Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has again called for gradual and systematic reduction of the five hundred million naira monthly wage bill of the state owned Niger Delta University, (NDU), stressing that it is not sustainable.
Governor Dickson made the call, while inaugurating the Governing Council of the University in Government House on Wednesday.
According to a Government House statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Francis Ottah Agbo, the Bayelsa State Chief Executive urged the new Governing Council to work with the government and the university to reduce the financial burden, emphasizing the need for the institution to look inwards, as a centre of learning to attract and create funding to finance its growth.
Assuring them of the Government’s continued support for the tertiary institution to achieve desired results, the Governor said, the NDU has come of age and should have a concrete timeframe for self-development and sustainability.
“The dream of the government with emphasis on education and human capacity development is to turn the institution to one of the best of its kind in the country.
“Now that the council has been inaugurated, I have no doubt they will bring their wealth of experience to bear on the assignment.
“I expect to be de-briefed on how the council plans to run the University so as to achieve its objectives, as I have received a document from several committees which lays out concrete developmental agenda in terms of the immediate challenges and considering short, medium and long term objectives”
He noted that, as part of its programme to upgrade the physical infrastructure of the institution, the government has awarded contracts for the construction of a main road, the Senate Building, which is ongoing, adding that, a contract for the construction of a befitting auditorium will be awarded early next year.
Governor Dickson appreciated past leaders of the State for the establishment and funding of the NDU, as well as the contributions and sacrifices of the lecturers, the host community and students, who have been working together to make the institution one of the most respected institutions in Nigeria.
While commending the efforts of the Acting Vice Chancellor and his team for the accreditation of most of the courses in the university, Governor Dickson mandated the council to raise the academic profile of the institution.
He pledged his administration’s support in terms of exchange programmes and international publications which would place the institution at par with other world class universities around the world.
The Governor also restated his administration’s commitment towards the development of NDU and other institutions in the state and called on qualified youths in the state to take advantage of the opportunity to acquire education as government has deliberately made education affordable in the state.
Responding, Pro Vice Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Professor Steve Azaiki, thanked the Governor for the honour to serve the state and pledged the council’s commitment to put Niger Delta University among the best 10 in the country.
He commended Governor Dickson for his passion and commitment to the Ijaw nation as well as the establishment of the University of Africa, Toru-Orua and pledged total commitment of the council to serve with integrity, dedication and sincerity.
“As a subject of my state, it is my duty and responsibility to respond appropriately, we appreciate the honour to serve. I pledge on behalf of members of this council that you have carefully selected to serve the university, the state with integrity, dedication, and competency”.
Members of the council include; Chief A.M Aduba, Elder Markson B. Mieyebo, Mrs. Muriel Graham-Douglas and Hon. Donald Daunemugha are members.
Others are; Dr. Allen J.D Ameri, Chief (Barr) Albert Karikarisei, Commissioner for Education, Mr Jonathan Obuebite, who is a statutory member as well as the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance.