Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has inaugurated a 16-member special committee on the Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, chaired by Prof. Stephen Odiowei, with a mandate to develop a blue-print for the sustainable development of the institution.
Other members of the committee include the Chairman of the House of Assembly Committee on Education, Hon. Gentle Emelah, Professor Ebi Awotua-Efebo, Professor Francis Sikoki, Senator John Brambaifa, Mr. Austin Adigio, Timipre Seipulo and Mrs. Josephine Ezonbordor-Torru.
The committee also has Ambassador Ogidi Peter-Ayibakuro, Emmanuel Gbemi, Ineinkiye Agedah, Dr. Stanley Ogoun, Prof. Emmanuel EdoumieKumoh Samuel, D.S. Dienagha and Apaingolo Ebipade as members, while Dr. Godwill Ziriki is to serve as Secretary.
While inaugurating the committee at the Diepreye Alamieyeseigha Memorial Banquet Hall, Government House, Yenagoa, he stated that, henceforth, the state government will only give subvention to the NDU, as the institution is expected to be creative, in looking for extra-funding as obtainable in other public universities.
Dickson described the committee as very important, considering the place of the NDU in the educational sector and the overall development of the State.
According to him, membership of the committee was constituted to reflect the importance the government attaches to the sector.
The committee has nine terms of reference including to draw up a short, medium and long term development plan for the NDU; to examine the performance of the NDU in terms of academic programmes, infrastructural development, adequacy of manpower, examine the quality of output so as to determine whether the University has met the objectives of its founding.
Others are identifying critical factors that have militated against the development of the University and also suggest solutions to mitigate these factors; to develop a sustainable funding mechanism, in view of the economic downturn and to highlight the role and contributions various stakeholders can make in the new paradigm.
The committee will also “determine the cost effective measures, aimed at reducing the recurrent expenditure of the university, without impacting negatively on its essential academic mandate as well as to develop a government and union-linkage-structure, that will amicably resolve issues that may lead to obstruction in the university academic calendar as a result of avoidable industrial actions.
The governor further urged the committee to examine the security situation in the NDU and develop a sustainable security system, within the university and its environs and determine the extent of land encroachment by communities and families around the university and make appropriate recommendations to arrest such or recover such encroached land.
The committee was equally mandated to advise the government generally on any aspect of the university that may be of interest to the state government and other critical stakeholders.
In his acceptance speech, Odiowei expressed the gratitude of the members for being considered to serve the state, adding that, the committee will do its utmost best to justify the confidence reposed on it.