Governor Adams Oshiomhole said education must top the list of priority of government at all levels in the country, adding that government must always strive to ensure that schools are shut down, no matter what.
Speaking at the 20th Convocation ceremony of the Ambrose Alli University, Oshiomhole said when Nigerian schools are shut, those in other countries remain open and students from shut Nigerian schools are expected to compete on the same level with their peers from other climes where schools remain open.
He said: “there are many universities that are on strike, and ASUU has cleverly reversed the conventional adage or even law which says, ‘no work, no pay’. Now, ASUU finds themselves having to now say, ‘no pay, no work’.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole also used the opportunity to commend immediate past vice chancellor of AAU, Prof Cordelia Agbebaku. The Governor commendation was loud and clear during the 20th convocation ceremony of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State. The Governor ordered everybody in the hall to stand up and give her a standing ovation during the ceremony.  It was enough to make her cry.  Such a farewell speech by the Governor came up during the convocation as hundreds of students, current and former colleagues attended and he talked about her dedication to higher education, her leadership and vision, and how much she will be missed at AAU. The immediate past vice-chancellor who assumed office in 2011 had some of her achievements, one of which included massive reduction in social ills like cultism, examination malpractices and cases of sexual harassment. Her administration was able to retrieve hitherto un-accessed funds from TETFUND and the federal government NEEDS ASSESSMENT intervention funds, have been directed towards developmental projects. Some other achievements include regular salary payment, computerization and internet compliance.

Oshiomhole, commended the former Vice Chancellor of Ambrose Alli (AAU), Ekpoma, Professor Cordellia Agbebaku, for what he described as her efficient running of the institution, in spite of the numerous challenges the University faced when she took over affairs of the institution. Oshiomhole, who spoke in his capacity as the visitor to the university, during the 20th convocation ceremony, said the former vice chancellor had demonstrated uncommon capacity and had managed the students well.
Members of the academic community, the diplomatic corps, corporate Nigeria and others said thank you to Professor Cordelia Agbebaku, immediate past  Vice Chancellor of the university – who- embodied respect, admiration, gratitude. Glowing tributes flowed – all commending Prof C. Agbebaku’s “humility”, “sensitivity”, “approachability”. Some people referenced comments made of Moses “no more a humble man in Israel”, and credited Prof Cordelia Agbebaku with the development of “a very positive working relationship between the Government of Edo and the AAU”. The Governor spoke of Professor Agbebaku’ trustworthiness, honesty, and willingness to listen. He hailed the former vice chancellor’ ability to achieve stability,  unanimity, her patience and commitment to AAU and Edo State.

Acknowledging the difficulties of administering the AAU , the Governor said Prof Cordelia Agbebaku  posed a realistic vision for the university – a vision which embraced the centrality of its role as the pivotal and premier Edo tertiary institution serving the governments and people of the former Bendel State and dedicated to the substance rather than the rhetoric of excellence”.

Prof Cordelia Agbebaku tenure as Vice Chancellor was a period of worldwide financial crisis which severely affected the fortunes of funding by Edo State Government, she led the AAU during a period of robust growth and development, driven by the campus’ determination to lessen their dependence on government financial resources. Under Professor Agbebaku’s watch, the institution’s students enrolment increased and the expansion and modernisation of the campus that kept pace with the quality needs of a 21st century university. Governor Adams Oshiomhole, has commended the former Vice Chancellor of Ambrose Alli (AAU), Ekpoma, Professor Cordellia Agbebaku because the university has recorded several achievements and progress in the following areas appointment of a substantive vice-chancellor for the university on 8th February, 2014 that stabilized the school.

Swearing in of sets of medical doctors of Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma Laying of foundation stone of the centre science laboratory block by the alumni association Inauguration of various government intervention projects in the University by the Comrade Governor on the 29th of September, 2014.

Inauguration of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, Ph. D. 600 Capacity Lecture Theatre on the 27th of January, 2014.

Provision of solar light by the University from the Main gate into the university Delivery of coastal Toyota buses and hilux vans through the TETFUND intervention scheme.
Signing of agreement between the university and eight contractors in respect of project being financed with the N500 million grant to the university by the Comrade Governor, ADAMS ALIYU OSHIOMOLE C.B.N intervention in provision of infrastructure to the tune of N1 billion

Donation of 20million to the Department of Theatre and Media Arts by the Comrade Governor

Construction of a befitting auditorium as university pavilion, near completion of the administrative building, etc. The university management continued to put in place policies aimed at improving the academic profile of the university. The university redoubled its effort in order to make AAU her (alma mater) a university to be proud of.

In the history of the University, for the first time the University celebrated its Convocation with a woman and an alumnus of this University as a substantive Vice-Chancellor. For this and other reasons, the Vice Chancellor was determined to do all within her ability to complement the comrade Governor, the Governing Council, Senate, Staff and Students in moving the University to its next level of being an Ivory Tower that is the pride of Edo State.

Suffice it to say that no amount of cheap publicity and blackmail can erode the outstanding performance and good works of Professor Agbebaku as Vice Chancellors of the University. The  former AAU VC has attracted from Tetfund both in infrastructure, library and capacity- building said: Known for her goal oriented approach to educational management, Professor Cordelia Agbebaku achievements at the helm of affairs at the Ambrose Alli University, has continued to earn herself the respect and love of the university’s management, staff, students as well as parents and guardians

The Vice Chancellor’s academic pedigree, her professional experience, her exposure and desire to always be an agent of positive change have never been surprised by her promises of yesterday which have become the reality of today. The former Vice Chancellor, in collaboration with the academic and non academic staff of AAU, had worked assiduously to make sure that the university continually achieves its mandates, but the bar of academic excellence is being raised by Prof Agbebaku through exemplary leadership approach, the rapid addition to the infrastructure of the school and staff motivation. Prof Agbebaku has attracted the following projects:

The TETFUND projects which Prof Cordelia Agbebaku has attracted are: 1. the construction of 3-in-1 300 Capacity Lecture Theatre at Permanent Site, 2. Construction of Faculty of Social Sciences Building Complex at Permanent Site, 3. Procurement and Supply of 969 Volumes of Books in 26 Subject areas to the University Central Library, 4.Procurement of Brand new Toyota(STD) roof No. Bus Ambulance Equipped Medical Facilities at University Health Centre, 5. Procurement of 35 qualities of Electronic Library Equipment at Faculty of Clinical Science Library, 6. Procurement of 100KVA/1104C44TA922 at University Central Library, 7. Procurement of Teaching and Research Equipment for the Departments in the College of Medicine, Department of Architecture and Computer Science. Other TETFUND Projects are: 1.Furnishing of the 1000 Capacity Lecture Theatre with Modern theatre seats including rehabilitation of the ceiling and painting at Main Campus, 2. Procurement and installation of Language Laboratory Facilities in the Department of English, Faculty of Arts, 8. Procurement and installation of Furniture and Equipment for the Department of Political Science, 9. Procurement and installation of Furniture, Fittings and Equipment for the Faculty of Law, 10. Procurement of various laboratory works Facilities Equipment for water supply and standby Generators, 11. Construction and Furnishing of Faculty of Arts Office Block and Lecture Halls.

Edo State Government under Governor Adams Oshiomhole has executed the following projects at Ambrose Alli University: 1.Construction of 500 Capacity Lecture Theatre at Main Campus, 2. Construction of Lecturers Office Block at Main Campus, 3. Construction of 500 Capacity Lecture Theatre at Emaudo Annex, 4. Re-roofing of Central Library Building at Main Campus, 5. 500 KVA Generator,6. 2 Comrade Luxurious Bus (42 Seated) and Rehabilitation of Provost Lodge, Ogbeha Quarters and other numerous projects.

Prof Cordelia Agbebaku, former Vice Chancellor of AAU invited Governor Oshiomhole in 2015 to  inaugurate projects at Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, that were fully funded by Edo State Government. The eight projects inaugurated, were the projects of the five hundred million naira (N500,000,000) special grant that the Comrade Governor graciously approved for the University when the present Governing Council of Ambrose Alli University was inaugurated on the 5th of August 2013. The final installment of the special Grant was received by the University in February 2014 and the funds have been applied to execute the following capital projects.

Construction of workshop building for department of building and studio for fine and applied arts department in the faculty of Environmental studies. Location: Main Campus.
Construction of 2-in-1 Laboratory Block for the department of Medical Laboratory science. Location: College of Medicine.

Furnishing of 2-in-1 Laboratory Block for the Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences. Location College of Medicine.
Construction of Library Building in Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences. Location: College of Medicine.

Construction of 500 Capacity Lecture Theatres in Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences. Location: College of Medicine.
Completion of Abandon Moot Court Building in the Faculty of Law. Location: Main Campus.

Furnishing of Moot Court Building in Faculty of Law. Location: Main Campus.
Construction of departmental building for the department of Agricultural Economics. Location: Emaudo Annex.

Mr. Inwalomhe Donald, a public affairs analyst, writes from Benin City, Edo State [email protected]