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Obaseki To Constitute New Governing Council For Ambrose Alli Varsity As SIT Presents Report

THE Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has said a new Governing Council for the State-owned Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma will be constituted to take over from the outgoing Special Intervention Team (SIT).

The governor who spoke when he received the SIT team end of tenure report, at the Government House, Benin City, reaffirmed the government’s commitment to repositioning the institution to meet global standards.

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Obaseki commended the team for their commitment towards reviving the institution within a short stint, reassuring that the new council to be inaugurated to take over from the SIT will continue on the trajectory of progress established by the team.

He said, “I express my profound gratitude and appreciation to the Chairman and members of the SIT for the great success recorded in your job despite the circumstances with which we decided to put up the SIT. The school had almost collapsed as the choices before us were limited. It was either to close or restart the institution. We had to get a team of reputable individuals to look at how to restart the Institution. We thank God for finding people like you who agreed to help out.

“Look at its ranking 40 years ago. We were amongst national and international Universities, compared to where we are today. I am glad you have done your bid to stem the rot to make the school look like an institution again. There are still lots of work today.

“When I see and hear people politicizing academics, I feel really sad because we don’t really know where we are in the world today as some of our leaders are happy to see our institutions on the floor as it gives them a sense of authority.

“For the sake and the future of our children, it was necessary we cleaned up the institution to enable it compete with what we have across the globe. Ignore what they are saying about you as I have learned to turn my back on them.”

The governor continued: “A university has to be a citadel of learning. It has to show example, knowledge, conduct and morality. I put it on record again; AAU is not an Esan University but an Edo State University. So, there should not be any ethnic capture of any State university as taxpayers’ money is going into it. It belongs to all the people of Edo State.

“You can’t be an ethnic professor. You can’t become a professor because you come from a particular place. I want the full report submitted as I am going to appoint a Council for the school that will take off from where you stopped. I will make sure they see the report, implement the recommendations that are contained in your report and follow up with most of the initiatives you have started.

“I am sad and disappointed seeing how politicians have politicized the institution as Esan land is a place where education has taken its roots. The records are clear; facts are there to check.

“I want to thank and appreciate the students of the school because we did it for them. Politics is now as we can campaign as we have evidence that the school has improved tremendously for the better. The new council and government will ensure we continue at this level and never allow retrogression of the school,” he assured.

On his part, the Chairman of the AAU SIT, Engr. Andrew Olotu said the past thirty-six months on the task was daunting and challenging, commending Governor Obaseki for his support towards the success of their tenure.

A member of the SIT, Comrade Austin Osakue, who delivered the report of the team highlighted achievements in the ten areas of reference for the team.

According to him, “The school currently has 1,715 staff and 625 pensioners cleared as at May 2024 as N330.4 million are salaries while N72.3m is for pension paid regularly.

“The Institution cleared outstanding loans/debts of the University of N400m and also cleared 8 months outstanding salaries. It has N84m in savings for the smooth take-off of the contributory pension. The University requires government subvention which must be towards capital intervention

“Adhoc staffing has been abolished and qualified indigenes engaged as full staff to fill identified gaps in the University. A university work study program has been initiated and running, while EdoHIS is now operational for all our students.”

In attendance at the presentation was the Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq.; Commissioner for Education, Dr. Joan Osa-Oviawe and Ag. VC AAU, Prof. Sonnie Adagbonyin and other members of the SIT, among others.

PHOTO CAPTION

L-R: Chairman of the outgoing Ambrose Alli University (AAU) Special Intervention Team (SIT) SIT, Engr. Andrew Olotu; Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki; Secretary to the Edo State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq., and Edo State Commissioner for Education, Dr. Joan Osa Oviawe, during the presentation of report by the outgoing Special Intervention Team, at the Government House, Benin City, on Friday, June 21, 2024.

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