Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
The Seventh Day Adventist Church has expanded its investment in tertiary education in Nigeria with the establishment of Clifford University (CLU) in Ihie, Isiala Ngwa Local Government Area of Abia State, which is set to commence academic activities this quarter.
The Vice-Chancellor of the new university, Professor Alwell Omeonu, who made this known while briefing journalists at the completed residential campus of the institution, said the management has concluded plans for the smooth take-off of the institution with adequate hostels, academic facilities and security.
The church, which has several universities across the world, including 30 in Africa has already invested in university education in Nigeria with the establishment of Babcock University in Ogun State. Clifford University was named after Pastor and Mrs. Jesse Clifford, the missionaries that brought the Adventist message to the eastern part of the country in 1920.
According to Omeonu, “this church is very keen on education,” adding that it started investing in education in the southeast as far back as 1948 when it established the Nigerian Training College followed by Adventist College all in Ihie.
He said it was the famous Adventist College Ihie that has been converted to the campus of Clifford University following the handover of schools to the churches by the former administration of Theodore Orji who is now a senator. He said the fees payable by students is affordable at N285,000 per semester, describing it as the lowest fees payable at any private university.
The VC said the university has been accredited to begin with three faculties composed of 10 departments with 15 academic programmes, adding that the institution has bias for sciences backed with six laboratories of international standard.
He explained that the focus on the sciences was dictated by the fact that “our environment has technology that is yet to be developed”, citing the burgeoning manufacturing and entrepreneurial skills in Aba, which he said would attain global standard if backed with science and technology.
He promised that the institution would be guided by the philosophy of SDA education as obtainable in all the universities operated by the church throughput the world.
“By definition, to us, education is harmonious development of the physical, mental and spiritual powers to prepare the student and staff for two worlds – here and hereafter through the training of the various domains of a person. This focus trains the other domains of an individual- economic, social, religious, aesthetic, among others.”
He said admission is open to all people who possess the requisite qualifications for university education in Nigeria and agree to abide by the rules governing the Adventist institutions.
“Every Adventist institution, including Clifford University is skin colour blind, racial blind, tribal blind, sex blind, state of origin blind, religious affiliation blind. The same is true in both student admission and employment matters.”
Clifford University was among the eight private universities whose approval was announced on November 2, 2016 after a meeting of the Federal Executive Council while the charter was given on November 22 by the National Universities Commission (NUC).