Wednesday 26th July, 2017
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Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike's one year of glory under Prof Otunta

Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike's one year of glory under Prof Otunta

·      Takeoff grant of MOUAU missing
 
CHIDI ASONYE writes on the giant strides recorded by the fifth Vice Chancellor Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, Professor Francis Otunta.
Students seeking admis­sion for the best should not look further as they are assured of the best especially when for close to three decades this federal University has graduated about hundred thousand top flight graduates in all its accredited disciplines as endorsed by the National Universities Commission.
Professor Francis Otunta, a seasoned Mathematician and administrator par ex­cellence vowed on assump­tion of duty exactly one year ago, to move the institution to higher heights under his reign.
Peace was upmost in his heart when he assumed du­ties , hence he told staff of the University: “Let me ve­hemently aver before you all that staff welfare issues would remain fundamental in our symbiotic efforts of nation building and pursuit of attainment of the univer­sity goals”.
His words: “Hence, ef­forts within the purview of our financial capability would be geared towards ensuring a conducive work­ing atmosphere for the staff to enable each to contribute positively towards our ef­forts to make the university a world class institution”.
Today, one year after, ac­cording to our findings, staff appraisal and promo­tions are transparently and judiciously performed on and as at when due, without personal bias or any form of victimization.
On complaints from Stu­dents Union Government (SUG) the VC and manage­ment during the university management 84th meeting resolved that a reduction be effected on the amount paid by students per bed space at the NDDC and Jonathan Hostels from sixty to fifty thousand naira per session.
VC approved the ap­pointments of various com­mittees for the progress of the institution which included the Joint Com­mittee on Memorandum of Understanding between the university and the Na­tional Root Crops Research Institute; committee on Ag­ripreneurship symposium and related issues; procure­ment Unit; committee on cases of delayed appraisal and promotions, among others, all aimed at building a strong and reliable insti­tution.
MOUAU signed a MOU with the Federal Polytech­nic, Uwana Afikpo in Eb­onyi State and while signing the agreement on behalf of the university, Prof. Otunta had noted that the partner­ship is a familiar one both academically and socially and bound to produce young Nigerians that will move the country forward.
The National Universi­ties Commission accredi­tation visitation team for twenty one programmes of the university were encour­aged to give accurate report as it will help the university improve and make correc­tions where needed. They did and the 21 programmes scaled through the accredi­tation process.
He however had ex­pressed dismay that all efforts geared towards re­taining some departments failed as the university has been asked to go back to its core mandate which forced the university to redistrib­ute affected students to other departments. The af­fected departments includ­ed Mass Communication, Philosophy as well as Peace and Conflict resolution.
At the 24th Matriculation ceremony of the university which he presided as his first , the VC encouraged new students to be up and doing in their chosen field of study as well as shun all anti – social behaviours, prostitution, examination malpractice among others, but especially immodest dressing which may expose
 
 
 
one to rapists just as he warned that the univer­sity has zero tolerance for it in any guise.
According to the VC who had explained that the university has its core mandate in agricul­ture and agricultural re­lated courses expressed his unwavering vision of making the university an educational institution of choice, nurturing profes­sionals fit for the world of work and also make it a world class university of Agriculture which is re­sponsive to the creative and innovative abilities for the country in food and fibre production.
According to him also, the institution’s manage­ment has never lacked the zeal of providing in­frastructural facilities and amenities to cre­ate conducive environ­ment for both learning and teaching, just as he commended the 5,615 matriculants for scaling through the hurdles of academic competitions in their JAMB.
No doubt, Prof. Otunta is also having his own share of distractions coming from those he would simply describe as trying to destabilize the serenity the institution is currently enjoying for its growth.
Shortly after he as­sumed office one Chi­nonso Obasi, parading himself as the NANS president had accused his administration of maladministration, in­competence and gross misconduct even though he washed off his hands from the allegations, in­sisting that whatever per­son that advanced the al­legation were out of their senses.
Prof. Otunta has in­sisted that his adminis­tration inherited a dam­aged system which he is trying to remedy disclos­ing that his job is trying to rebuild the system and therefore has no time to dwell in the past as it will be time consuming even as he had disclosed that the university was not dropping any course as was speculated in certain quarters arguing that no university has the pow­ers to do that, except the NUC.
His words: “My job is trying to rebuild the damaged system I in­herited. It will be time consuming to go back to the past. We have set up committees to look into different issues that has caused a set back to the development of the uni­versity. My administra­tion is currently trying to right the wrongs that were perpetrated before our arrival here”.
He however assured that he was not going to sack staffs who were il­legally employed over the years, insisting that it will amount to wickedness to, “remove food from anyone’s table. Yes, they were illegally employed and promoted but I have taken a stand not to look towards the negative side. I can’t even employ more because the place is al­ready overpopulated.
On the takeoff grant the university is sup­posed to have received at inception, the VC dis­closed that the Ministry of Education and that of Agriculture insisted that the institution should provide evidence to show that it has not received the grant as their record shows it has long been collected.
“What we did was to send emissaries to past Vice Chancellors to tell us the true position on the matter. But as far as I know, there is no record to show the grant has been collected. We need this fund as it will go a long way to assist us in providing most of what we require in this univer­sity.

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