THE PITIABLE STATE OF FEDERAL COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, EHA-AMUFU
Main gate of the college
From the gate which looks quite old and uncared for to the school environment which lacked the bustling activities of a modern-day institution of higher learning, the Federal College of Education, Eha Amufu, established in 1980, remains a study in neglect. With a population of about 5000 students, it was originally set up as a state college of education under the administration of Chief Jim Nwobodo.
The school set up to produce teachers for secondary schools in the Old Anambra State, which today comprises Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi, later changed its name from Eha-Amufu College of Education to the Federal College of Education, Eha-Amufu, following its takeover by the Federal Government.
But other than that change of name, nothing much has changed especially, in terms of infrastructural development. Apart from the poor state of infrastructure, the college is almost isolated, having been virtually cut off from the outside world by impassable roads. The Nkalagu-Nsukka road linking the college from both Enugu and Nsukka is in a sorry state.
It is such that Prof. Ibrahim James, the chair of the seven-man federal visitation panel to polytechnics and colleges of education currently on a one-month official tour to the college recently joked in an interaction with newsmen that the team which has been shuttling between the school and Enugu has procured enough pain-reliever to take care of the effect of headache that would could ensue from traveling on the road.
The Provost of the college, Prof. Ben Mbah, was quick to add however that had Governor Sullivan Chime not intervened by reconstructing one of the major roads that lead to the school, the situation would have been worse than what we have on ground now.
In fact, because of the deplorable state of the roads in and around Eha-Amufu in Isi-Uzo local government area of Enugu State, which has isolated the people, from the rest of the world, security is a major concern. It will be recalled the Prof, Mbah himself was kidnapped sometime last year. Armed robbery attacks especially on banks became so rampant that it drove away banks operating in the area. The resultant effect is that students of the college now reportedly go to banks as far away as Nsukka or Enugu to pay their school fees. Prof. Mbah who confirmed this in a chat with Daily Sun, described as worrisome the security situation within the local the government and around the college.
Most members of staff of the college are said to reside either in Enugu or Nsukka, some 60-sometthing kilometres away, owing to limited accommodation. There is no tarred road within the college premises, as you have in other institutions of higher learning. Water is a big problem, same with accommodation facilities and electricity. Mbah says that the college needs urgent assistance, not only from the federal government but also from individuals and corporate organizations.
He blamed the problem the college is having in getting potable drinking water on the topography of the area. 'What we have now is deep well,' he said. 'The only problem is that what you get is hard water. So what we have done is that we got an engineer who is familiar with the terrain and he has actually done the deep well on experimental basis. We want to see whether the yield will be good enough; that is if the deep well will be able to refill each of our tanks every two days that will be okay; because we have about four tanks of 1000 gallons each. At least, we will have water we can use for other things apart from drinking because most people drink sachet water. So if we can provide this liquid for other things we must have achieved something.'
The seven-man visitation panel headed by Prof. James is among the panels sent out by the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa'i to each of the 41 tertiary institutions made up of 21 Federal Colleges of Education and 20 federal polytechnics, to, among other things, determine the relationship between the institutions and various statutory bodies it interacts with according to its law for purposes of supervision, planning finance, discipline, guidance, etc. They have 30 days within which to conclude their investigations and submit their reports.
The panels are also to examine the academic programmes, policies and practices as well as the total academic and physical development, performance and direction of the intuitions and advise as to whether the desired targets have been met and on the modifications which may be made to achieve maximum academic productivity, excellence and service to the nation.
Prof. Ibrahim James who was seeing for the first time the predicament of the college advised the host communities as well as the local government to see the college as their own and to everything within their power to help and not to depend on government to do everything.
In interaction with newsmen, he said his panel equally advised the college to improve on its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and engage in research proposals that could help the lecturers' access international donor funds instead of always relying on the federal government's allocation.
Arguing that the college is the responsibility of its immediate community, Prof. James stressed that no community sub-contracts its development to the country. The panel noted that it got a number of memoranda, from those that are alleging wrongful disengagement to others that involve youths of the host community, security issue, etc.
Despite some hiccups, Prof. Mbah said that there has been good cooperation between the college administration and its workforce. Moreover, the college has been excelling in sports especially in female soccer and volleyball competitions. In fact, the college just bagged a gold medal in female handball in the just concluded Nigeria Colleges of Education Games (NICEGA).