AUSTIN OYIBODE, EDITOR
Reports reaching the news desk of Emeraldng.com revealed that Professor Victor Peretomode, the vice chancellor of the Delta State University, Abraka, allegedly moved the students of engineering faculty of Delta state university, Oleh campus without the knowledge of stakeholders in Isokoland.
Following the move, there are fears that the university management may fail to return the students with the suspicion that a sinister move was in the offing for the community.
Investigations by this online newspaper revealed that the move of the Vice Chancellor was heavily suspicious as the students have been receiving lectures from the Oleh campus when the faculty of engineering had not been accredited by the National University Commission (NUC).
But it baffled some Isoko people that Professor Peretomode made the move when his tenure as the head of the university was gradually coming to a close in less than one year from now.
Sources within the university community told this medium that the protest of the Isoko women and the outcry of other Isoko sons and daughters saved the community of Oleh from losing the faculty to a suspicious move of the Delta state university.
Following the protest and the outcry against the development, a high powered meeting comprising the commissioner for higher education, Jude Sinebe; Ufili FD, president general of Oleh community; Architect Joel Iroro from oleh, High Chief Iduh Amadhe, President general of Isoko Development Union; Vice chancellor of the university, Professor Victor Peretemode, attended an emergency meeting to douse tension in the area and find out the true state of things.
Others present at the meeting were Professor S.O. Asagba, provost of the Asaba campus of the university; Professor E.U. Ubeku, Dean, faculty of engineering, Oleh campus; Professor A. Ekpekpo, Comrade Izere Pender-Philip, Professor S.O. Emosairue, Provost of Oleh campus and Professor Patrick Muoboghare, former commissioner for basic education in the state.
It was learnt that the accreditation process cost not less than one billion naira that was donated by the sons and daughters of Isoko land who were desirous of development in the Isoko area of the state.
The Isoko people, it was learnt, brought in laboratory materials, engineering equipment and others, a development which led to the accreditation of the engineering faculty of the university in Oleh.
It was, however, said that the state government also contributed financially to the accreditation process but the chunk of it came from the Isoko people. Emeraldng.com learnt that prior to the accreditation, the Oleh campus was running level 100 to 500 of the engineering faculty.
But after the accreditation, the vice chancellor decided to move the fresh students from the Oleh campus to the main campus at Abraka without informing the host community which has contributed massively to the accreditation of the same faculty.
This move by the vice chancellor fuelled speculations that the vice chancellor was reportedly hatching plans to transfer the faculty from Isoko land before leaving the institution for good.
Further investigation showed that the Oleh community was waiting for the fresh students to resume when it became obvious that the students had been moved over to the main campus of the university.
On hearing that the faculty of engineering had been moved to the main campus, a massive protest erupted from the community women who saw no reason for the relocation having gotten accreditation for the faculty at the expense of many Isoko people.
Following the discovery and the protest, the Isoko Development Union (IDU) led by High Chief Iduh Amadhe, wrote a letter to the provost of the campus and to the vice chancellor, which was aimed at demanding explanation from Peretomode on why the faculty was relocated from Oleh to Abraka.
At the meeting held on Wednesday, October 17 at Oleh, Peretemode was said to have told the Isoko people that the relocation was based on the need for basic standard courses, stating that the courses are done at 100 level.
He was quoted to have said that the courses are done at the main campus. He was said to have told the people at the meeting that the institution cannot change the curriculum of the school as it dictates what should be done.
Also, manpower and the prescription of NUC demanded the relocation of the students to the main campus. These were said to be the defense put forward by the vice chancellor to relocate the fresh students to the main campus.
But our sources said Amadhe told the participants at the meeting that Isoko people were ready to provide accommodation for the lecturers and other accompanying staff, adding that a unit for basic sciences should be created at the Oleh campus.
The relocation of the students from the Oleh campus is presently affecting the economy of Oleh at the moment. Facts within our reach reveal that IDU spent N8000 to maintain the faculty, clearing the bush and paying the labourers from July 2018 when the institution went on vacation.
According to our source, it was, however, resolved at the meeting that next session, the faculty will be relocated back to the Oleh campus. The relocation will include all students, fresh and old of the engineering faculty.
But no memorandum of understanding was signed as it was only a verbal agreement between the university management, the higher education commissioner, Jude Sinebe and the Isoko people.
In a swift reaction, Professor Patrick Muoboghare, who was said to be part of the meeting that resolved the issue, faulted claims that the vice chancellor attempted relocating the faculty of engineering from the Oleh campus.
He said: “Please, do not mislead. At no time did the vice chancellor relocate the Faculty of Engineering to Abraka. And neither will the Faculty of Science, or part thereof be relocated from Abraka.
“The law establishing the University is very clear on the location of the various faculties. Faculties are not located or relocated based on protest from women, either in the nude or clothed. We should be guided.”