~Says visiting head of State should address the Nation from the University as there is none like it in Nigeria

~ Describes it as a centre of Excellence, a well planned and executed University and likened it to London School of Economics

The Federal Government has approved the establishment of the 197th University in Nigeria.

The University is the David Nweze Umahi University of Medical Sciences, Uburu in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Alhaji Adamu Rasheed, announced this while playing host to Governor Umahi in his office in Abuja on Tuesday.

Alhaji Rasheed who commended Governor David Nweze Umahi for his initiative in establishing the state of the art Institution, expressed hope that the Institution would further raise the bar of educational delivery in the Country.

“Governor Umahi is not just an Engineer, he is a very serious, passionate Civil Engineer, actually from what we have seen, the new University, there is none like it in Nigeria.

“We are now looking for this kind of University, a specialized University, a University that will target a total population of 5000 at its peak and it can plan to accommodate all of them, it can plan not to have a new building for the next twenty years, thirty years, it is not the University that has an open door, every year, new courses, this is a well planned and executed University, well built and when it properly takes off, it can be like London School of Economics, as the University has no interest in Sciences, it has no interest in Engineering.

“The Quality of University Education is not measured by the number of Students or the Staff, it is by the quality or the relevance of its programs to the larger community, to the Nation, to Africa and humanity, so I am very very happy to be associated with this project and it is one project that all Nigerians should be proud of whether you are from Abia or you are from Adamawa, or you are from Lagos, you should be proud of what this distinguished Civil Engineer has decided to reengineer and come up with a structure that even the blind would be happy when it is described to him, so we welcome you again.

“We congratulate His Excellency for this, we congratulate the people of Ebonyi State for having this structure there and this is a clear mark of what anybody in Nigeria can call the dividends of democracy, this University should pioneer the study of Hospital Management, Hospital Administration, and courses like Health Economics, we want this to be a comprehensive Medical University.

“By the power conferred on us by the law, we have this reply to the letter earlier sent by His Excellency, we say consequently upon the receipt of the Ebonyi State Government letter dated 9th June, 2021, in which the Ebonyi State Government informed the Commission of its intention to establish a State University of Medical Sciences and formal presentation of the relevant documents today including the enabling laws and the physical master plan, I write on behalf of the Nigeria Universities Commission to inform His Excellency that with effect from Tuesday 6th July, 2021, the David Nweze Umahi University of Medical Sciences, Uburu in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State has been recognized by us as a Public / State-owned University and as at now the 197th Nigerian University.

“The National Universities Commission hereby pledges to extend its support to the University, we also enjoin His Excellency and the Ebonyi State Government to take full advantage of the professional and technical advice that the Commission is to provide to the State Government on the establishment, sustainable funding and operations of the University. By a copy of this letter Your Excellency, the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, JAMB, the Tertiary Education Trustfund, TETFUND and the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC are being notified of the establishment of the University.”

While nothing that the Institution would also save the nation a lot of fortunes normally expended in Medical tourism, Alhaji Rasheed pledged the assistance of NUC and other relevant Agencies to ensure the speedy take-off of the University.

“This University will save Nigeria millions of US dollars for people who are desperate to get Medical Education and who can not get it in Nigeria…

“If you see what I have seen, honestly, when you are there, you are not in Nigeria, and I hope and pray that one day we can take our meeting to that University, the ecosystem of Nigeria Education will not be the same after today.

“We want to assure you, Your Excellency, that we are going to do anything possible to ensure proper take-off of this University because we believe this University is a clear advertisement of your taste as someone interested in quality and taste and you have also effectively redeemed and upgraded Ebonyi State, the South East and Nigeria.

“I will keep a ten minutes video of the school here at the Commission and use it to make presentations whenever we have some important guests who think that Universities in Nigeria do not deserve these kinds of structures.

“I hope and pray that whenever visiting Head of State comes, from America, Europe or Asian Country, a visit should include visiting Ebonyi and going to this Ebonyi University, let him address Nigerians from the auditorium of that University because this is what they do abroad.

“When Obama first came to Africa, and he wanted to address Africa and Middle East, the Arabs and Africans, he chose to go to Egypt and in Egypt, he chose to go to Cairo University and used the auditorium in the University of Cairo to address the Middle East and Africans, so really what I have seen, this is one area I can recommend the Honourable Minister of Education, let anybody in Abuja accompany the Head of State, let them go with the Presidential jet, land in the Ebonyi International Airport and address the Nation from the University”

Responding, Governor David Umahi thanked the Nigeria Universities Commission for speedily approving the request of the StateGovernment to ensure that the University commences academic activities in earnest.

While throwing light on the composition of the University, Governor Umahi said the Institution has enough facilities to ensure that all the students and staff live within the campus to guarantee effective teaching and learning.

He said the Institution would among other things have provisions for a kidney transplant, cancer treatment and production of Dialyzers as a way of ending Medical tourism in Nigeria.

“The lecturers will live within the campus, and all the students of the University will live within the campus, nobody will live outside the campus and I welcome ideas and assistance whereby within the next one year, we can turn this University into a private sector driven University so that this University will serve the purpose in which we set it in our State.

“The fees in this University will be a bit higher but we will be looking for the best of the best as the Lecturers for the University and that’s why I want it to be a private university so that I am not caught in the web of paying the salaries of the Lecturers, I want to pay them like what is paid in overseas, and I want them to offer services the way it is offered in overseas so that we can also cut off our people that are going to overseas to study Medicine and all these Basic Sciences.

“I want this to be the best of the best that should compete with any of the Medical Universities in the World, it is possible, we are not dull in our place, it is all about the will and passion to do it for each one of us to know that we are here for a purpose and we are just here to render services that God has asked us to render and if we fail to do that, we will still pass by, this is just a journey that is momentary and money doesn’t serve everything but at the end of the day your legacies and the judgment of God.”

Governor Umahi while commending President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister for Education for the assistance to the State in the establishment of the Cancer Centre, underscored his belief in one united Nigeria.

“I have always maintained that we are far better with a united Nigeria, we are far better being our brothers, our sisters in this country and I have never had any reason to think otherwise. What are we looking for? So, Prof, I believe so much in one Nigeria, but I don’t believe that Mr. President or anybody else has any agenda to shortchange South East or to marginalize the South East, I don’t believe that and I don’t have any apologies for saying that, you can criticize me, you can curse me as usual but it doesn’t matter, what matters is the truth to be said and as Chairman of South East Governors’ Forum, I have always told our people, if there are issues, let us put the issues down because in this country, there is no region that is not talking about one problem or the other but we can always come together and discuss.”

Governor Umahi was accompanied on the visit by the Commissioner for Intergovernmental Affairs, Barr. Joseph Ekumankama, Commissioner for Investment, Barr. Chioma Nweze, Chairman of Elders Council, Engr. Ben. Okah, A Consultant, Deacon Chima Onyekwere, Vice-Chancellor of the new University of Medical Sciences Uburu, Professor Jesse Uneke, former Vice-Chancellor of AE-FUNAI, Professor Chinedum Nwajiuba among others.

Francis Nwaze

Special Assistant to the Governor

(Media and Publicity)

July 7, 2021.