​Three Universities: Chief Etimigba Accuses Okowa Of Unbridled Hatred Against The Ijaws Of Delta 

…Talks tough, gives reasons, makes case for Burutu Marine School 

By Binebai Princewill 

A high ranking chief of Iduwini Kingdom in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, Amb. Chief Evans  Etimigba (JP) FICMC has accused His Excellency, Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa of what he described  as an unbridled hatred against the Ijaws. The Liberator Newspapers can report. 

The social crusader and a penchant advocate of good governance is reacting to  the recent move by Governor Okowa via three executive  bills sent to the Delta State House of Assembly seeking to convert and upgrade the College of Education,  Agbor, Anwai Campus of the Delta State University and the Delta State Polytechnic,  Ozoro to full fledged Universities in the state. 

Amb. Evans Etimigba while vibrating and talking tough on the matter stated that he feels so disappointed by the actions of the Governor that he is seeking to upgrade such schools to universities without considering the interest of the Ijaw people in the state. 

He said if the Governor so much like the Ijaw people, one would have expected him to include the Delta State School of Marine Technology, (DESOMATECH), Burutu to a state university to accommodate the interests of the Ijaw people in the state. 

Chief Etimigba described the lastest move by the Governor as an exhibition of hatred against the Ijaws taken too far in Delta State, stressing that well meaning Ijaws will rise up to resist the development with the last drop of their bloods. 

The fungewei of Iduwini Kingdom continued that since the establishment of the Delta State School of Marine Technology, Burutu, otherwise known as DESOMATECH, the institution has suffered chronically in the hands of successive administrations in Delta State, adding that the Okowa’s Government is becoming the worse to the people. 

However, Etimigba said it is unacceptable on the latest move by the Governor to undo the Ijaws, adding that the Ijaw people in Delta State cannot continued to be used as sacrificial lambs to service others to their detriment. 

He particularly pinpointed that the proposed upgrade of the three institutions to state owned universities will be funded by the oil revenue coming majorly from the Ijaw axis, adding that the entire move will only make sense to the Ijaws if the Delta State School of Marine Technology, Burutu is also converted to a state university such as Delta State University of Marine Technology, Burutu, maintaining that anything less than this will not be accepted. 

Nevertheless, Amb. Evans had called on the Ijaw lawmakers in the Delta State House of Assembly , critical stakeholders and well meaning Ijaws to resist the move, stressing that if this is allowed to fly, the reality would be that out of four (4) state owned universities in Delta State, none is sited in Ijaw land, hence he said the upgrade of the poorly funded Delta State School of Marine Technology, Burutu  should have even be the first thing to consider when thinking about such move to accommodate the interests of the Ijaw people in Delta State. 

“No one should have the monopoly of having education, what is good for the goose is also good for the gander, as an Ijaw people from the riverine part of the state, we also want good and quality education, we can’t continue to be treated like second class citizens in this state, Governor Okowa should not make us to regret ever supporting him”. Amb. Evans stated. 

The renowned Niger Delta Chief had threatened massive protest to drive home his point if the Governor fails to hearken to the voice of the Ijaws on it, maintaining that 2023 is still very much pregnant with a lot of uncertainties. 

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It would be recalled that the Delta State School of Marine Technology, Burutu derived its legislative teeth as an institution in 2006 on the floor of the Delta State House of Assembly during the reign of Governor James Onanefe Ibori. 

Sadly the school suffered a lot from the powers that be in Delta State until it was finally allowed to kick off academic activities in April 2011, till date the school is highly underfunded and no complete structure has been built on the permanent site of the vast expanse of land donated to the Delta State Government and the school by the community, a situation that kept the people wondering on what sin they have committed against the Delta State Government. 

Meanwhile, the Delta  State Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof Patrick Muoboghare, Wednesday gave reasons for the upgrade of the College of Education,  Agbor, Anwai Campus of the Delta State University and the Delta State Polytechnic,  Ozoro to full fledged Universities. 

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had on Tuesday sent three executive bills to the State House of Assembly, seeking legislative backing for the upgrade of the three institutions to degree awarding Universities. 

Once the bills sail through, the College of Education, Agbor, would now be known as Delta State University of Education, Agbor, then the Delta State University, Anwai Campus, would be Delta State University of Science and Agriculture, Anwai and Delta State Polytechnic Ozoro, to Delta State University of Science and Technology, Ozoro. Muoboghare who spoke to newsmen in Asaba, explained that the proposed upgrade was to reduce cost in the management of the tertiary educational institutions across the state and to create more admission spaces in the university system. 

The Higher Education Commissioner who was flanked by the State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, said the upgrade was also an attempt to adopt the policy of the Federal Government to deliberately phase out Higher National Diploma programme, adding that the overall objective was to harvest quality graduates as dividends from the state government’s investment in education. 

He said: “We have decided to establish these three institutions because we want to put our money where we would get dividends. Dividends not by way of money but by way of quality graduates”. 

Muoboghare maintained that the state-owned three Colleges of Education in Agbor, Warri and Mosogar has a combined students population of 2, 888 and staff strength of 1,893 with monthly wage of N457 million. 

He said: “That leaves you with a staff-student ratio of one staff to an average of 1.5 students. To us, that is wasteful expenditure. Our children are not too interested in the NCE programme again, we are not going to conscript people to take the programme but the way it is we are spending N457 million monthly on empty lecture halls. 

“And we are still building structures there. The alternative is to shut them down but certainly we will not do that. If we upgrade one to a university status, the others would continue to run the normal NCE programme, and the students will have somewhere to aspire to for degree programme”. 

Speaking on the upgrade of the Delta State University, DELSU campus, Anwai to the proposed University of Science and Agriculture, he said the campus at the moment was an eyesore despite being at the state capital, Asaba. Muoboghare said: “DELSU sits on three campuses of Abraka, Oleh and Anwai. 

“Unfortunately, the Anwai campus is in the state capital, Asaba. As much as possible I avoid taking my visitors to Anwai campus because it is an eyesore, it is not befitting of a university campus at all. Yet the public relations point in any state is the state capital. Having that place there as a campus is unacceptable. 

That is why we decided to upgrade the campus to the University of Agriculture. Ordinarily agriculture does not just stand, it is an applied science. “So when you put a faculty of agriculture, there is no chemistry, no physics, it is actually waste. Hence a full fledge University of Science and Agriculture”. 

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