By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu
A cross-section of students of School of Agriculture, Ifite-Ogwari, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka have said that they are at home in Ifite-Ogwari campus of the great citadel of learning.
Speaking to newsmen during a visit to the school premises, the students expressed gratitude to the management of Nnamdi Azikiwe University led by Prof Charles Okechukwu Esimone FAS for the continuous upgrade of the campus of the University.
Collaborating what the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Administration, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Prof Joseph Ikechebelu said that the Community is friendly, the students further said the Community shocked them too with their overwhelming welcome and free accomodations to them all.
Prof Ikechebelu had in an interview with The Authority Newspaper insisted that the Vice-Chancellor ,Prof Esimone wants the best for the school of agriculture at Ifite-Ogwari hence the decision of the Governing Council led by the Pro-Chancellor Prof Sulyman Alege Kuranga to visit the campus was on same direction for the good of the students and staff as well as the Ifite- Ogwari Community.
According to the President, National Association of Agricultural Students, (NAAS) Unizik chapter , ComradeChristian Uzochukwu, Ifite Ogwari Community is okay for learning and students are happy with their hospitality since they arrived.
Comrade Uzochukwu who is a 400 student of Food Science and Technology said: ” it’s okay for a start. Students are happy to come around. We are staying at no cost. The villagers donated their building as lodges for us. We are okay for now.”
Flanked by his Vice President, Favour Walter, 500 Soil Science student and Akpulu Somto , 400 Crop Science student , the students called for continuous progress on infrastructure development in the Ifite Ogwari campus of the institution for better Academic activities. They said the Faculty of Agriculture is now much better than what it was last year, when they wanted to stay there for academic purposes.
Reacting to the fears of the Faculty of Agriculture students at Ifite Ogwari, the community leaders led by the President General, Ifite Ogwari Development Union, Barr Oliver Okonkwo reassured the Governing Council of Unizik, the management, staff and students of their security as anyone who tries anything funny against the staff and students has the whole community to contend with.
Spokesman of the community and the Vice Chancellor, Onitsha Archdiocese, Rev Fr Dr Basil Ekwunife who announced this thanked God that the 10 years journey of establishing the campus of Agriculture of Unizik in thier community is becoming a reality with the arrival of the students.
Rev Fr Dr Ekwunife informed that the Community has 24 hours electricity and internal roads done by some individuals even as he thanked the Vice Chancellor Prof Charles Okechukwu Esimone FAS for wiping their 10 years tears of waiting for the reality of the Faculty of Agriculture in their Community.
He thanked the former Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Prof Igwe Ernest for doing everything to ensure the campus is a reality before the present Dean, Prof Nkiru Meludu who is witnessing the reality of the 10 years sojourn to the Promised Land.
He thanked the Governing Council Chairman Prof Sulyman Alege Kuranga and members for being pragmatic particularly the Chairman who he described as an action man.
He described as dumbfounded online rumours about the Community and the Faculty of Agriculture and advised those trending fake news about the Faculty of Agriculture Ifite Ogwari to desist as the Community is ready to do everything humanly possible to assure safe living and learning environment culture for the students and staff.
He reminded all that the Community provided the land at no cost despite the encumbrances to the owners who are still living even as he described the current Vice Chancellor as a man of his words in facilitating the relocation of the Faculty of Agriculture.
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka Prof Charles Okechukwu Esimone FAS commended the 9th Governing Council Chairman/ Pro-Chancellor Prof Sulyman Alege Kuranga and members for their interest in supporting Senate and management decision to move the Faculty of Agriculture this Academic session to Ifite Ogwari campus.
He as well commended the traditional ruler of Ifite Ogwari, Igwe Alphonsus Ofuebe , the Anambra state House of Assembly Speaker, Right Hon UCHENNA Okafor and other prominent citizens of Ifite Ogwari for their various roles in making the move seamless due to their selfless commitment.
He said the Faculty will excell tremendously despite the challenges and problems encountered in the building up stages because according to him, whatever God destines, comes to reality even as he assured that all the remaining hitches would be rectified before NUC accreditation visit in October/November this year.
Prof Esimone went back memory lane on the fruitless efforts made to move into the campus earlier, but thanked God that moving the Faculty of Agriculture to Ifite Ogwari has now become a reality.
While thanking all those who contributed in making the move possible and reassuring them that history will remember them kindly, Prof Esimone assured the Dean , Prof Meludu that the Physical demands and challenges raised during an interactive session with staff and community would be looked into. He assured them that the Faculty will get full accreditation. He asked the Speaker of the Anambra state House of Assembly, Right Hon Uchenna Okafor to thank the state Governor, Chief Willie Obiano for granting the university the CofO of the land at no cost as well as free seedlings and tractors.
Responding, the Chairman Governing Council/ Pro Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Prof Sulyman Alege Kuranga said the 9th Governing council devoted a day to visit the Faculty of Agriculture located at Ifite Ogwari, describing what they saw on ground as a monumental achievement of the Prof Charles Okechukwu Esimone led administration who continued on the foundation of his predecessors particularly Prof Joseph Ahaneku, the immediate past Vice Chancellor of the University.
While noting that he could not overemphasize the importance of Agriculture, the Governing Council Chairman commended the trouble shooting efforts of the Community against unfounded information that emanated from there recently.
He reassured that the Council will take the Faculty of Agriculture as a priority to facilitate tackling of the immediate challenges in the campus like perimeter fencing,
accommodation, portable water, power supply to mention but a few. He challenged the staff and students to ensure that in next two years nothing is bought from the market around there as they will be cultivating all their needs internally, even for outsiders to buy.
He appealed to the community to further appeal to their sons and daughters who are wealthy to join hands in developing the Faculty of Agriculture with PPP projects and endowments.
He appealed to the community to ensure that the C of O of the new additional 500 hectares of land donated to the school is secured.
Earlier while welcoming the Governing Council and management of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, the Dean Faculty of Agriculture, Prof Nkiru Meludu announced that the Faculty is about to face accreditation and needed perimeter fencing, water borehole, enough structures to accommodate the five classes of 100 levels to 500 levels and more hostels, as well as office complex, Laboratories, and classrooms.
Prof Meludu lamented that the Faculty is a center for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa but incapacitated by structure and other needs which if tackled will leapfrog the Faculty in the comity of schools and Faculties of Agriculture in Africa.
She said they needed too laboratory for Food Science and Technology and a health centre, assuring that they are ready to work.
The event witnessed tree planting and courtesy visits even as the train moved to Osile Ogbunike where the University has its water business plant for inspection and possible ways of revamping the business.
The Osile Ogbunike Welfare and Development Union, President General, Sir Donatus Mbanefo and former PG, Chief Dr Obi Anyanyo addressed the Governing Council and management of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka.
They said they will encourage every effort to revamp the Ogbunike spring water where popular Unizik water was produced during Prof Ilochi Okafor’s regime as Vice Chancellor of Unizik now in ruins sequel to communal crisis. The spring water was discovered in 1982 as Ogbunike best water serving neighbouring communities. The village equally showed the entourage the 100 hectares of land donated for Unizik business ventures, an arm Championing investment in the university.
The Governing Council Chairman, told them the need to get the C of O for the land.