By Sylvester Idowu
The immediate past Vice- Chancellor of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources (FUPRE), Effurun, Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State, Prof. Akii Ibhadode has bowed out of service after piloting the affairs of the institution for the past five years.
He also officially handed over to a new Vice- Chancellor, Prof. Rim-Rukeh Akpofure.
During the official hand over ceremony, Ibhadode thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the bill establishing the university during his tenure as vice-chancellor.
“I graciously commend the commitment of every member of the National Assembly who saw to that landmark passage of the bill and seeing to it being assented to.
The immediate past vice- chancellor however noted that the institution is still suffering from “funding malnutrition.”
He said it was obvious that he met a university poorly funded but “we made every effort to raise the bar, but like a malignant cancer, the issue of poor funding refused to abate.
“Therefore, if the university is to live up to expectations of the founding fathers, the government must rise above board to adequately fund the university to accomplish her goals,” he said.
Ibhadode observed that research institutions across the world are busy with efforts to find solution to the COVID-19 pandemic, while the country’s universities were shut because of strike occasioned by poor funding and prayed the government urgently reverses the ugly trend.
He however expressed appreciation to Alhaji Attahiru Mohammed Ahmad, Emir of Zamfara for the various roles he played to stabilize the university during his tenure.
“I am also eternally grateful to the immediate past Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Senator Nimibarigha-Amange and members of the third governing council for finding me fit for this job five years ago and our current Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Prof. Shehu Abdullai Zuru for his wise counsel and sustained supports, as well as other external and internal council members for the vigour and fresh vitality that helped me to push the university to the forefront.
“My appreciation goes to the Ovie of Uvwie Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Dr. Emmanuel Sideso Abe for his support, and several other traditional rulers in Delta State who worked with me for the positive actualisation of the university’s vision.
“I commend the government agencies that partnered with us during my tenure, Tertiary Eduction Trust Fund (TETFund), the National Universities Commission (NUC), Presidential Needs Assessment and the Delta State Government.
“Finally, I must also commend the oil and gas industry for partnering with the university; Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited for endowing the NNPC/SPDC-JV Professorial Chair in Lightweight Automobile Engine Development; ExxonMobil Unlimited for its various donations to the university, Din-Mac Nigeria Limited for sponsoring the design and construction of the CMOS-22 nan cruise boat, Donvuc Petroleum International Corporation for its donations of petroleum exploration software; I-flow Energy Holdings, United Kingdom for joint ownership of FUPRE Energy Solutions Limited (FESL), the National Association of Petroleum of Nigeria (OGTAN), Oil Trading Logistics (OTL) Africa Downstream Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), and the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit for various supports in attending conferences and exhibitions.
“But above all, we owe all we have done during this five years to God Almighty, despite the towering challenges that came my way in the cause of discharging my duty as the third substantive vice-chancellor of this university,” he added.
In an acceptance speech, the new vice-chancellor promised to establish, in the university, an auditorium and convocation arena, among others.
Akpofure said the university under his watch will not tolerate sex and money for grades by lecturers and students and warned lecturers and students to stay clear of such vices.
“No matter your connections, you will be fished out and punished for it,” he said.