With less than ten days to the expiration of the bill for establishment of federal university of technology Ogoja, the Ogoja greater development initiative hosted a world press conference to drive home its appeal to President Buhari to give assent to the bill.
The press conference which held at the women development center Abuja had in attendance sons and daughters of Ogoja with Prof Odey OSHA as their spokesman.
In his address, Prof cited distance from University of Calabar and Land mass as key reasons why Ogoja should get a federal university of technology. “
” It is on record that Ogoja Province has been marginalized, oppressed, and suppressed by the majority ethnic nationalities even by her fellow Calabar Province. Thus, being the only province yet to be excised into a State, the people of the Province since the 1950s have been involved in the agitation for an Ogoja State to address the socio-economic injustices and political emasculation of the area and her people”.
” Ogoja, the Headquarters of Ogoja Province and the Northern Senatorial District of Cross River State, is the only town in the South-South geopolitical zone of Nigeria that is over 340km away from its State capital. Thus, any student from Ogoja or any of the northern local government areas of Cross River State, desirous to access the University of Calabar, Calabar, must travel an average of 360km. The closest Federal University is located in Wukari with a distance of 192km from Ogoja. Nsukka is 256km from Ogoja, and University of Agriculture, Makurdi, 209km. It is instructive to note that the growing spate of insecurity through the routes to these university communities in Benue, Taraba, Ebonyi States threatens the actualization of accessing university education there”.
” Ogoja was promised a university as early as 1975 and surreptitiously shortchanged by the powers that be on the grounds of a minor disagreement between the host communities who have no history of belligerence for several decades to have warranted such an anti-Ogoja decision”.
“Today, we have come of age to ask for what is rightly our own. Ogoja has been greatly marginalized in terms of Federal tertiary education. It is a legitimate demand. States with special needs are given attention and awarded another Federal University. Delta state has a Maritime University, a Petroleum Resources University and now an Admiralty University all powered by the federal government. Bornu state even with Boko Haram just got a Federal University (Nigerian Army University) Biu. Ogoja should not be an exceptOluohu
” Ogoja Province being the only province to realize a State while other provinces have been configured and reconfigured into States, it is evident that, if the 2014 Confab report had sailed through, that golden dream of Ogoja would have materialized. Now, in the absence of an Ogoja State, we demand a Federal University of Technology, Ogoja in a civilized way. Ogoja is the most peaceful senatorial district in Nigeria with no record violent activities since the advent of democracy in 1999″.
Commenting on how the manpower to lecture at the institution would be sourced, Prof OSHA said “Ogoja is blessed with heavy weight in the academia that are willing to relocate to give the university a smooth take off. We can boast of 12 professors in the field of science and Technology presently offering their services all across the country. We have about 23 associate professors in engineering and allied courses that are ready to come home and develop the university. We are indeed ready”.
Responding to the issue of the University of Calabar in the same state being a Federal University, he said “It is on record that government policies are progressive in nature and in line with existing realities. In the mid 80, the government established 4 federal universities of technology located at Minna, Niger state for the North Central, Yola in Adamawa State for the North East, Akure in Ondo state for the South West and Owerri in Imo state for the South East. Today we now have six geo political zone and the south South zone that is the oil belt of Nigeria and the main resources provider does not have a federal university of technology that will supply man power for the Oil and gas industry. Therefore the call for the establishment of Federal university of Technology Ogoja is justifiable to satisfy the yearnings of the people of South South zone for equity, peace and justice”
Comrade Godwin Akoli the leader of GODI in Abuja stressed the fact that Federal university of technology Ogoja if created would bring about” not less than 6000 direct jobs and add to socio-economic activities in Ogoja bringing about development.
Hon Gabriel Bravo Oluohu who recounted his difficulty in having to go all the way to just for his degree said it would encourage intelligent indigent youths in Ogoja to develop their potential.
The Leader of GODI ,Mike Udam summed up the appeal by saying ” our prayer is that you grant the request of the people of Ogoja by giving assent to the Bill seeking the establishment of the FEDERAL UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, OGOJA”