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ARISE News Channel Donates N1bn to Western Delta University to Set Up Media & Technology School

Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi and former Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi are to become visiting lecturers.

The Western Delta University, Oghara, Ethiope West local government area (LGA) of Delta state rarely had it so good as it did at the weekend as hefty monetary donations and offers of sundry help tumbled in at its 15th Founders’ Day celebrations and lecture.

The Chairman of THISDAY/ARISE News Channel, Prince Nduka Obaigbena, opened the financial floodgates as he announced a donation of N1 billion on behalf of the broadcast station to Western Delta University, to set up Media and Technology School to help enhance the school’s development.

At the same event, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the just concluded general election, Mr. Peter Obi and immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, both agreed to become visiting lecturers at the Western Delta University(WDU), Oghara, Delta State.

At a time, the students and other visitors who thronged the lecture hall became frenzied as they mobbed the trio of Obi, Obaigbena and Fayemi.

The founder of THISDAY said ARISE News Channel donated the sum of N1 billion to the Western Delta University to encourage it in its quest to build a first rate institution committed to the pursuit of excellence in all areas of academic learning, technological development and social service.

Speaking at the event, Obaigbena, described former Delta Governor and founder of the university, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, as a long-time friend and a people-oriented leader who is ever ready to sacrifice for the development of his people.

Obaigbena, who eulogised Ibori, also commended him for his large heart and great vision for establishing the university, noting that running a university was money-intensive and the promoters do it virtually for development purposes and not really for profit-making.

He said he was at the 15th Founders’ Day celebration of the Western Delta University, “to rejoice with, and encourage, a friend who is giving back to society what it needed to grow.”

Ibori, the visitor to the university and former governor of Delta State who personally welcomed Obaigbena, drew thunderous ovation from the people and Dele Momodu, the Publisher of Ovasion Magazine, said, if it were to be the election period, issues would have been made out of the invitation because of the presence of Fayemi, a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress, (APC) and Obi.

He stated that building an institution like the Western Delta University, established to promote intellectual development that competes with the best in the world, required people and resource collaboration outside the limited scope of party affiliate.

Ibori, pleaded with Obaigbena to help build the Western Delta University and make it one of the best private universities in Nigeria.
Fayemi, who delivered the lecture at the well-attended event with the title, “Sub-National Governance, the Ekiti State Example,” promised to set up the School of Policy Implementation in the institution.

He also promised to become the first lecturer once the school is completed.
Ibori, who is the visitor to the university, appealed to Obi whom he described as an experienced leader who has greatly contributed to nation building to join Fayemi as a lecturer upon the completion of the policy school.
Obi agreed to help set it up and join as a visiting professor.

In his speech, Fayemi who cited personal examples of what transpired during his tenure as Ekiti State governor, urged political office holders to ensure balancing when making appointments and avoid the pitfalls of selecting those who would end up as liabilities to the government.
He added: “One of the important challenges that every governor will face early is that of making key appointments. Apart from the challenges of ethnic and religious balancing, you also have political IOUs to settle.

“Every governor will have to strike the right balance between appointing core politicians who have been involved in the long and tortuous political struggle like mine that brought the governor to office and appointing technocrats who will be required to undertake specific assignments for the smooth running of the government.

“While the local political context will determine what the right balance is, this is something every new governor must always be mindful of. But it will always be helpful if you understand what your key priorities are. This will help you to understand those appointments you can play politics with and those you have to assign to the best possible hands.”

Speaking further, Fayemi said: “The balance is that you cannot take all away from politics and you can also not give all to politics. However, a key lesson from my own experience is that whether one is a technocrat in government or a core politician, all political appointees must be strongly connected to their communities. Otherwise, they will become liabilities to the governor.”

He said despite the dwindling revenue accruing to the state, especially owing to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and drop in price of crude oil, his administration was able to improve on the infrastructural development of the state.

He further said Ekiti State was in the doldrums when he took over owing to avalanche of challenges facing it. He said his administration was able to restore the core values the state has been noted for and returned it to the path of development.

“There are three major ways you make money in government. You either make it; you beg for it or you borrow it. What you make from internal generated revenues and investment holdings is what you make.

“Your receipts from the Federation Account and what you may get as grants from international development agencies are your unearned incomes which I classified as products of begging. Then the loans you are able to obtain from banks, infrastructure bonds and so on are your borrowings.

“In all categories, Ekiti as at the time I took over was in dire straits. This was the time that oil price had dipped in the international marker, leading to a significant reduction in oil revenue to the federation account.
“The IGR of Ekiti was nothing to write home about as at the time I took over at N100 million per month. And to make matters worse, it was also a period of agitation for increased minimum wage by the trade unions and there was little or no support from multilateral and bilateral support agencies.”
On his part, Obi, a former governor of Anambra State called on political office holders to go beyond the barriers of political partisanship, tribal affiliations and religious inclinations in their contributions to the development of the society.
According to him, though the Visitor to the University, Ibori and Fayemi were in different political parties from him, he attended the event because of his love for education and its developmental impact on the nation.

Obi emphasised that political parties should present credible candidates based on character, competence, integrity and emulatable track records.

“And when they are given opportunity to serve, they must serve without recourse to any form of bigotry,” he stressed.
He wished the students well in their academic endeavours, urging them to remain committed to their educational pursuits.
Earlier in his introduction, Ibori, had introduced Obi as his younger brother, who was invited in view of his abundant talent and crave for human resources development.

In a brief remark, Obi, whose presence led to loud ovation and a momentary uncontrolled rowdy movement of the guests mostly the students in the hall, acknowledged Ibori’s reference to him as a junior brother and promised to contribute to the overall development of the Western Delta University.

He accepted Ibori’s invitation to him to lecture at the school so as to impact his excellent knowledge of entrepreneurship into the students.
Others who donated to the Western Delta University were: Senator Chief Ighoyota Amori – N250,000; Prophet Jeremiah Fufeyin – N5 million; Chief Greg Ighere, an unspecified amount; Chief Williams Makinde, unspecified amount; Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan and his family, an unspecified amount, amongst others.

On the significance of the Founder’s Day Lecture, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Augustine Ovuoronye Ikelegbe, said the occasion was geared towards highlighting its journey so far in offering educational training and preparing students to build competence for their future careers.

Uduaghan was the Chairman of the occasion, attended by Publisher of Ovation Magazine, Dele Momodu and a host of academicians, politicians and captains of industry.

Peter Uzoho

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