By Richardson Ogwezzy
It was a thing of great joy to the people of Delta State when the Governor, His Excellency, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa presented a bill to the Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Sheriff Oborewori for upgrading three institutions of higher learning to full fledged Universities.
The people of the state see the proposal as laudable because when it is achieved it will go a long way in achieving his S.M.A.R.T agenda, principally on his educational policies and by implication, strategic wealth creations, projects and provision of jobs for Deltans. It is pertinent to know that educational policies cannot be achieved without relevant institutions of higher learning like Universities.
Frankly speaking, the establishment of the three Universities in Delta State will give room to an avalanche of job opportunities and increase the rate of economic activities within the state. Most importantly, with the teeming population of students seeking admission into the few available vacancies within the Universities in the state. It therefore becomes imperative for establishing additional Universities. Besides, it will reduce the risk and stress of Delta State students seeking admission in distant states of the federation. Not only that, the cost or rate by parents’ expenditure on their children’s education will be reduced because Universities are nearby.
Apart from that, with the high level of insecurity in Nigeria, students within the state that should have gained admission in other states that are prone to issues of insecurity, which would have placed their lives and their parents/guardians in perpetual fear, may decide to take advantage of the proximity of the newly established Universities.
The equitable distribution of such milestone development in a state like Delta if not wisely looked into, may be misunderstood by many. This is because some may feel cheated or neglected and may have ill-feelings rather than praying for the quick establishment of the Universities. Observation has shown that many have been bickering over the choice and locations of the Universities. Instead of thanking the Governor for the unrivaled, unprecedented and unparalleled venture. Knowing fully well that the dwindling revenue in the country as occasioned by Covid 19 has negatively affected developmental projects in the country. This was evidenced in some widely circulated publications in the media. Such feelings, I think should be discarded because Delta State is one and must always reman one bearing in mind that Deltans have been living peacefully when we have no University. Now that the developmental initiatives of our past and present state government have brought us thus far educationally, let us embrace the proposal with open hands and utmost sincerity.
If any ethnic nationality is to complain, I think it is the Ndokwa ethnic nationality. In virtually all ethnic nationalities, it is the people of Ndokwa that is grossly marginalised in the aspect of institutions of higher learning. The people are aware that the perennial neglect on the aspect tertiary institutions is an offshoot of past administration. Your Excellency sir, the people of Ndokwa also know that you have great love for them which was made manifest especially in your political appointments, because they were given juicy appointments. This has never been recorded on Ndokwa politics, since the beginning of the nascent democracy. Moreso, in the aspect of developmental projects, Ndokwa ethnic nationality was not left out in the scheme of things. This is laudable. The dire need of institutions of higher learning in the area has become a bane and a case of serious concern which the people have been praying fervently for you to use your good offices to give them a facelift now that establishment of tertiary institutions has become imperative. By the calculations of an average Ndokwa person, he knows that, your administration will make Ndokwa take her pride of place by God’s grace.
All and sundry should keep in mind, that the three Local Government Areas that made up Ndokwa are among the major oil producing areas in Delta State. Recall also that the people are the second to the largest ethnic group in Delta State. Yet, there are no dividends in terms of provision of tertiary institutions to show for the large population and enormous economic endowment of natural rich resources.
The people of Ndokwa at home and diaspora sincerely commend the priceless gesture of His Excellency, Sen.(Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa and pray him to consider the plight of Ndokwa nationality in terms of institutions of higher learning.The outright marginalisation are at times mistaken by some persons as due largely to the factors such as, the Ndokwa politicians are weak, selfish and self-serving. Hence, they lack the political will power to lobby and attract meaningful developmental projects to their areas. These are sayings of distractions that are highly detrimental to Ndokwa developmental agenda. And such ideas should be nipped at its bud.
Your Excellency sir, with due respect, the people of Ndokwa are of the opinion, that you can still make a great difference in addressing the injustice and abject lack of fair play in responding to the dreams and aspirations of the neglected people by former political leaders.
In a kind of flashback, during the defunct Bendel State, under the administration of Prof. Ambrose Alli, Bendel State House of Assembly passed into law for the establishment of Industrial College of Technology, at Kwale, everything about the College ended in a Legislative documentation and government gazette.
Furthermore, under the administration of the immediate past Governor of Delta State, His Excellence Dr. E.E Uduaghan, there was an approval, after due legislative processes and executive accent to a bill for establishing Delta State Polytechnic, Aboh. Everything about the proposed institution appeared to have been buried after commencing work at the site. One day, Ndokwa leaders, and all political office holders that fought assiduously to see that the bill establishing the Polytechnic, got the accent of the Governor will explain to peace loving Deltans why the Polytechnic became a shattered dream.
Very recently, our Distinguished representative at the National Assembly, Sen. Peter Nwaoboshi, the current Senator representing Delta North Senatorial District at the Senate, saw the pitiable state and the urgent need for tertiary institutions in Ndokwa land, he fought doggedly to ensure that Federal Polytechnic is established in Kwale. After the bill passed some necessary legislative processes, it was truncated by heavy weights by the legislators. Today, nothing is heard about the proposed Federal Polytechnic, Kwale.
The list below shows the institutions of higher learning in Delta State by Senatorial Districts
Delta North Senatorial District
(1) Delta State University, Anwai, Campus
(2) Federal College of Education(Technical) Asaba
(3) Delta State Polytechnic, Ogwashi-Uku
(4) College of Education, Agbor
(5) School of Nursing, Agbor
(6) Delta State School of Midwifery, Asaba.
Delta Central Senatorial District
(1) Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun
(2) Delta State University, Abraka
(3) Petroleum Training Institute(PTI), Effurun
(4) Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara
(5) Delta State Polytechnic, Otefe
(6) College of Education, Mosogar
(7) Baptist Hospital
School of Nursing, Eku
(8) Delta State School of Midwifery, Sapele
(9) College of Health Technology, Ufuoma
Delta South Senatorial District
(1) Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko
(2) Delta State University, Oleh Campus
(4) Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro
(5) Delta State School of Marine Technology, Burutu
(6) College of Education, Warri
(7) Delta State School of Nursing, Warri.
The list above shows without equivocation that Ndokwa nation has sheer neglect from past successive administration in the distribution of tertiary institutions.
In all frankness, the neglect of Ndokwa nation on the establishment of tertiary institutions should not be attributed to any one at all. The beauty and glory of it all is that we have an altruistic Governor, a Political Restorer who has been restoring all things in the State since his assumption of office. The case of Ndokwa on the aspect of tertiary institutions I believe Almighty God ought not to be different.
I hereby appeal to all our major political office holders, political stakeholders, religious leaders, traditional leaders, academia, The Ndokwa Neku Union(NNU) and others well meaning Ndokwa sons and daughters to take the issue at stake as cogent and relay it to the Governor as a people ibe ku ibe anu at least if the earlier approved polytechnic at Aboh, could not be reawakened because of any reason, Utagba Ogbe Technical College, Kwale, has all it takes to be upgraded to a full fledged Polytechnic. On the alternative, a campus of any of the Universities at the Governor’s discretion could be located in Ndokwa land.
The people of Ndokwa once again appreciate His Excellency, Sen.(Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa for his bold step taken to upgrade our existing tertiary institutions to full fledged Universities. It is our sincere hope that Ndokwa should have a fair share of the dividends of your good governance particularly on the aspect of institutions of higher learning.
Richardson Ogwezzy is a teacher at Girls” Secondary School, Kwale, Delta State.