DRAFT 2024 BUDGET SPEECH, BY H.E. GODWIN OBASEKI

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Obaseki engages AAU, Ekpoma community, to constitute Governing Council in 90 days

15 Mar 2023

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L-R: Onojie of Ewu, His Royal Highness, Abdurasaq Isesele Ojiefo; Onojie of Ekpoma, His Royal Highness, Anthony Abumere II, and the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, during the commissioning of the new administrative building at the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, in Esan West Local Government Area of Edo State on Thursday, March 16, 2023.

…performs groundbreaking ceremony for ultra-modern admin block, classrooms for AAU Secondary School The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Thursday, met with the Ambrose Alli University (AAU) community, with an ultimatum to the Special Intervention Team (SIT) to wind up its activities within the next 90 days and pave way for the constitution of a Governing Council for the state-owned tertiary institution.

The governor during an interactive session with the University community, in Ekpoma, Esan West Local Government Area of the State, said the government remains committed to repositioning the University to meet global standards.

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Obaseki said, “The Special Intervention Team came into the institution because things were not okay. Before they came, the University owed over half a billion naira. The SIT wants to leave with a structure that will propel the University to make progress.

“We brought people who had nothing to do with the University to formally look at the laws, review them and get a new Governing Council to move the University forward. Reforms are not easy. “There were problems and challenges in this school and as the Governor, I never ran away from the problems or challenges so I faced them squarely. I am trying to solve these problems to move it forward and make AAU a great school. I want to help you rebuild this school and make it great.”

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He added, “The SIT was brought into AAU to reorganize the institution and reposition it well, making it reclaim its glory and meet the dreams of its founding fathers, who set up the institution 42 years ago.

“The team was a temporary arrangement to reset, put things right in the proper way, and wind up within the next 90 days. It will hand over to a properly inaugurated Governing Council of the institution. We have a law now in the State House of Assembly which is undergoing amendment and it will guide the new Council.”

The governor further noted, “There have been agitation and complaints and as a responsible government, we have to be here today to listen and see how to resolve the issues threatening the existence and progress of the University.

“Within a few years of establishing the University, it has produced great minds and great Nigerians. We are working hard to ensure the dreams of the founding fathers are not destroyed. The problems in this University have been on for decades. I have a predecessor in office who instead of solving the problems of AAU, decided to establish another institution in his own village.

“I was advised to set up another institution in Edo South and I said no, that I will face the challenges and resolve the issues facing AAU. I am a stakeholder in AAU and it must be restored to the dreams of the founding fathers.  It will become the pride of the Esan and Edo people.”

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Urging the people not to politicize ongoing reforms in the state-owned institution, Obaseki said, "When you politicize an institution of this nature, those that are worst hit are the students that go through that institution.  Let us separate politics from the problems of the University and try to fix the challenges moving forward. “Reforms are not easy but they help position the system and help move it forward. I am here to assure you that your governor wants to help you rebuild this school, trust me. I am a governor that retrains people not retrench people and take them out of work; anything you give me is to be nurtured.” “As a governor, I am interested in ensuring that the issues causing the problems in the Institution are resolved. There must be a way for harmony if not the University would find it difficult to make progress,” the governor added.

On his part, the Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of the University (ASUU), AAU Chapter, Dr. Cyril Onogbosele thanked the governor and his entourage for the visit and commitment to resolving the issues threatening the existence and progress of the University. He further hailed the governor for intervening in the purported sack of two of their members.

Also, the Onojie of Ekpoma, His Royal Highness (HRH), Anthony Ehizojie added, “I appeal to you sir, to jack up the subvention of the institution to enable the management to address challenges facing it.”

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The governor was also at Ihumudumu Road in Ekpoma for the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of an ultra-modern administrative block/classrooms for Ambrose Alli University Secondary School.

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