The traditional ruler of Umunze community in Orumba South Local Government Area, Anambra State, His Royal Highness, Igwe Promise Ezeh has urged the newly reconstituted Governing Council of the Federal College of Education (Technical) Umunze to work diligently to upgrade the College to a university. He said the College has sufficient manpower, infrastructure and land mass to become the first University of Education (Technical) in the south east geopolitical zone.
Igwe Ezeh made the appeal when members of the 7th Governing Council led by the Chairman, Hon Sekav Iyortyom, paid him a courtesy visit to his palace, to familiarise themselves with him on their arrival in the College for their first Council meeting. Other members of the Governing Council include: Danmalila Ibrahim Gidan-Goga, Hon Ibara Otobo, Owoseni Ayodeji Oluwaseun, the representative of the Federal Ministry of Education, Mrs Lilian Haruna and the representative of the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), Mr Godwin Oahimire. Others include the Secretary to the Council, Dr Augustine Udensi, the representatives of the College Academic Board, Dr Christopher Ugwuogo and Dr Gertrude Ifeyinwa Udegbe, as well as the representative of the Alumni Association, Mrs Laeticia Ugwu.
While receiving the Council members along with members of his cabinet, Igwe Ezeh, also known as Abilikete II of Umunze, said the College has grown in pedigree with its affiliation with the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka for running degree programme, and called on the relevant authorities to facilitate the process of making it a full-fledged university. He said the College occupies vast hectares of land donated by the host community, and assured that the community would provide all the needed support to make the institution a university.
Abilikete urged the federal government not to allow desperate politicians to hijack the location of universities, noting that such decisions must be guided by due process and academic merit. He described Umunze as a peaceful community, noting that the host community has maintained a very cordial relationship with the College over the years.
In his response, the Chairman, 7th Governing Council, Hon Iyortyom, commended the traditional ruler and the host community for the amicable relationship with the institution. He expressed gladness that the community has been a peaceful abode for students and staff of the institution. He promised that the newly reconstituted council under his leadership would work harmoniously with the College management to move the institution forward.
Also speaking, the Provost, Dr Tessy Okoli, noted that the new Council members have commenced work in earnest, and expressed confidence that they would work assiduously for the development of the College. She further assured the host community that the Governing Council and College Management would continue to pursue developmental projects that would elevate the institution to enviable heights.
In a related development, members of the College Governing Council proved their readiness to work when they flagged off the new farming season in the College on their second day of arrival.
The Council Chairman called for the return of green revolution that would ensure massive food production in the country. He said the diversification of the nation’s economy through agriculture would bolster development and guarantee food security in the country.
Hon Iyortyom commended the College for the 16 hectares of land already cultivated in the first phase of the farming season. He noted that the College has keyed into the agricultural policy of the present administration to ensure massive food production for local consumption and export.
The Provost, Dr Okoli, said the College encourages staff to farm as an income yielding venture. She said over 500 staff of the College participate in farming activities annually in the institution, noting that the College would soon institute an agricultural exhibition programme.
Dr Okoli, who worked with the FADAMA Project of the World Bank, said the College introduced other agricultural projects like piggery, poultry, fish farm and feed mill, to increase its internally generated revenue. She said the College farm exposes students to innovative agricultural activities as part of their practical training, and as well encourages them to see the vast opportunities in agribusiness.
While conducting members of the Governing Council round hectares of farmland, the Farm Manager, Dr Nwike Matthew, explained that the participating staff farmers have been taught modern agronomic practices to enhance their yields and income. According to him, such practices include proper land preparation using tractor, use of organic manure, improved varieties of seed, fertilizers and agrochemicals for weed control. In addition to these, the College also helps the staff farmers to reduce the cost of production through the use of tractor.