Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole has inaugurated the Governing Council of Edo University, Iyamho, to be chaired by Pat Utomi.
Oshiomhole, who inaugurated the nine-man Council on Wednesday in Benin City, said his vision was to midwife a first-class university for the state and turn Edo to the hub of tertiary education in the country.
“I want to thank you for accepting to help us to midwife the birth of a new university, which is intended not to be run the way conventional public institutions are run.
“From my experience in Edo now for seven and half years, I am convinced that the problem is not money. As a political economist, one of the basic elements of economic theory is that resources are necessarily scarce in relation to our wants. Therefore, the operating word is management. It is the quality of management and governance that defines the outcome. And so I am confidant that we can build and have a first-class university that will not only attract those who want quality university education but will also attract even foreigners.
“Because my vision of the possibility of a first-class university does not rely on government funding in the foreseeable future, I know that no government in the foreseeable future has all the resources that a university needs to grow and develop, I just thought that having had my own frustration trying to intervene, I thought that we could build a centre of excellence that can run independently of the state. So, I think we need to think outside the box to have a unique university,” he said.
Responding on behalf of other members, Pat Utomi thanked the governor for the appointment and pledged his commitment to do everything to ensure that the dream that had been laid down was achieved.
“Let me begin with a simple example, you mentioned Stanford University. Many people fail to understand that California as a state in America is perhaps the fifth or sixth largest economy in the world, larger than many great European countries like France and others. At the heart of California prosperity is a university called Stanford.
“That knowledge flowing out of Stanford has created a tributary of the most famous CEOs in the world, one of which is in Nigeria right now. These CEOs command more influence than many presidents of some largest economies of the world. We need to sit down and think about what kind of university we need to build.
“I am persuaded that if the right visions that we put forward is advanced with the appropriate strategy and culture to support it, one university can transform this state and become the basis of its prosperity if it is done right. Unless we build a culture of excellence, we will not achieve our potential as a people and so, from the very beginning, we need to ensure a culture that will drive excellence and part of that excellence is something you have just spoken to.
“I pledge my commitment to do everything that we can to ensure that kind of culture is created so that the dream that has been laid down is achieved”, he added.
Other members of the University’s Governing Council are Matthew Hassan Kukah, (The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto); Bishop Gabriel Dunia (The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Auchi); Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede of the Nigerian Stock Exchange; Solomon Uvie Owumi of the Department of Biochemistry, University of Ibadan, Asue Ighodalo, a Director of the Board of Directors of Sterling Bank PLC; T.O.K. Audu, a Professor Emeritus of Petroleum Engineering of the University of Benin; Emmanuel Aluyor, Acting Vice-Chancellor of the Univeristy; and Isoken Ogboro, Registrar and Secretary to the Governing Council.
IDRIS UMAR MOMOH, BENIN