Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State has said that his desire to ensure the establishment of a second state-owned university in Imo State is that it will go a long way in helping to reduce crime, violence and other vices.
The Governor made the above observation in a meeting with the visiting National Universities Commission (NUC) Verification Team at the expanded State Executive Chambers, Government House, Owerri on Monday.
He informed that what prompted the ambition of his administration to establish the University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences was, one, the urgent need to reduce the problems Imo children encounter seeking admission from only one State University. Secondly, that he observed that the world over what will be taking the lead after the COVID-19 pandemic will be agriculture and that the type of agriculture will be technologically driven, hence it is expedient that Imo State keys into the technological life system to make living more meaningful.
To actualize the above objective, the government told his visitors that it is his desire to start University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences as soon as possible to allow Imo children acquire knowledge first, before talking of the secondary aspect, which is employment and specialization.
Governor Uzodimma promised that the government under his watch will strive to meet up with the criteria set up by NUC for such a university to take off and appealed to the Visitation Panel to assist the state make the project work. He assured that any concession given to the state to assist her realize the project will not be abused.
The Governor also said that if members of the visitation team accommodate the request of Imo State to approve the second university, “posterity will surely remember them.”
Informing the Governor of their mission, the Leader of the Verification Team, Dr Babatunde Ramon Yusuf who is also the Deputy Executive Secretary NUC said they were in Imo to look at the resources, both human and material, for the take off of the state proposed University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.
Dr. Yusuf noted that the attempt to convert existing Polytechnic infrastructure into a University infrastructure is not an easy task and suggested that beyond facilities and infrastructure there is the need to put purposeful programmes on ground, especially personnel of both teaching and non teaching staff.
He promised, on behalf of NUC, to partner with the State to ensure that the lofty aspirations and heights proposed by the Governor are achieved.
He also gave tips of their recommendations for a smooth take off of the proposed university to include: the establishment of School of Sciences as a foundation to specialization in Agriculture and Agricultural Sciences; the need to incorporate School of Engineering with emphasis on Mechanical, Civil and Electrical Engineering; and finally, that the university should consider the need for Environmental Sciences as well as Information Communication Technology (ICT) where ICT hardwares will be provided.
He commended the state government for her ambition and promised that they would do all within their powers to ensure that the Governor’s dream is realised.
Present at the meeting were: the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku who was a former Director in NUC, members of the expanded State Executive Council, the Head of Service of Imo State, Dr. Camillus Iwuagwu, the Acting Rector, Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo, Sir John Ikechukwu Mbadike and other stakeholders in the Education Sector.