Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi
Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has endowed five Chairs at the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) on behalf of the state government, naming them after prominent citizens of the state and the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Speaking during the 29th convocation ceremony of the university at the weekend, Amaechi said the state government would fund the endowments even after he leaves office. He named the Chairs after Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whye (rtd), Prof. Tekena Tamuno, Prof. Tam David-West, Prof. Otonti Nduka and the National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
The governor said: “Let me congratulate all of you who are or who have graduated. I congratulate the National Chairman of my party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, with his wife and his entourage and our new graduands, the honorary degree holders, let me say to you that I am proud of all of you. The Rivers State Government will endow the following Chairs and I will not give them the right to decide which Chairs they will be, I will decide based on my studies in the University of Port Harcourt.
“I want to endow a Chair that will be named after Justice Karibi-Whyte in the Faculty of Law. I want to endow a Chair on History and Society to be named after Prof. Tekena Tamuno and I want to endow a Chair to be named after Prof. Tam David-West of Virology. Finally, a Chair in Education and Culture to be named after Prof. Otonti Odunka.
“Again, when I say I, that I represents me as the governor of Rivers State, I just want to make sure that the Rivers State Government is able to fund these Chairs, that is why I am not making it personal because even when I leave, the Ministry of Education should be able to get the governor to fund it until the University is no more and let us also endow a Chair not for politics or public governance but for Business named after Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.”
Amaechi also promised to build a new Convocation Arena for the University of Port Harcourt which he said would be named after Chief Damian Nweje.
According to him, the new convocation arena would be spacious enough to accommodate more people and equipped with modern facilities.
“That convocation arena will be named Chief Damian Nweje Convocation Arena. Do not forget that when I speak I am not speaking as Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, I am speaking as the Governor of Rivers State because I will not have the money to build a new convocation arena, the Rivers State Government has that kind of money to build a new convocation arena,” he said.
He recalled that Nweje after whom the new convocation arena would be named showed great determination in acquiring university education.
“I have so many heroes that I do have in my life and I have acquired one today, a very brand new hero. Please join me to welcome Chief Damian Nweje to come here and stand. My life has been full of struggles. I have never believed that anybody has struggled more than me until I met this gentleman today as a graduate of University of Port Harcourt.
“I met him in politics, businessman, uneducated, no degree, no certificate, never thought in my life that I would see him with a degree. I nearly wept seeing him sitting down here and I realized that there were more determined persons, for that reason I would name a structure that I believe we should build for the university after him,” he said.
Earlier, Vice-Chancellor of UNIPORT, Prof. Joseph Ajienka, had said: “We are here to celebrate intellectual harvest. We thank you all for honouring our invitation despite your very busy schedules.”
“As I have always said, an intellectual harvest such as the convocation ceremony offers us an opportunity to express our deep gratitude to the Almighty, the Creator of all the worlds for His guidance and grace throughout the past academic year. It also offers us the unique opportunity to thank all our benefactors who have continued to support the growth of our university into an entrepreneurial university,” he stated.