By Ben Nwanne
The Faculty of Arts, Delta State University, Abraka (DELSU) has relocated to its ultra modern three-floor complex in the main campus in compliance with the earlier directive by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andy Egwunyenga that the faculty must resume the 2023/2024 academic session in the new building.
At the time of the directive, it seemed impossible as the building was in a terrible state of disrepair having been abandoned for many years. Goaded by the Vice-Chancellor’s directive and determined to make the best of a seemingly bad situation, the Dean of Arts, Professor Nelson Edewor took the gauntlet and mobilized his staff and students to the task at hand. With all the hands on the plough, it is not surprising that the faculty achieved a seamless move to its promise land. It has provided an opportunity for all the departments in the faculty to be together under one roof, unlike when they were scattered at different locations in campuses 2 and 3.
Welcoming the Vice-Chancellor to the occasion, the Dean of Arts, Professor Nelson Edewor recalled that the movement commenced on November 1, 2023 and was almost completed on 16 November when the Vice-Chancellor paid an inspection visit.
In a very well organized reception for the University Executive Officer, the Dean observed that having moved into the complex had given them the opportunity to see its strengths and weaknesses. Among others, he requested assistance to provide more boreholes, boost electricity supply, have more lecture halls, especially for general courses, and add more modern furniture to improve the level of comfort for staff and students. The Dean noted that apart from the ground floor which has burglary proofs, the other floors are unprotected. He expressed immense gratitude to the Vice-Chancellor, whose administration had done much to expedite movement to the new location, adding that it would take another two to three years.
Speaking in the same vein, a former Dean of Arts and former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor (Mrs) Grace Ogwu, expressed appreciation to the Vice-Chancellor for his impressive effort in facilitating the movement to the new site. She observed that the movement had engendered a feeling of togetherness among staff and students of the different departments who were hitherto in different locations, adding that the present arrangement was good for the administration of the faculty.
On his part, Professor Emurobeme Idolor of Music Department said that the Vice-Chancellor’s visit showed the love he had for the faculty. He was particularly happy with the August visitor for not being an arm chair administrator who would not go out to see things for himself. He expressed high optimism that the Chief Executive Officer would do all he had promised, going by his track record.
In a solidarity message, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Ochuko Anomohanran expressed joy at the completion and habitation of the edifice, describing it as a ‘’dream come true’’. He lauded the Vice-Chancellor for his result-oriented leadership. According to him: ‘’this building could not have reached this level but for his influence and excellent public relations. This is what we call development, i.e. using your influence to get things done by ensuring that good things come to the people’’.
Speaking at the occasion, Professor Egwunyenga paid glowing tributes to the founding fathers of the project, especially Professor Okpako Enaohwo who started the project but apparently could not see it to fruition due to paucity of funds. A silver lining seemed to have appeared on the sky when a staff of the university, Professor Patrick Muoboghare, a known ASUU activist, was appointed Commissioner for Higher Education who persuaded the Delta State Government to take over the project.
He commended staff and students of the faculty for their hard work and commitment to the project adding that as pioneers, their lot was to set example for others to follow. He assured them that the teething problems of the new faculty building would be overcome; promising that a higher proportion of the University’s internally generated revenue would be used for infrastructural development in the next year. He urged the faculty and the departments to follow suit, irrespective of the size of their internally generated revenue.
The Vice-Chancellor was obviously persuaded about the need for water and electricity in the huge complex. He promised to provide additional boreholes and possibly enhance power supply through a special arrangement with the Power Holding Company of Nigeria in the next few months.
In order to have a first hand feel of the new location which is being enhanced in all ways possible, including grassing, filling pot holes, decorations of different types, the Vice-Chancellor and his entourage spent over two hours interacting with staff and students, carrying out a hands-on assessment of facilities and the environment generally. Not leaving anything to chance, he inspected offices, lecture rooms/halls, the Professor Bruce Onabrekpeya Gallery and even the conveniences.