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Esimone’s one year in saddle: UNIZIK guns for excellence (II)

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INFORMATION Communication Technology (ICT): The university’s internet bandwidth has been significantly increased with internet 3-STM-1, thus increasing internet accessibility in the Awka campus, Nnewi campus (Okofia), the Agulu premises and the Teaching Hospital. Phased internal distribution to operating units is in progress and was planned to be completed by the end of March, 2020, but for the sad interruption of COVID-19. Already, the nagging internet connectivity problem in the university library has been resolved.

  We have installed the capacity for virtual meetings of management, and meetings with federal government agencies, and stakeholders all over the world. The decision to install this capacity antedated the advent of COVID-19 which has in retrospect justified the decision and actions.

  Online applications have been deployed to enable more efficient management of the vice-chancellor’s schedule and time.

The use of the university’s e-mail addresses has become pervasive, with all staff and students being assigned e-mail address, thus facilitating communication.

  Boosting internally generated revenue: Discussions are on-going with a number of companies that have shown interest in the building a commercially-oriented Industrial Park in the university. As envisaged, this park would completely be manned by students for hands-on industrial training, under the supervision of the participating company and the university.

  Other projects with profit yielding potentials: the International Standard Organization reference laboratory at Agulu; the PPP specialised laboratory at Awka, the Industrial Park and the Zoological Garden have been reported elsewhere in this document. When all or some of these come on stream, the internally generated revenue capacity of the university would be tremendously bolstered.

  The University Business Venture has been reorganised to engage in meaningful profit yielding ventures, in partnership with other companies, were necessary.

  Infrastructure: Efforts have been sustained on projects inherited from the previous administrations; some of these have now been completed, while the percentage of completion of others has been significantly advanced. At the same time, contracts have been awarded for some new projects. Our infrastructural development efforts are summarised below:

  Inherited projects completed: Construction of Engineering Workshop Building: taken over at 55% completion. Construction of Engineering Laboratory Block: taken over at 45% completion. External Works/Minor finishings completed:500 seating capacity Lecture/Examination Hall (option 1). 500 seating capacity Lecture/Examination Hall (option 1 Repeat), 500 seating capacity Lecture/Examination Hall (option , 500 seating capacity Lecture/Examination Hall (option 3),500 seating capacity Lecture/Examination Hall (option 4), 500 seating capacity Lecture/Examination Hall (option 4 Repeat).

  Inherited projects whose stages of completion have

been advanced: Construction of access road From the Works Department to the University Library Junction: Advanced from 45% completion to 80% completion. Construction of University Medical Centre: Advanced from 23% to 95% completion. Construction of Sporting Facilities: Advanced from 73% to 75% completion. Construction of Classroom for Demonstration Primary School: Advanced from 45% to 75% completion. Construction of TETFund sponsored Lecture Halls for Engineering: Advanced from 35% to 70% completion.

Students’ Hostel Type ‘A’ at Awka: moved from 79% to 84% completion. Students’ Hostel Type ‘D’ at Awka: moved from70% to 75% completion.

  Students’ Hostel Type ‘A’ at College of Health Sciences, Akamili Nnewi: Advanced from 46% to 55% completion.

  Faculty Building for Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Nnewi: Advanced from 94% to 96% completion.

Work has advanced on the International Conference Centre being funded and executed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)

  Discussion has been started with the contractor handling the stalled Mini-Stadium Project with a view to re-starting the project.

Construction of JUPEB Building: Advanced from 32% to 48% completion.

  Completion of Access Road from the Banking Plaza Junction to after GTB, including parking lots to the Multipurpose Hall for Education: Advanced from 32% to 40% completion.

Construction of Drive/Access Road at Ifite Ogwari: Advanced from7% to 30% completion. 

  Projects started and completed: Modernisation of the Council Chamber to world-class standard, creation of a modernised Vice-Chancellor’s Conference Room, modernisation of the offices of Principal Officers and some Directors.

  Supply of laboratory equipment and furniture to the Faculties of Biosciences, Physical Sciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Health Sciences and Technology.

  Supply and installation of teaching aids and equipment to the Faculty of Agriculture.

  Supply and installation of studio equipment and teaching aids to the Faculty of Environmental Sciences.

  Supply of teaching aids to the Faculties of Education, Arts, and Social Sciences.

  Remodeling of the following students’ hostels to en-suite rooms for improved sanitation: Basil Oli, Dora Akunyili, Stella Okoli, and Hostel E.

  New projects just commenced: Supply and installation of laboratory equipment for Engineering Workshop.

  Construction of laboratory building at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Agulu premises to house an International Standard Organisation Certified Standard Reference Laboratory: currently at foundation stage.

  Construction of faculty building for Faculty of Social Sciences.

Review of the University Master plan.

  Construction of departmental building for the Department of Psychology.

  Construction of faculty building for the Faculty of Education, Wing B.

  Construction of departmental building and Training Centre for the Department of Vocational Education.

  Resolution of the land dispute at the College of Health Sciences, Okofia, Nnewi: The continuation and the completion of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) funded students’ hostel at the College of Health Sciences, Okofia, Nnewi, had been stalled for some years by the imbroglio over ownership, within the Nnewi community, of the land on which the building is situate, which land had been earlier donated to the university by the selfsame Nnewi community.

  It is gladdening to report that, following the intervention of some notable Nnewi citizens, the impasse has be resolved and that construction work has resumed.

  Resolution of the land dispute with the Amansea community: Efforts have commenced and tremendous progress made towards resolving the long lingering land dispute with the Amansea community.

  Laurels won by the students: Students of the university won laurels in the competitions listed below:

Hackathon Competition, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 5th –11th December, 2019.

  This competition was organised by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, through its Centre for Lion Gadgets and Technology. The intent was to ignite a spirit of innovative enterprise in universities and tertiary institutions students by challenging them to solve real problems of society. The task for each competing team was to construct from scratch and intelligent energy meter capable of controlling and preventing energy mismanagements in universities. Of the nine teams that competed Nnamdi Azikiwe University emerged third (3rd).

  21st National Conference and Competition of the National Association of Mathematics Science Students of Nigeria: 10th – 14th November, 2010 Nnamdi Azikiwe University emerged first in the male 400m relay race and the male 100 metre race, second in the mathematics science competition and runner up in the male football competition.

  In the election that was held as part of the event, a student of the university was elected National President of the Association, while another was elected as South-East Coordinator.

(c)           Nigerian University Karate Championship, University of Benin, Benin City: 15th – 19th December, 2019

The University won four medals: two silver and two bronze at this competition.

(d)          South-East University Games (SEUGA), Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State 16th – 21st December, 2019. The university’s female football team won the gold medal

  The challenges: Funding has continued to be a nagging problem of the university, dating back to its days as the Awka and Nnewi Campuses of a state university, the Anambra State University of Technology, through its take-over by the federal government in 1992, then classified as a second generation university, without commensurate infrastructure, without a take-off grant, as was the practice, to date. In the face of this, various administrations of the university have struggled to bridge the federal government funding gap through internally generated revenue. This effort is however constrained ab initio, by education being essentially a social service. This financial handicap notwithstanding, our administration shall continue to make the most prudent use of the funds available to the university.

 Human Capacity: Before my assumption of office as Vice-Chancellor, I had become aware, from the various academic and administration positions I had held, that manpower/human capacity in the university in terms of competences: academic, technical and administrative expertise and the willingness to work without goading posed certain degree of challenges. That was why my Project 200 had as one of its tenets a human capacity development plan hinged on a strategic Human Capacity Development Roadmap (SHCDR). My experience in the past one year has convinced me that this human capacity challenge is more acute than I had thought and made me firmly resolved to pursue the strategic Human Capacity Development Roadmap with a determination to produce work-performances at all levels needed to actualize Project 200.

  Fostering academic culture: Academic culture is understood to be the corpus of values, attitudes, behaviour patterns, etc, shared by staff members in a university. It connotes collegiality, the interaction of staff and the respect for each others’ contributions to the system; commitment to scholarship and research, in collaborative efforts where necessary; commitment to students’ development; commitment to teaching-learning; respect for and commitment to diversity/plurality.

  The foregoing attributes of academic culture juxtaposed with the realities of Nnamdi Azikiwe University convinces one that what obtains in the university is at best floundering academic culture; yet a university without a sound academic culture will find it difficult to excel. Our administration thus has the arduous task of stimulating the growth of academic culture in the university particularly as it can neither be prescribed nor taught but only imbibed, through acculturation and mentor-mentee relationships.

  The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) national strike and COVID-19: The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) national strike, aggravated by the coterminous, COVID-19 has stymied the operations of the university, resulting in the loss of valuable time in the pursuit of Project 200. Yet we are confident that once both are over the interruptions occasioned by them will be like a fillip to our efforts in the drive to actualise Project 200.

  The years ahead: In my first year in office we had laid the foundation of our administration, commenced immediately with the execution of aspects of Project 200 and published the Project 200 Handbook, the blueprint for the implementation of Project 200. Indeed we hit the ground running, so to speak.

  In the years ahead, we shall consolidate on this auspicious beginning; the Project 200 Handbook shall be applied fastidiously as a roadmap in the quest for the attainment of Project 200 and as an evaluation parameter for assessing progress on Project 200, by the university as a whole and individual departments and units; we shall redouble efforts to attract benefactors and vision helpers.

  We are convinced that with an undaunting faith in God and His omnipotence, we shall surely get to the destination: Project 200.

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