A BIRTH DAY SONG
FOR PROFESSOR SAMUEL AKPOEBI EDOUMIEKUMO
VC NiGER DELTA UNIVERSITY
Professor Samuel Akpoebi Edoumiekumo was one very loud, objective and piercing voice that came to limelight in the history of Niger Delta University’s Struggle for identity and survival during the days the Academic Staff union of the university locked horns with the restoration government of Hon. Seriake Dickson. He moved from one media house to the other in Bayelsa state to express opinion and facts against the draconian position of the restoration government as an ASSU veteran. The Vice Chancellor then was Professor Humphrey Ogoni. The pressure of the restoration Government to sack workers and increase school fees was devastatingly consuming. No one ever though the Niger Delta University would survive the pressure of disintegration. For four months precisely from the 26th of April to July, the Dr. Stanley Ogoun Led Asuu was denied salary as the university was closed down.
The Asuu leadership displayed great wisdom and supremacy of ideas when it condescended to the payment of few months’ salary to return the university back to life. Professor Samuel Akpoebi Edoumiekumo, the SAGE, was amongst those who took the decision. The idea was to save the university from total and irreparable collapse. University lecturers sacrificed to empower the survival destiny of the university. Shortly After the resumption of the University from the ASSU strike, the tenure of the Then Vice Chancellor Professor Ogoni ended and Professor Samuel Gowon Edoumiekumo then Deputy Vice Chancellor Administration was named acting Vice Chancellor.
Samuel Edoumiekumo ascended that position at a tumultuous time when the pressure was on the university to be run on subvention and the sacking of many workers. As acting Vice Chancellor he was working under a Governing Council, led by Professor Steve Azaiki. It is significant to note that Niger Delta university’s future and survival was very bleak when Edoumiekumo took over the reins of affairs. It was Ijaw nationalism and protection of the university, founded by great Ijaw leaders like DSP Alamieyeseigha that propelled him to take the bull by the horn. In many quarters the point has been made that he was destined to step into the saddle of the university. His emergence as Vice Chancellor was indeed a blessing to the university. He is one university administrator who dreams of the university to give it internal standard and best practice. Since assumption of office as substantive Vice chancellor, the university has fared brighter and better. For two years now, the university has been generating money at bleeding points to add to the inadequate subvention from state government to pay workers salary promptly. Edoumiekumo as a child of God dedicated the Niger Delta University to God on the 12th of December 2017. The main sources of income are school fees, subvention from state government and internally generated revenue. All of these sources put together are not enough to pay workers monthly salary.
He established a vibrant Table Water Factory, a bread bakery and others. With his sound background in economics, his studied nationalism, his love for NDU and the beauty of his inner frame he turned Niger Delta University into a construction site. Many faculties have been built. With no overhead cost or any money coming from the state government. Professor Edoumiekumo deployed a great power of negotiation with donor agencies and interventionist bodies to attract development to Niger Delta University. The 20 year old university is today enjoying a very beautiful and warm infrastructural space that is envied by visitors.
The university has achieved 18 hours electricity supply on campus for academic activities, administrative convenience and entrepreneurship. The university gives uninterrupted water supply on campus. We recorded 100 % accreditation status of all academic programmes presented to NUC/Professional accreditation from 2017 till date. The university keyed into the commercial vision of Establishment of NDU Table water, detergent, disinfectant, bread, paint and other products, Establishment of NDU Radio 98.1FM, Introduction of CCTV and other devises to aid security on Campus, Introduction of online fees payment, course registration and results platforms, improved internet connectivity to aid learning, pedagogy and research, facilitated the completion of Chevron sponsored NDU demonstration school, setting up of a university publishing unit and bindery unit of the library, clearing of canal to avert flooding before NDDC Intervention, increased intake of students from 3,500 to 7,600. This Administration facilitated the establishment of nine new programmes and the establishment of the Faculty of Environmental Science and Basic Clinical Sciences. It improved illumination on Campus and embarked on the renovation of Lulu Briggs Hostels. It also upgraded the University’s Main Auditorium and facilitated the completion of two hostel blocks through the Federal Government Revitalization Fund.
Attracted the Tetfund and the Needs accessement funds for the construction and completion of some Faculty buildings on campus, these are Faculty of Agric building, the Faculty of Arts edifice, the faculty of Social Science and the Faculty of Management Sciences. The Faculty of Science is currently undergoing construction. The university in the period under review experienced the construction of a dual carriage road by the Henry Seriake led Restoration Government and the Senate Building that has been commissioned and put to use. A Department of Mass communication domiciled in the Faculty of Social Sciences has been created, staff recruited and students admitted. The University now has a Multi-Purpose Event Centre on campus where ceremonies are carried out. Management is currently constructing an inner road to link the Seriake Dickson road. This road gives value to campus life and the tradition of movement within campus through trekking. These and several other initiated and completed projects not mentioned here form my scorecard from May 2017 till date. The Vice Chancellor is a humanist who has intervened in the academic lives of uncountable students. Brilliant but indigent students have received his immediate generosity. He is a good leader, a big nationalist, an enviable father, uncle and lover of progress.
Profssor Edoumiekumo is an economist who is fighting a war against the perennial flood that threatens the academic stability of the university. The university’s major toads have been landscaped and elevated higher than the flood level. Today is the Birth day of this great nationalist and Niger Delta University Vice Chancellor. I wish him God’s unfailing protection, love, graces, long-life and good health as he continues to move the university forward.
Prof. Benedict Binebai is a professor of Drama, Dramatic Theory and Criticism, he is the orator of the Niger Delta University, NDU in Bayelsa State, he writes from Amassoma, Wilberforce Island.