Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar, was on Saturday installed as Chancellor of Nigeriaâ€™s first university of medical sciences, Pamo University of Medical Sciences (PUMS) to signal the official take-off of the privately-owned university.
This came as Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, announced the approval of a N500 million grant to the university as he declared that the state government would partner private investors to promote tertiary education in the state.
In his address after installation as the Chancellor of the institution located at Iriebe in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, Former Head of State, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar, noted that less than five per cent of qualified candidates are able to gain admission into medical Programmes in existing Nigerian universities.
He said the inability of the institutions in Nigeria to meet up with demands for admission into universities to read medical-related programmes stand gave birth to PAMO University of Medical Sciences.
His words: â€œOver the last decade, Nigeria has witnessed a phenomenal growth of private universities arising from the inability of public universities to cater for the demand of applicants seeking admission every year.
â€œRecent reports have shown that less than five per cent of qualified candidates are able to gain admission into medical Programmes in all Nigerian universities. PAMO University of Medical Sciences will strive to address all these challenges as it aims to achieve global excellence in terms of teaching, research and community services.â€
He added that, â€œThis university is set to produce graduates in different fields of medicine who are not only competent in their professional but also entrepreneurial, ICT driven and that are worthy in character and learning.â€
In his address, Governor Wike declared that the state government would partner private investors to promote tertiary education in the state. He also announced a grant of N500 million for the newly established Pamo University of Medical Sciences to support the development of the school and its students.
Wike also said the state needs more private universities and encouraged private investors to key into the plans of his administration to invest in that sector.
The governor stated that to consummate the partnership with Pamo University of Medical Sciences, the State Government would sponsor 100 indigenous students annually for the next five years.
He said the State Government established the College of Medical Sciences at the Rivers State University because of its commitment to train qualified medical doctors.
He said, â€œWith two faculties of Medical Sciences in two universities, Rivers State will soon become a medical hub for training and certification of medical doctors and health professionals in Nigeria and beyond.
â€œWe are glad to have PUMS as beneficiaries of this new partnership and to demonstrate our commitment, therefore Rivers State Government has approved a grant of N500 million to support the development of the university.
â€œIn addition, the state government will also enter into memorandum of understanding with PUMS where we will be sponsoring 100 Rivers State students yearly for five years,â€ he added.
Wike commended the proprietor of the university and Former Rivers State Governor, Dr Peter Odili, for breaking the ground by investing in the setting up of the university in the state.
Pro-Chancellor of PUMS and former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, said the idea of the university was initiated after a chance meeting with the Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, who suggested that he should contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the area of Medical Sciences.
While thanking the Federal Government for providing them the licence to operate, and Wike for his support and encouragement, Odili said, â€œIt has set a record in being the university that took the shortest time to plan and establish. PAMO University of Medical Sciences is the first private university of any type to be established in Rivers State.â€
He commended the former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, for his contributions to the life of the institution.
â€œYour Excellency, posterity will continue to extol you for all your contributions not only to the Nigerian project which remains work in progress but also for your indelible role in the making of history of PUMS,â€ he said.
Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission, Prof. Rasheed, said with very limited spaces for the training of Medical Doctors in existing institutions, the establishment of Pamo University of Medical Sciences is a welcome boost.
Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello said the Chancellor of the University and former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar will add great value to the university through his wealth of knowledge.