BENIN CITY – Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State says Tayo Akpata University of Education, Ekiadolor will be a world class university when completed, adding that the establishment of the school was not a political decision.
Besides, Governor Obaseki approved the payment of salary arrears of former lecturers and staff who worked at the College of Education, Ekiadolor, now Tayo Akpata University of Education.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary, Mr. John Mayaki said the state governor approved the payment of gratuities, pension arrears and pending promotions of the staff during the inspection of facilities at the University on Wednesday.
The pronouncement of governor which jolted the cheering crowd, has laid to rest the protracted industrial dispute between the Management of the school and the staff.
The National University Commission (NUC) had in April 2016 approved the University.
According to Obaseki, “We acknowledge that there are liabilities. We are owning pension, gratuities and promotions, salaries – all of those will be attended to and taken care of. As I go back now, I will instruct that all outstanding salaries for this school be paid”, he said.
The governor while pledging his government commitment to address the infrastructural gap in the school said the World Bank and other International organizations were willing to partner the state government by ensuring that the Institution delivers on its mandate.
In his words, “It was out of the dire need to ensure that we build a world class institution to train teachers not only for Edo State but for the whole of West African Sub region. So, the focus is very clear. We will not accept anything that doesn’t meet our standard.
This school has to be a clear departure from what we used to know or what we used to have. And it was deliberately named after one of our icons, one of our sons, who working with General Ogbemudia that time, helped to renew and reposition the educational system of Bendel of which we are all beneficiaries and we all enjoyed.
“Our visit here today, first, is for us to see firsthand what we have on ground and to begin the process of not just getting certification of paper. It is for us to see what we have on ground, understand its location within the community, resolve some of the teeming problems that you are facing, and then agree on a design or plan of action to make sure that we don’t just hurriedly put the school in place but to put a sound institution that we all be proud of and will be an enduring legacy for all of us.”
He assured the people, “I can assure you that we are committed. At the minimum, we will start with three faculties next year, in 2017, and emphasis must be placed on the faculty of industrial and agricultural technology because that is one area we want to begin to train a lot of teachers to make an impact in our goal of creating two hundred thousand jobs for our young people.”
Addressing the students and staff of College of Education, Ekiadolor, Governor Obaseki said with the establishment of Tayo Akpata University of Education in Ekiadolor, the community would be placed on the world map of education and won’t be the same again.
He said, “The kind of university we want to build here is not just for Edo State. We want to build the university to a standard and a level where people from other West African countries will come here to come and attend this school. We know that this community Ekiadolor will not be the same again. The host community can see that it is in their interest to build this university. They must give us all the cooperation we need.”
The Vice-Chancellor, Tayo Akpata University, HRH Prof. Aduwa Ogiegbaen earlier in an address, painted pitiable situation of existing infrastructure at the University and asked the governor to urgently address the challenges and needs of the Institution.
Ogiegbaen, the Duke of Ogbeson Community in Benin, also revealed that there were 8-members of the Governing Council led by its chairman, Barr. Thomas Okosun and himself were the only staff of the University.
He said, “The NUC has agreed in principle to allow the University to commence academic activities in January 2017”.
He also implored governor Obaseki who is the visitor of the University to urgently intervene in critical areas of need of the Institution in line with the NUC requirements ahead of 2017 when the first set of students will be admitted into the school.