A bill for the amendment of Crutech establishment act has passed second reading.
The member representing Ogoja State Constituency and Majority Leader of the 9th Cross River State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Peter Odey, said the amendment seeks to widen the scope of the University and protect it from losing some of its departments ,following a new policy by the Nigerian University commission (NUC) .
Newsannexonline Correspondents ,Erik Ogar and Jeffery Omokhodion had an exclusive chat with Honorable Peter Odey about the bill and its implications on the Ogoja people.
Newsannexonline: The change from Crutech to Unicross would seem a little abrupt to the common man , can you please enlighten us on the necessity of this change
Hon.Peter Odey :The truth of the matter is that I’m surprised that people are just looking at name change
The name of a university is nothing
But it is the consequence that comes with it
There’s a new NUC regulation that a university of Technology is only meant to offer courses that are technology inclined
For example Mass Communication had to change its name to department of information Technology in order to scale through the accreditation process
I represent Ogoja and School of Management is in Ogoja
All those campuses will be phased out by 2020 because the school cannot offer management courses, something needs to be done and what needs to be done is simple
Change it to Cross River State University .By so doing, it doesn’t stop them from doing technology courses but it allows them to continue carrying out the other courses
In a nutshell it is creating an expansion for the university so that they can offer courses like Law , medicine and surgery E.t.c
For example competition in University of Calabar is high , we’re giving intending candidates another option.
Cross river state is not the only state that has done it , Rivers state used to have RSUST but because of the same problem they changed it to Rivers state university
We’re not changing the name because we don’t like it but because of what comes with it .
Newsannexonline: Given the enormity of the project Do you consider it plausible that the Unicross project be completed before the end of your term?
Hon. Peter Odey: Hopefully. I hope that if we can pass the bill .
It has gone through the second reading and in a couple of days we have the public hearing .
We have received input of people who went to Unicross before who don’t want it to bear the name Unicross because it means they went to the former polytechnic
It can bear Cross River state university and not University of Cross River state .
Secondly ,if by Gods grace His Excellency signs the bill, we’re looking at changing it by January and then we should be able to provide funding through the budget to take care of the expansion
Newwsannexonline: What do you think the long term effect of this project on the states educational sector will be?
Hon. Peter Odey: The long term effect is simple , we’ll have more professionals than we have today . If we have law for example and Unical produces 70 lawyers and Crutech produces 30
That’s 30 more lawyers than we originally have .
For instance if you take a new faculty to Ogoja or Yala, it’ll help the economy of the place, people just look at name change they don’t consider the benefits it comes with
Newsannexonline: Besides the obvious, what do the Ogoja people stand to benefit from the success of this project
Hon.Peter Odey : Like I said , you can’t pretend that the presence of the faculty’s in Ogoja has not helped the economy there, people renting their houses and building hostels around the area and it is causing growth.
If you take the Faculty of law to where Ntol secondary school was , all the buildings there are completely gone , there would be more buildings for the community .
Even the people who sell in school , we won’t bring them from another state they’re going to be Ogoja people so it’s going to help people around there. it will create employment it’s going to help academics , help infrastructure and bring about development.
Newsannexonline: What can the people do to support this project and make it materialize and become a reality
Hon.Peter Odey: What they can do is support the bill, I’m not doing it for personal gain , I’m doing it because I want Ogoja to be better and I want cross river state to be better . Almost all the schools are here in calabar why not we move them to the north , a lot of people who want to do their masters who can’t come to calabar they’ll stay in Ogoja and do their masters . We’re looking at the long term benefits not just today’s gain
Newsannexonline:There have been several complaints about the Tuition fee for Crutech being exorbitant, is Unicross going to be more affordable.
Hon.Peter Odey: To be honest that’s a different issue entirely even though a lot of the reports we’ve gotten from the public touched the issue , we all know a state university would not pay the same as a Federal university. Presently , university of calabar pays less because they have more students , maybe if we have more students we might bring down the fee , we’re looking at that but we’ve not considered that whilst passing this bill but it’s a possibility.
Newsannexonline: What’s next for the Ogoja people
Hon.Peter Odey :What’s next is what has always been , we’re trying to leave Ogoja better than it is right now, we’re not unaware of the situation right now
We’re not unaware of the crime , hardship , dilapidated infrastructure or anything
What we’re trying to do as lawmakers is to make laws that will help the security situation in Ogoja
Make laws that will empower the farmers
Make laws that will enable people live peacefully in Ogoja
That’s what we do everyday and that’s what we’ll keep doing
And I pray that at the end of my term in three years we will leave Ogoja better than it is
Newsannexonline: Given your passion for serving your people would you consider serving them on a higher platform
Hon.Peter Odey:I have not considered that , I have not and that’s the truth of the matter .I’m only focused on discharging the mandate that has been given to me and if I discharge the mandate to the benefit of the Ogoja people and an opportunity comes up in the future, I’m not saying in 2023 and the people still want my services why not?
I came here to serve and I’ll keep serving the Ogoja people until I get tired .
But I’ve always said my kind of politics is that I don’t think about the next election I think about the next generation, I’m thinking about the next Ogoja youth that will benefit from this education, I’m thinking about that Ogoja child yet unborn that will grow up to know that there’s a university he can go to within his town he doesn’t need to go to calabar , that’s what I think about .
Newsannexonline : Given your vision for Crutech is there any need for Futog ?
Hon. Peter Odey: Absolutely, there is need for Futog and even another university in Ogoja , you know why?
Because they will all create employment they will all make Ogoja a better place
Anyone who is not in support of it is either not informed or is a witch
I’m absolutely in support of it
In Calabar there is more than one university and they are not conflicting if anything it’s helping calabar as it is .
Futog is also going to employ Ogoja people
So if it comes glory be to God
It’s for the Good of Ogoja people
I expect Ogoja people to be happy
I even expect them to surrender their land and accept it
If you go to Ogoja today you’ll see the state capital, Ogoja that is supposed be
you’ll see that apart from igoli most places are still a rural area
If we have universities that will open up the system and foster development why would anyone discourage it