On Tuesday, April 2, 2019, Vice-Chancellors of the 24 Federal, State and Private Universities in South-East Nigeria gathered at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State for a first-of-its-kind crucial meeting.

AE-FUNAI VC. Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba delivering his welcome address

The Vice-Chancellor of AE-FUNAI, and convener of the meeting, Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba, in his welcome address, expressed deep satisfaction over the presence of the Vice-Chancellors, despite their busy schedules. Speaking further, he said the reason for convening the meeting was to find ways of partnering and collaborating with each other in the areas of common interests and challenges facing them.

Cross-section of Vice-Chancellors in the meeting

Prof. Nwajiuba affirmed that though universities have common interests, they have different challenges and these challenges affect private universities the more. He called on the older universities to mentor and support the young ones so as to achieve the much needed result and expectation of our society.“Our idea is to create synergy amongst universities and offer each other assistance where required. Our relationship is complementary (not competitive), we envisage a relationship that includes staff and students exchange, access to facilities including laboratories and workshops, among others. Our collaboration may seek to create avenues for the exchange of research ideas and innovations. This should give room for rigorous academic activities in the South- East, as well as complementary relationships”, he said. He called on the participants to embrace unity and find areas of comparative advantage to assist others.

Cross-section of Vice-Chancellors in the meeting

In his words of encouragement, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, (NUC), Barr. Victor Onuoha, who was present as a special guest, noted that university is about development and as such, no meaningful development has existed on a lone effort. He maintained that Nigerian universities had MoU with universities abroad which hitherto, have not affected the local content and peculiar needs of our universities. He therefore called for synergy amongst the universities to look inward into areas of strength and weaknesses and find ways of assisting one another.

Barr. Victor Onuoha Deputy Executive Secretary NUC making his remarks

He asked the Vice-Chancellors to make available their institutions’ researches to one another and collaborate in areas of teaching by exchanging staff where need be. Barr. Onuoha warned that universities, be it public or private, are not  money spinning organizations, but should find what society stands to benefit and what the graduates stand to offer. He noted that with quality assurance, universities today, are better for it.

He finally called on each university to review its strategic plan and begin to work on it and where they do not have, they should put in place one without further delay, adding that NUC is always ready to assist any university to achieve its goal, once the necessary machineries are put in motion.

Other special guests who also made presentations during the technical session were Prof. Ihechukwu Madubuike, Ex-Minister for Education and former Economic Adviser to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Osita Ogbu, Director of the Institute for Development Studies, University of Nigeria and Dr. Nnenna Nwosu, Director, French Centre, AE-FUNAI.

Prof. Ihechukwu Madubuike, Ex- Minister for Education and former Economic Adviser to the President taking his turn in the tree planting.

While chatting with AE-FUNAI PR Team, some of the Vice- Chancellors expressed excitement at the epoch-making- get- together of the Vice-Chancellors of the South-East Universities and their gratitude to the convener for the vision. They said they are full of expectations that their discussions and subsequent communiqué during the technical session will set the agenda and provide the road map for further actions on the way forward.

The highlight of the historical gathering was tree planting by the Vice-Chancellors in solidarity and support of the AE-FUNAI Vice-Chancellor’s Green Initiative towards realizing the “Campus in a Garden” vision.

Barr. Victor Onuoha taking part in the tree planting

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