Why Delta State deserves a conventional federal university


By Tony Afejuku

Any time any matter about our country’s minorities seeped into our very thoughts, every accurate thought could not, would not, but centre on the possibility and impossibility of how triumph could not and would not come the way of the minorities. The majorities, the all-powerful majorities, have been gagging our minorities since independence and every action and every word of resistance put forth by our minorities have become very dear, preciously precious, as declarations of principle.

This is in spite of every attempt to break the ranks of the committed minorities some of whom were induced time after time to betray the acts and causes of their people. In several often atrocious circumstances of the minorities’ struggle for justice, fairness and equity relating to the distribution of resources the majorities have always made sure that the minorities never speak with one voice and never act in committed unison.

The experiences of the peoples of the Niger Delta of our country easily come to mind. True unity is lacking among the various ethnic groups of the region mainly on account of the unbearable heart-rending situation the all-powerful majorities created and are still creating there. Or are we not seeing what is going on presently at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)? If your answer is a big or small no, then you cannot but be precisely blind.

Many scholars and professionals who are denizens of the region are candid enough in their unvarnished expressions relating to the human condition – in fact, the inhuman condition – of Niger Delta citizens whose region possesses the lot of our country. Recently, in a small gathering in which the scholarly and professional gatherers from Delta State respectfully gave due recognition to physical distancing as well as to social distancing in obedience to Coronavirus the almighty silent killer of a disease, there was a unisonant consensus among them concerning their solemn commitment to their state and region that under no circumstances any longer should be devalued in any banal way by the state’s and region’s fifth columnists and their external inducers and paymasters.

A matter which was tabled and which was thoroughly discussed, debated and unsentimentally taken a decision on, and un-insipidly, I must add, was the meaning and importance of education to the people of Delta State. As a matter of fact, the scholars and professionals from the different senatorial areas of the state did not see and view themselves as different members of their respective ethnic groups, but as one people. They did not proclaim themselves, in other words, as peoples of Delta State, but as a people, one people, of their state. Indeed, the gathering underscored their unisonous perspective as Delta personages and citizens who must triumph over their weaknesses as ethnic jingoists insulted every now and then to their faces by their external political and economic oppressors. The people of Delta State must redeem themselves and reject in strong terms the vile, insipid image of themselves inspired by the oppressors’ divide-and-rule style.

I have deviated. But it is a pertinent deviation which attempts to pinpoint the question of power and conscience which the people of Delta State need in order to undo the damage to their personal emotion and dialectical political and moral dilemmas. Thus the debate of the aforesaid gatherers became a debate between alternatives until the debaters zeroed on higher education in the state. With a state conventional university located at Abraka, a federal petroleum university in Warri, a federal maritime university in Okerenghigho, in Warri South West Local Government Area, and other sundry private conventional universities the debaters were in harmonious agreement that despite these achievements, Delta State cannot rightly be said to have enjoyed or gained the benefits of higher education as it should.

Proprietors of private universities were well praised, as well as the state’s government, who owned its only university at Abraka aforesaid, and a number of polytechnics plus a college of education in different senatorial areas of the state. But the federal government’s untroubled conscience needed to be pricked without qualms. With Delta State’s vast resources which the Abuja plunderers plunder every now and then it was/is unthinkable that Delta State has no conventional federal university. The debaters strongly felt that the state needs a conventional federal university in order partly for the people fully to fulfil their historical, cultural, environmental and educational destiny. The federal government has the obligation to establish a conventional university in the state. The state’s citizens in government at every level must be committed to this cause and fulfil their role in history on this score.

A Warri denizen was so incensed that he could not control his personal emotion on the subject. He felt that the people of Warri have been short-changed, neglected and totally abandoned over the years. In fact, he posited that Warri is the only city of the old provinces right from colonial times that has not been fortunate to have a federal university bearing its name. He also added that Warri is the only province in Nigeria that is not a state today. What injustice!

An Anioma scholar shared the Warri denizen’s sentiment, but he posited, rightly in my view, that the federal conventional university to be fought for can be sited anywhere in Delta State. It is in the collective interest of all Delta citizens for all politicians to come together for this purpose. This wish must be insisted on. A conventional federal university located in Delta State will be of immense benefit to our children and their children in tomorrow’s Nigeria. Alternatively, some persons argued, the federal petroleum university should be converted to a full-fledged conventional federal university in which all our qualified citizens who enter it will be trained in all disciplines – law, medicine, engineering, social sciences, the sciences, arts, education and other areas of study – without discrimination. It is also in the scholarly and professional interest of all qualified and employable Delta academics and researchers in all disciplines, conventional and unconventional, to have a conventional federal university sited and fully established in Warri or Sapele or Kwale or Asaba or Agbor, Boji-Boji Uwa, Orogun or Emevor or anywhere in the fabulous State of Delta.

The governor of Delta State and senators and other Delta politicians, in government and not in government, must stand and embrace in a unisonal manner and make the effort to be themselves irremediably on this score – in the full light of day. To do so will mean that they have truly chosen freedom for all in Delta State of the Niger Delta of vile contradictions that we must obliterate for the grand freedom and ultimate wellbeing of all the citizens of the place. There never can be true peace there until we do this.

Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.

Published By: EDITOR

CARL UMEGBORO, an Associate of The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (United Kingdom) is a veteran journalist, prolific writer and public affairs analyst. He holds a Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB Hons), among others.. He is a renowned columnist in all national newspapers in Nigeria with aggregately, over 250 articles/titles to his credit, as well as in the Africa Press Reviews, The World NEWS and numerous foreign media including Park Chester Times, New York, USA. Umegboro is also a regular guest-analyst to many TV and radio programme on crucial national issues. He is reachable through: (+234) 08023184542, (+234) 08173184542 OR Email: umegborocarl@gmail.com

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