RSG To Build Convocation Arena In UniPort, As V-C Lauds Wike's Assistance For WAUG By Williams Wodi


More cheering news has come the way of the University of Port Harcourt following a pledge by the Government of Rivers State to build a brand new Convocation Arena that would befit the image of the University. Governor Nyesom Wike made the promise when he received a high-powered delegation comprising the Main Organising Committee of the just-concluded West African University Games (WAUG-UniPort 2018) and Principal Officers of the University led by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ndowa Lale on a courtesy visit to the Governor at the Government House, Port Harcourt.

The WAUG delegation was led by its President, Professor Kingsley Akpabio, Secretary-General, Dr. Anthony Tetteh-Opai and ECOWAS Commissioner, Kennedy Barsisa. 

The visit took place at the Executive Council Chambers of Government House on Saturday, November 3, 2018. Governor Wike promised to construct a befitting Convocation Arena in his alma mater. He regretted the absence of such a critical facility in the University of Port Harcourt which was established since 1975. “The University deserves a befitting Convocation Arena and I am urging the authorities to present a proper design and cost implication of the proposed Convocation Arena to the State Government for further action,” Governor Wike said. He directed the Commissioner of Education, Dr. Tamunosisi Gogo-Jaja to drive the process to fruition and report back to him within the specified deadline.

The Governor also directed the Commissioner to take immediate steps to connect electricity and water supply to the Elechi Amadi Faculty of Humanities completed by the Rivers State Government. “I am very surprised that the Faculties of Law and Social Sciences Annex are yet to be completed, despite the fact that as the then Coordinating Minister of Education, I ensured that funding was made available for that purpose. I wish to assure the Management that the Rivers State Government will continue to support the growth of the University of Port Harcourt within available resources. I am very happy that the West African University Games is being hosted by the University of Port Harcourt in our State. This sports event shows that Rivers State is not only peaceful, but secured and conducive for business operators, tourists and residents,” Governor Wike said.

Briefing the Governor on the essence of the visit, Professor Lale disclosed that it was meant to introduce members of the Main Organising Committee of the 14th West African University Games to him. The Vice-Chancellor expressed gratitude to the Governor for assisting the University to host a spectacular event that was adjudged very successful by the participating teams, officials and visitors.

“I wish to place it on record that the games would have been a total failure if not for the intervention of the Rivers State Government. Your Excellency also helped us to escape heavy sanctions that would have been imposed on us by WAUG officials if the University of Port Harcourt failed to host the regional sports fiesta. Let me also commend the Rivers State Government for several infrastructural interventions in the University of Port Harcourt over the years. On a personal note, let me passionately appeal to Your Excellency to kindly approve the construction of a befitting Convocation Arena for the University so that I too would be a beneficiary of the Governor's trademark benevolence in infrastructural development,” Professor Lale said.

Professor Lale expressed gratitude to Governor Wike for intervening in the dispute between the University and the Rivers State Board of Internal Revenue that almost resulted in the closure of the institution for alleged failure to remit staff PAYE deductions to the State Government. He appealed to the Rivers State Government to grant permission for the University to use the abandoned primary school building being constructed by the State Government to host the International Institute of Trade and Development which is currently operating from a temporary site. 

The West African University Games held between Wednesday, October 31 and Saturday, November 10, 2018 at the Sports Centre, University Park.


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