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By Kparobo Ehvwubare
“One generation cannot enter into a contract to stifle the intellectual and moral development of a later generation by making it impossible for the latter to expand its knowledge, to expose and eliminate error, and thereby to become ever more enlightened. To do so would be to commit a crime against human nature, whose destiny is to grow and progress?
Later generations are utterly justified in ignoring or overturning such an agreement as unjust and illegal…An individual may for a time hesitate to enlighten himself. But opt out of such enlightenment entirely, either for oneself or one’s descendant to ride roughshod over the sacred rights of mankind…..Immanuel Kant.
When 2015, I got the invitation for a world press conference for Western Delta University, Oghara, I was so excited owing to the fact that the world would now be aware of the unsung achievements of this young but dynamic institution.In that fateful day, the then Vice Chancellor, Prof Austin Ovigue Asagba in company of other management staff took time to acquit the press on some of the achievements of the institution since its inception.
As usual this piece would be in futility, if I do not give a brief history of this noble citadel of learning. The University was founded by a group of Urhobo academics and investors in the knowledge of industry, who decided to take advantage of the liberalization of the Nigerian higher ities. The group obtained the application form from the National University Commission, NUC for the proposed private University to be sited in Oghara. To realize this vision, the group established a body called Urhobo advancement Foundation (UAF); it was registered in 2005 with the corporate affairs commission as a non-profitable organization limited by Guarantee. One aim of the foundation was to set up educational institutions to empower Nigeria and Africa with the knowledge of technological skill to be competitive in this era of new globalization.
The body was also inspired by various challenges thrown up by the dynamics situation in the Niger Delta region as the economic heartbeat of Nigeria and West Africa sub-region. The UAF decided that a first class rate University was needed to under focused the researches on the peculiar biodiversity and socio-economic resources of the Niger Delta.
The name WESTERN DELTA UNIVERSITY reflected its vision.When UAF family was set up, the family of His eminence, Late Godfrey Mene Otubu of Oghara, had plans to immortalize his memory through the promotion of education. The UAF and Mene Otubu Trust had a fruitful discussion on the University project. Thus, Mr. Dere Otubu, an industrialist agreed to serve as the promoter of the University while the UAF is the proprietor. An academic planning committee, later Project implementation Committee, (PIC) was set up in May, 2004, to prepare the academic Briefs and other relevant documents for submission to the National University Commission.
The committee headed by Prof. David T. Okpako of the University of Ibadan and a fellow of the academy of science. Chief James Erhuero, JP, an engineer and former secretary of the Delta State Government was in charge of physical projects and Allied matters. The firm of Gerik Associates based in Benin City, Edo State was commissioned to coordinate a consortium of experts to prepare the master plan. Prof Andrew Onokerhoraye, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin headed the team that produced the Environmental Impact Assessment for the project.
In October 22-24, 2006, SCOPU undertook its final verification visit to the proposed University. The revised Academic Briefs, University laws and master plan were thoroughly examined at the interactive sessions between SCOPU and members of the Project Implementation Committee. All outstanding legal documents were scrutinized for accuracy.
SCOPU advised the PIC to produce all relevant documents for the NUC to consider and forward to the Federal executive council for assessment for a license. On May 17th, 2000, the University was granted approval to operate as a private University by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Since the vision of the institution was spelt out to serve as first rate institution committed to the pursuit of excellence in all areas of academic leaning, technology development and social relevance, while the mission was to produce men and women with the view of the knowledge required for the resolution of national and international challenges.
Today, this institution has not deviated from its vision with the rigorous pursuit of its mission where its materials (graduates) currently competing favorably in their various field of human endeavors. In twenty of its existence, the institution has achieved a lot in the area of manpower, braining and its researches, student-lecturer ratio is adjudged to be the best among private universities in Niger Delta region.
These achievements were is a result to the dogged efforts of management staff, stakeholders and indeed the host communities.Western Delta University has graduated over ten sets without break. It is noteworthy that two of its graduates qualified for the Delta State Government scholarship for first class graduates of the State origin in any country of their choice around the world.
In August 13th, 2015, the institution was granted full license to operate as private University, with all courses fully accredited by National University Commission, NUC. The National University Commission, NUC approved two new colleges viz: college of law and college of Humanities to commence in the new academic session. The institution has also proposed the institute of Delta studies with the view to become a leading institution, accumulating and disseminating comprehensive scientific and scholarly data base on the deltaic and wetland studies in the Niger Delta in comparison with other deltaic communities in Africa and the world.Indeed, Western Delta University is on the march to making education for all, as the dreams of the founding fathers is becoming achievable, top management staff are out to showcase the stuff they are made of, considering the growth of the institution as the University had moved to its permanent site with the expensive and well crated lecture halls.
Kparobo Ehvwubare, is a journalist, Social crusander wrote from Oghara-Delta State, could be reached on 07067546856, [email protected]