By Anayo Okolie
Without doubt, establishing a new university in a state does not only create the opportunity of producing more literates in the area, it also plays a major role in reducing the high rate of unemployment.
Apart from creating jobs and producing more literates in the state, a new university also generates income to the locals and local businesses. However, the Edo State University, Iyamo, established by the state government to better the lives of the people has come under serious criticism. The critics are of the view that considering the current financial position of the state government and the total neglect of the existing public tertiary institutions, the establishment of the university was uncalled for.
They claimed the state already has the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma; School of Technology and Management Sciences, Usen; College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi; Michael Imoudu Institute of Physical Education, Afuze; School of Health Technology, Benin City; College of Education (Tayo Akpata University of Education), Ekiadolor; College of Education, Igueben; and School of Nursing and Midwifery, Benin City.
Apart from these state-owned tertiary institutions, they said there are federal institutions like the University of Benin (UNIBEN); Federal Polytechnic, Auchi; Federal Institute of Construction Technology, Uromi; and some privately-owned ones such as Igbinedion University, Okada; Benson Idahosa University; Samuel Adegboyega University, Ogwa; Shaka Polytechnic; and Light House Polytechnic.
But the state government has said the new university was not established to serve the personal interest of any individual, but the generality of the people. Governor Adams Oshiomhole had in a statement, described the investment as well informed, a progressive initiative, timely, auspicious and people-oriented.
“This clarification became necessary owing to the political slant that was recently laced with the investment, by those I termed ‘political-bureaucrats or red tape’ and their puerile media outing. There is no amount too big to be invested in education that can be said to be a waste. Not even the location of the university can be faulted except for wolves in wolves’ clothing who would argue blindly and blandly because the decision for the investment either outshined their paymasters or intentionally join the bandwagons for the sake of chewing their jaws.
The governor added: “The decision for a new university is easily the most significant investment in education any progressive and futuristic government can think of. This type of initiative has the capacity to change the lives of those who live in the host area and beyond and lots of educational aspirations would have been made possible from that investment.
“No doubt, it will stimulate employment generation, urbanise localities, boost economies, infrastructure, and transport, healthcare and open its doors to the ever increasing cohorts of learning and degree seekers unable to secure admission due to inadequate space in the state-owned Ambrose Alli University, among others.
“When you talk of the funding of the new university, don’t forget that it was built according to sustainability principles with great possibility for positive spin-offs for the state. It will encourage locals to seek for university education as an alternative to the polytechnic in Auchi, Edo North Senatorial District.”
“To argue that the new university is unwarranted is to be short-sighted or parochial and at best, to be an ethnic irredentist who argue blandly because it was not hosted in their birthplaces.”
Oshiomhole stressed that “if there is anything we should and must remove from our present system forever, it would be what I termed ‘political bureaucracy’. The Oshiomhole-led administration runs hot foot with fresh ideas, but ‘red tape’ and political bureaucrats want government to stop.
“The dualisation, expansion and beautification project of Airport Road is a spectacular case in point just as the new Edo State University. But government is determined that we, the people, cannot be the helpless victims of these detractors and red tape, who have held us back. Red tape, not only exist in government, they abound in politics, but we must rip down the red tape collectively.”