AKPABIO'S N50M DONATION JUMPSTARTS UNN'S ENDOWMENT QUEST
Governor Godswill Akpabio
Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State has jumpstarted the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) Endowment Fund with the donation of N50 million to fund capital projects in response to the institution appeal. He made the donation at the convocation of the UNN soon after he received an honorary doctorate degree in Law. The university also honoured Governor Ibrahim Danjuma Goje with the PhD honoris causa in Public Administration.
Governor Akpabio was particularly excited because of the historical significance of the award conferred on him by the university. As a member of the Eastern Nigeria House of Assembly, the governor's uncle, Mr. E.U. Akpabio moved the motion for the establishment of the university in 1957. UNN took off on October 7, 1960 as the first indigenous university in Nigeria awarding its own degrees from inception. Godswill Akpabio, who earned his degree in Law from the University of Calabar, was thus excited to be associated with UNN and expressed his delight to be part of its history.
The governor promised to help the university with ongoing hostel upgrade and refurbishment by paying special attention to Akpabio Hall, one of the oldest hostels in the school, named after his late uncle.
In his address, Vice Chancellor, Professor Bartho Okolo had declared the resolve of the institution to set up general and specific endowments to fund capital and research projects in order to reduce dependence on government subvention and also to drive its vision of building a 21st Century global centre of learning.
Professor Okolo added: 'more than ever before, the University of Nigeria is set on a course of revisiting and building on the great vision that birthed this institution as a forerunner in various areas of academics in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa. We request the co-operation and collaboration of all stakeholders in this mission to reposition and restructure the University of Nigeria as a global centre of learning.
'Our vision is large and we need enormous resources in materials, men and goodwill to achieve it and to extend the vision of the founding fathers.'
'The size and scope of our vision calls for fresh approaches to the issue of resource mobilisation and management.
The University of Nigeria seeks endowments from corporate or institutional donors as well as our able alumni to fund various aspects of our operations going forward. Our goal is to gradually reduce dependence on subvention, which despite the best efforts of government is often not enough, and generate the resources necessary to match our vision.'
The Vice Chancillor said while the general UNN endowment fund seeks to provide funding for capital projects, 'opportunity exists for restricted or dedicated endowments to fund specific areas within our institution. UNN pioneered many subject areas in higher education in Nigeria and Africa. We need these endowments to attract the highest calibre faculty and administrative staff and other resource persons to compete in the globalised academic environment of today.'
Prof. Okolo then appealed for the support of corporate bodies, institutions and funding agencies. 'Come and endow professorships, scholarships and fellowships. We would be glad to partner with various companies to match our needs with their corporate social responsibility aspirations in the interest of academic excellence and service to Nigeria,' he stated.
The UNN VC revealed that the vision behind the fund was to build a university that would meet the challenges of the globalised teaching and learning environment for the 21st Century.
Prof. Okolo stated: 'The vision of this administration is to work collaboratively with the leadership and all relevant stakeholders to place the University of Nigeria in the forefront of research and development, innovation, knowledge creation and knowledge transfer, human resource development, and community service, while promoting the core values which will ensure the restoration of the dignity of man.'