By Nathan Nwakamma
Gov Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa on Monday gave an assurance that the newly established University of Africa, Toru Orua, would commence undergraduate programmes by September.
The new university located in his hometown, is one of the 45 state universities approved by the National Universities Commission, NUC. There are 68 private universities and 40 others owned by the Federal Government.
Dickson spoke with journalists during an unscheduled inspection visit to the permanent site of the university at Toru-Orua in Sagbama LGA of the state.
The university is promoted by Bayelsa government under a public/private partnership arrangement with investors.
Dickson, accompanied by former Deputy Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Muktar Shagari and former House of Representatives member, Hon. Abba Lawan, expressed satisfaction with the quality and level of construction work going on at the site.
He noted with delight that the hostel blocks were almost completed to enable the government achieve its target of flagging off the undergraduate programme with over a thousand students.
The governor said the dream of the state government was to provide a world-class university to absorb students that would be produced from the 15 newly inaugurated model boarding secondary schools.
He expressed gratitude to the host communities and people of the state for their understanding and cooperation.
Dickson said that that the school of foundation studies, which had already taken off at Bulou-Orua community with 500 students, was doing well.
In separate interviews, Shagari and Lawan extolled the leadership qualities of Dickson and commended his administration for making judicious use of scarce resources to develop the state.
Shagari said, “If somebody had told me in Sokoto of what I’m seeing here in Bayelsa, I wouldn’t have believed. I would have simply said ‘no you are just telling me stories.’
“Like they say in China, don’t believe until you see. I’ve come and I’ve seen from Yenagoa to this place.
“Having come here to see the University of Africa, and in particular, the road that they said was completely impassable in the past before he came in, I believe that, if I have the opportunity, I’ll try to emulate what he has done, because that is what it is for a leader to love his people.
‘’A leader loves his people when he provides for them what will make life better for them in the future.
“The new Governor’s Office is simply a marvel. It is something that anybody from this state and in my party (PDP) should be proud of, because, it is one of the best in the country,” he said.
Shagari also described the Ijaw National Accademy as a novel innovation, saying the number of students he saw at the place indicated that the future of Bayelsa was assured.
On his part, Lawan said, “It is an eye opener, but I’m not surprised because I have known the Governor since our days in the House of Representatives.
“He is such a man that when he sets his eyes on something, he usually does that with flying colours.” (NAN)