The University of Nigeria, Nsukka has marked her 59th Founders’ Day anniversary with the Vice Chancellor , Prof Charles Igwe, reiterating his commitment to upholding the dreams of the University ‘s Founding Fathers.
He gave the re-assurance in a welcome address he presented at the Founders’ Day lecture of the University held on Tuesday,, 8Th October, 2019 at the Princess Alexandra auditorium and unity hall of the Nsukka campus of the University.
He said that the topic of the lecture, “‘Preparing for Tomorrow ‘s Zero Oil Economy in Ebonyi State ” was apt , one that should preoccupy the minds of any visionary leader in Nigeria.
The Vice Chancellor noted that,” Reducing our dependence on crude oil will require a lot of research in policy and technological innovations . Noting, “It is my desire that some of the required research in policy and innovations can be done here at the University of Nigeria”. He said that seeking such collaborations is central to the plan of his “administration to continue to drive the University to the direction set for us by our founding fathers ”
Professor Igwe acknowledged that the increase in the number of Universities in the country has increased the competition for such opportunities. He said that the relationships with governments and institutions around the world have become important in this era of globalisation when Universities are ranked regularly by different ranking agencies. .
The Vice Chancellor paid tribute to his predecessors, the Alumin of the University for their various contributions toward the development of the University. He hinted that “the Founders’ Day lecture remains the most prestigious of the public lectures that take place at University of Nigeria. It is an ideal platform for discussion s on tropical issues of national and international relevance”.
In his lecture on ” Preparing for Tomorrow ‘s Zero Oil Economy in Ebonyi State ” the guest lecturer and Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. Dave Umahi said that ‘the topic is a wake up call for all stakeholders that the oil will one day fail. He called for restructuring of the Nigerian economy, noting that there are so much expenditure on the oil business and “We are not even gaining on the oil”
The Governor advocated for an alternative source of economy outside oil. He said in Ebonyi, they had started looking for an alternative economy, they embarked on the development of textiles, solid minerals, agriculture, security, and others. He disclosed that the State had signed an agreement with the Federal government to develop the salt in Ebonyi State.,”My administration tends to make Ebonyi State an Economic hub .
Umahi, who is also the Chairman of the South East governors forum, highlighted some of his achievements which included, construction of concrete roads with a life span of 50-75 years in some parts of Ebonyi State , construction of fertilizer blending plants, construction of Rice milling plants, construction of light tunnel , construction of glass bridge, construction of Three fly over, modern stadium and international airport, under construction, securing an approval from the federal government to construct a 189km ring road to be built on concrete.
He disclosed that the State government had built 35km of the road and African Development Bank will build the remaining 154km.
Others included dualizing 48km Abakaliki-Enugu road, 10km Okposi -Mpu road, 15km Nkalagu road, construction of Ecumenical Centre, development of agricultural sector, introduction of one man, one hectare of land and soft loans to Civil servants to embark on agriculture. He added that his administration has a scholarship scheme for students , Human capital development , reviving of the NigerCem industry among others.
Umahi announced that in the next three months, a sum of N7.5 billion would be injected on education.
Earlier, chairman of the occasion and Pioneer Registrar of the University , His Royal Majesty, Eze (Professor) Chukwuemeka Ike, Eze Ndikelionwu , Anambra State, commended the University for maintaining the dreams of their Founding Fathers. He urged the students and Igbo people to develop the Biafranism (talents,) in them for the development of the country.
In a goodwill message, the Pro- Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the University, Chief Michael Olorunfemi, represented by a member of the Council, Alhaji Abdullahi Yunusa announced that the Governing Council will be introducing an entrepreneurship program in UNN to train the students to become self reliant after graduation.
He said that some programmes were put in place to enhance the generation of the Internally Generated Revenue , IGR of the University.
The Chancellor of the University, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde Ogunwusi, Ojaja 11, the Ooni of Ife was represented by two members of his council, Oba Segun Layemi and Prince of Ife Kingdom, Prof Jere Ojuade. Enugu State Governor, Rt Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi was represented by the Commissioner for Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Peter Okonkwo.
The event attracted musical and cultural dance display.