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Restore UNIPORT’s lost glory, Wike tells acting VC

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Mike Odiegwu, Port Harcourt

Rivers State Governor. Nyesom Wike has appealed to the Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Prof. Stephen Okodudu to restore the institution to the path of academic excellence, saying politics was destroying the institution.

Wike, who spoke while receiving a delegation of UNIPORT led by Okodudu in Government House, Port Harcourt, said the institution used to be one of the best in academics, character moulding and leadership in the country.

The governor expressed regrets that the institution had become a place where lecturers aligned with mainstream politicians to manipulate the electoral process.

He said the emergence of a substantive vice-chancellor of the university was enmeshed in such politics.

He said: “It is appalling that the appointment of a Vice-Chancellor of the institution is also immersed in such political consideration. That is the reason why there is an impasse in the emergence of a substantive Vice-Chancellor.

“I must tell you the truth. Politics has penetrated the institution. The position of a Vice-Chancellor used to be based on merit.

“But the consideration now is different. Every Vice-Chancellor wants to align with a politician or is appointed because of such affiliation. In turn, he recruits willing lecturers who will be used to manipulate the electoral process.

“Such a trend is destroying the university system. It distracts from the core business of teaching. After manipulating the outcome of an election, you will turn around to say leaders are not doing anything.

“You make it possible for bad leaders to emerge and you bemoan their inefficiency in office. How can you exonerate yourselves from such leadership?

“Rigging of election is worse than armed robbery. It is better to punish such people more because they have denied the people their mandate and benefits of good governance,” he stated.

READ ALSO: UNIPORT disowns four arrested by EFCC for internet fraud

The governor restated his commitment to support his alma mater in order to enhance learning.

He recalled that as a minister he attracted the Faculty of Law and also built the Faculty of Social Sciences.

He said the contract had been awarded for the construction of a new convocation arena and funds would be released soon.

He said: “We want the glory of the school to be restored. Return it to what it used to be. My Commissioner for Commerce whose husband is a lecturer in your institution informed me about the bad section of the East-West Road. I quickly sent the State Road Maintenance Agency to fix it”.

In his remarks, Okodudu said he was appointed to serve for six months stating that within the period, he was expected to restore peace and the machinery had already been set in motion.

He thanked Wike for the existing harmonious relationship between the state government and the institution.

Okodudu noted the several supports the State Government had given the institution and commended Governor Wike for his doggedness in providing quality infrastructure to develop the State.

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