AN ADDRESS OF WELCOME PRESENTED TO THE PRESIDENT,FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA BY PROFESSOR KALU BRIGHT OKEKE(F.ENG) AT THE ALHAJI LIMAN MOHAMMED HALL ON THE OCCASION OF THE PRESIDENT’S FIRST VISIT TO MICHAEL OKPARA UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE,UMUDIKE ON 30TH NOVEMBER,2009.
Mr President Sir
Your Excellency, the Governor of Abia state,
All other protocols dully observed.
Posterity will record that history was made today, when the president of federal republic of Nigeria, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua visited us in this university.
The entire universities are particularly happy to welcome Mr. President Sir, it is in recognition of the uniqueness of this occasion and the great esteem in which you are held in the university, that the governing council and the senate of the university have resolved to convene a special occasion today in your honor.
I welcome all the distinguished members of your entourage who are gracing the occasion .Furthermore, Mr. president, my university is indebted to the Governor of the state, Chief Dr T.A. Orji who kindly agreed to accommodate within your crowded itinery,a visit to his university.
More to that, we in this university have followed your progress with keen interest, and cannot help noticing your deep sense of commitment to the task of finding solutions to the problems of this country. We are confident that with your stand on rule of law and sense of justice, air play and equal opportunity for all citizens of this country.In your quest for university development which has already taken great strides following your tireless effort, under immense presence, to restore a great measure of autonomy of our university. Above all, our confidence in the statutory machinery of universities for their internal self governance. Your recent events in our university circle will stand out as a great landmark.
However, it is not left out of your swift response to the cries of our universities for better funding. Although our complain will continue to linger, I believe I will be speaking the mind of other Nigerian universities, if I say that the entire Nigerian university system is grateful to your administration for this visible signs.
Mr. President, it will be absurd not to acquaint you with some challenges which we are facing in this university and crave your indulgence to mention some of them.
Firstly, the university which was founded in 1991 has received little or no assistance from the federal government even though been a federal institution. There are no good qualities of a university, if it has no accessible road leading to the different nooks and crannies of the university. The sight of the roads in the school is an eyesore and a death-trap to the university community.
Secondly, Mr. President, we all believe that growth is the increase in Size. The University has stunted in terms of development and size. The lecture halls which were meant for only a thousand students now take more than two (2) times the original capacity as a result, it makes learning ineffective as many students will be left out.
In addition to that, there is no enough residential accommodation for the students as students travel as far as two (2) miles to get an accommodation thereby endangering the lives of the students that are concerned.
More to that Mr. president, it is true of a general saying that all play and no work makes jack a lazy boy, also all work without a play makes the same jack a dull boy. The university is calling for your help in sitting a recreation park which will help the mental development of students.mr president sir; do you care to know that a federal university of ours cannot boast of a standard football pitch? Mr. President Sir, the need for a residence for the staff of the university is pivotal. A piece of undeveloped land has been acquired some years back, but due to lack of funds, the piece of land remains undeveloped ,much to our embarrassment and discomfort of our staff. We thank you sir ,that you make a special allocation of housing unit to this university, with its rural setting in order to bring about a much needed relief to the various categories of the toiling staff of the university. We on our parts are doing our best .you will find out that in spite of our difficulties, and all odds, this university has made substantial contributions to the progress of this nation generally. We have produced high-level and skilled manpower among who are making waves around the globe. Our graduate stands at two thousand (2000) students per annum.
Moreover, a postgraduate training course is in course to start in the next few months which when completed will help face challenges of your administration.mr president sir, it will interest you to know that as a university of agriculture, food mechanization is our top priority to meet one of your 7-point agenda which is agriculture. Our agricultural mechanization programme will kick off in earnest which when completed will assist to check mate food sustainability. We as a university community ask that you help us through appropriate funding, to make good job of our assignment which we consider very important for this country.
In conclusion and on behalf of the governing council of this university and its senate, I want to thank you Mr. President, for the great honor you have done to this university through this visit of yours. The unavoidable presence of the chairman of our council, Mr. R.K. OGUNBOYO Is deeply felt but his apologies to you I convey and to pledge on his behalf the support and good wishes of himself, the Governing council and the senate of this university.
Finally Mr. president, your excellencies, honorable ministers and commissioners, your lordships, honorable members of houses, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for your patience and interest you have shown in the fortunes of this university which by its noble ideas, symbolizes the sustainer of our agricultural need of food security.
Professor Kalu Bright Okeke (F.ENG)