Tuesday, November 24, 2015 1:37 pm
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State Tuesday commissioned a 500-capacity lecture theatre, a Moot-Court Building abandoned since 1991 and six other projects funded by the government at the state-owned Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma.
The projects are Workshop Building for Building Department and Studio for Fine and Applied Arts; a Moot Court Building in the Faculty of Law abandoned since 1991; Furnishing of the Moot Court in the Faculty of Law; 500 Capacity Lecture Theatre at the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences; 2-in-1 Laboratory Block for the Department of Medical Laboratory Science; Furnishing of the 2-in-1 Laboratory Block for the Department of Medical Laboratory Science; Library Building in the Faculty of Basic Medical Science and Department Building for the Department of Agriculture Economics, Emaudo Annex.
Oshiomhole said: “I am happy to be here to commission a number of projects that this university has been able to put in place from the five hundred million naira that we approved for the university to embark on a number of projects.
“I have always said that my own attitude is influenced by what I see and whoever has shown capacity deserved to be encouraged. The first time, we gave the university about N250 million and later I was invited to come and commission a number of projects. When I looked at what I saw in relation to what I provided, it is clear that the university is under a good management. My immediate decision there and then was that rather than do XYZ, we rather give the university the money for them to do their thing.
“I have been looking at the quality of construction from outside and I believe that you have again performed a miracle for being able to deliver so many projects, not elephant projects, not projects that are designed to ensure the comfort of the VC or the Council but have been used to ensure that additional facilities for learning are provided.
“It reinforces my confidence in your leadership abilities. It reinforces my trust in the leadership of the Vice Chancellor and all of those who are involved in making decisions on how to spend and what to spend money on.
“Your request for a 200-room hostel is not a luxury and we will look for the money, the council will design the accommodation themselves.
“When I promised that I would like to see how you managed the money and I said if you managed it well, we will do more. I didn’t quite say I would double it. That time by 2013, the economy was a lot better. The resources were not too high but we were coping, but now as we speak, most states government are under bailout and you have heard some of them say they would stop paying the minimum wage.
“But I have said that will not be my portion. In Edo State, we will not only pay the minimum wage, we will pay all wages because I believe that the day I cannot pay salaries, it is time to resign. My task is cut out clearly from the beginning and we have to find the courage to take from those who have and give to those who don’t have. We will look at those who have and collect taxes from them so that we can provide for those who do not have including students.
“Having now already committed myself to build a 200-room student hostel block, we will try instalmentally to raise another N600 milllion. We will hand it over to your management and use it to address any of the needs of the university in the area of infrastructure.
“People will wonder where this money will have to come from. The money will have to come from Edo State. It will come from Land Use Charge, I have no regret about it. Government is not an unbiased institution. Government could choose who to favour and could choose who to pay for it. That is at the heart of governance. I am not going to promise to give you omelette without identifying whose eggs I’m going to take to make the omelette and once I am ready to go for those eggs, you can mobilise anybody you want to mobilise but I must go for the eggs.
“I want to challenge our students, not only here, students across the state that they must read the appropriate literature, they must revisit the basic civics and I encourage the university to take a second look at their curriculum because a lot of our students are not getting what I called, a ‘balanced education’.
“Government is not neutral. It must choose who it wants to help and who pays for it. This government must take from the rich consciously without apology and use it to support the public institutions and I expect that the student community will support any government that is turning the heat on rich people to pay more money so that we can fund AAU.
“Now, I am saddened when anyone masquerades as student purportedly to join civil societies to support individuals who have acquired wealth in questionable circumstances and they say, don’t tell them to pay for Land Use Charge. If they don’t pay, how do you want your school to be maintained?”
In a remark, the Pro-Chancellor of the University, His Royal Highness, Professor Gregory Akenzua said, “The eight projects being inaugurated today are the products of the N500 million special grant that the Comrade Governor graciously approved for the university when the present Governing Council of AAU was inaugurated in 2013.
“The final instalment of the special grant was received by the university in February 2014 and the funds have been applied to execute the projects being commissioned today.
“We are happy to report, Mr. Governor sir, that it is a credit to your administration that the Moot Court in the Faculty of Law which was abandoned in 1991 has now, through your special intervention been completed and fully furnished.”
In an address of welcome, Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Cordelia Agbebaku said, “It is to be recalled that on the 29th of September, 2014, the Comrade Governor was in the University to inaugurate some projects funded from the N250 million naira grant released to the university.
“All these goes to confirm the avowed commitment of the people’s governor to the growth and development of the university. I must also add that just recently, towards the accreditation exercise in this university, the state government supported the university with the sum of N100 million. This amount assisted the university greatly in handling the accreditation exercise. We cannot thank the governor and the state government enough for this.”