not only saturated the airwaves, but also
filled the volumes of newspapers and the cyber space.
The various shades of media reports on the developmental strides in
the citadel of learning are attestation his dogged efforts in the
fledgling institution. Despite its perennial billings coupled with
global economic meltdown.
Prof. Austin Ovigue Asagba with the co-operations of the management
staff  has sired sterling and tangible achievements with his sojourn
in the institution, in a bid to put the institution in its pride of
Philosophers say the only thing that is constant in life is change. So
it comes to a time when individuals, organizations, institutions etc.
have to embrace change in order to achieve dynamism in the affairs of
men and society. Therefore, Western Delta University, Oghara, Delta
State cannot be in isolation of the dynamics of change hence its
council has appointed a new Vice Chancellor, Prof Austin Ovigue
Asagba, a theatre arts academic, to take over from the out gone Vice
Chancellor, Prof Peter Hugbo.
Professor Austin Ovigue Asagba is a professor of theatre arts at the
University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State, since October 1, 2003. In
the past thirty years, he has trained and nurtured theatre artists,
critics, writers and culture experts etc. in the Faculty of Arts and
Humanities. He has served as a member of the Governing Council,
University of Benin and Dean, Faculty of Arts. He has also served at
various times as Head of Department of Theatre Arts and Mass
Communication of the University of Benin. He was also a member of the
Governing Council, College of Education, Agbor.
Prof. Asagba an Urhobo by virtue of birth and growth, Asagba speaks
Hausa and understands Igbo and Yoruba languages, giving him the
ability to communicate cadres of people and ability to manage human
relations and conflict resolution effectively.
“Beyond the Rhetoric of Theatre; Enhancing the platform for national
development,” He was guest lecturer at the World Culture Day
celebration in Abuja, Nigeria. He is a regular guest lecturer at
Goldsmith College University of London, England. He has also acted,
directed and produced several plays at home and abroad. His deep
interest in community theatre for integrated development enabled him
to work in collaboration with colleagues and friends in the Nigerian
Popular Theatre Association (NPTA] in various urban and rural
communities of Nigeria in the late 1980s and greater part of the
Prof. Asagba has published several essays and articles in scholarly
and learned journals both at home and abroad and his edited books
include, “Crosscurrents in African Theatre: Sam Ukala, “Theatre and
Minority Right: Perspective in the Niger Delta”. He was an editor of
the Society of Nigerian Theatre Journal (SONTA) and the Nigerian
Journal of Humanities. His first unpublished stage play; “The
crossroad” was written in 1978 and premiered by the diploma class of
the University of Ibadan Arts Theatre.
Asagba began his teaching career in the late 1981 after the completion
of his M.A. degree in Modern African Literature from the University of
Sheffield, England, with a second class (upper division) in theatre
arts from the University of Ibadan. He spent his national youth year
teaching at the Federal College of Education, Abeokuta, Ogun state.
After receiving his doctorate degree in theatre studies from the
University of Leads, England, in 1986, he served as a consultant and
community development expert and facilitator for the Niger Delta
Environment Survey (NDES) and Shell Petroleum Development Company
(SPDC), Nigeria, from 1998 to 2007. As a community development expert
for SPDC, Warri, he pioneered the participatory community development
strategies Forcados, Yokri integrated gas project, he was the
forerunner to the Bonny liquefied gas project. He applied the medium
of culture and theatre for development as communication entry point
and interface with the Forcados community.
He is a member of the International Drama/Theatre and Research (IFTR),
member of Academy of Letters. He has been an external examiner at both
the undergraduate and post graduate levels to the Universities of
Ibadan, Jos, Port Harcourt, Delta State University, Bowen, Ambrose
Alli, Ahmedu Bello, Abuja,  Calabar, Babcock, etc. He is a resource
person with the National Universities Commission (NUC).
Asagba is married with children.
At the inauguration of Prof. Asagba in 2014 as the Vice Chancellor
Western Delta University, Oghara,  Emeritus Professor Andrew G.
Onokerhoraye, the Pro-Chancellor/Chairman of Governing Council of the
University, elucidated on the departure of the former Vice Chancellor,
pointing out ‘’that Professor Peter Hugbo performed well even in the
face of numerous challenges. He was a great gift to the university but
then, there comes a time when a change is necessary in the affairs of
men and institutions. He made a lot of sacrifices and deserves all
commendation at his point of disengagement from the University.’’
He stated, “I want to at this point thank the former Vice Chancellor
even though the University council had earlier appreciated him. He
worked hard, against all the difficulties. Few people at his age can
withstand this challenge for six years, and he successfully graduated
three sets of students.” He added that the former Vice Chancellors
leaving was not prompted by anybody, he decided to go without pushing.
While introducing the new Vice-Chancellor, Emeritus Professor
Onokerhoraye stated, “The new Vice-Chancellor is coming in with a new
dynamism to face the challenges that we face, he would have to be
guided and go into action. The Vice-Chancellor of a University has to
be on the move to actualize the dream of his University. As a young
man, the Vice Chancellor has no excuse not to perform and move the
university to higher level.”
But today, this simple gentleman has performed beyond expectations.
With the doggedness of Prof. Asagba, Western Delta University has two
additional colleges; college of law and that of Humanities.
Infrastructural  development has not also been left out as
investigations has shown that the institution would kick off its next
academic session in its permanent site as arrangements is in top gear
to commission the expansive and serene environment within the next
couple of weeks.
Speaking further, the Pro-Chancellor Emeritus Professor, Onokerhoraye
recalled that WDU was established by people who are generous to
provide education for our people and you don’t expect that after their
initial investment, you continue to meet the investors for financing
the University, like some of the world’s best private Universities,
Yale, Harva rd etc., after their initial takeoff, they creatively and
professionally sourced for funds for the universities. He asked what
we can do to improve our resources. What can we do to generate
revenue? The Vice Chancellor and Management must generate ideas
because; the University council is not a monopoly of ideas.
The then new Vice-Chancellor stated in his inaugural speech, “I have
come here because I feel that there is a dream somewhere, each time I
pass from Benin, Sapele, to Warri when I see the expanse of land at
the university, I feel excited that somebody, the proprietor has
planned that there should be an educational institution there. I feel,
therefore, that why not we drive the process, why not we work together
so that we can realize the dream; people from this part of the world
are very industrious and very ambitious. I believe that despite the
challenges it’s very possible for us to realize the noble dream of the
University. A University is not a motor park; it’s a serene
environment for research, people exchange ideas, and I think the
Western Delta University can take on the challenges of contributing to
the advancement of communities and the entire society”.
Today, he has matched his words with actions, through developmental
projects in all facets of the institution. Western Delta University
under Prof. Austin Ovigue Asagba seems to have been uniquely licensed
to harangue the institution on the details of delivery, where every
product (graduates) of the institution is given first class treatment
all over the world.

Kparobo Ehvwubare is a journalist, and ICT expert wrote from Oghara,
Delta state. Could be reach 07067546856 or



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