Record-breaking Governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, yesterday, made history as he unveiled the State University of Medical and Applied Sciences (SUMAS), Igbo-Eno, Enugu State, newly conceived and established by his administration.
SUMAS, Igbo-Eno is the second university to be established in Nsukka zone (Enugu North Senatorial District) after the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) attracted to the zone by the first President of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe.
The founder of SUMAS, Igbo-Eno, Enugu State, Governor Ugwuanyi, who is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Enugu North Senatorial District, performed the historic unveiling of the medical university before he delivered the 5th Adada Lecture organised by Association of Nsukka Professors (ANP), titled “Leadership, Education and Inclusive Development.”
SUMAS was one of the landmark achievements of Governor Ugwuanyi’s administration aimed at increasing access to quality medical university education for the teeming youths. The aims are also to provide accessible, quality and affordable healthcare service delivery to the people of Enugu State and beyond, develop the rural areas, create job opportunities, and ensure economic empowerment.
The governor unveiled the university amid jubilation and excitement in the company of the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi, the Chief Judge of the State, Hon. Justice Afojulu Raymond Ozoemena, representative of Hon. Justice Chima Centus Nweze of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Kenneth Okpe, the PDP governorship candidate in the state, Dr. Peter Ndubuisi Mbah and his running mate, Barr. Ifeanyi Ossai, the Vice Chancellor of the medical university, Prof. James Ogbonna and other principal officers, among others.
Speaking at a function shortly after the unveiling of SUMAS and presentation of the 5th Adada Lecture, Governor Ugwuanyi who sounded fulfilled said: “After Zik (Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe) I’m the second person who brought university to Nsukka land.”
Delivering the 5th Adada Lecture as the Guest Lecturer earlier, Governor Ugwuanyi who gave highlights of his administration’s remarkable achievements in spite of the nation’s economic challenges, disclosed that the three concepts of the theme “Leadership, Education and Inclusive Development” are integrated and a true picture of his administration’s policy thrust.
The governor said that his administration, in actualising its objectives has invested heavily on peace and security which is responsible for Enugu’s enviable status as one of the safest and most peaceful states in the country.
He said: “Consequent upon the resolution of the South East Governors Forum, I remain the first governor to constitute and set up Enugu State Forest Guards backed by legislation in addition to the Neighbourhood Watch to check the menace of criminals especially in our rural communities which aligns with my policy and emphasis on the development of our rural communities.”
Speaking further on the theme, Governor Ugwuanyi stressed that the meeting point between leadership, education, and development can neither be noticed nor differentiated because education “empowers people to take advantage of opportunities, information, and life skill that they need to realize their potentials.
“Education builds capacity and increases knowledge that enables one to acquire leadership skills. Therefore, leadership, education, and development are mutually related.
“A productive and viable economy can only be achieved by an enlightened, resourceful, and properly motivated workforce which is the product of education and leadership.
“Educational development is fundamental to the development of the people culturally, socially, economically and politically.
“The concept of inclusive development is about a development that does not leave any person, part or group out. In other words, no person, part or group is excluded in the development process. Practically speaking, inclusive development is assured when people in spite of their gender, ethnicity, age, political persuasion, religious belief, social-economic condition, disability or poverty are not marginalised or discounted as a result of these and are stakeholders in the development process.”
Concluding the theoretical exposition of the concepts of the topic of the lecture, Governor Ugwuanyi stated that his administration had prioritised education since its assumption of office in 2015 because of its importance to development.
“We are glad our effort has yielded results by helping the state to attain milestones in education.”
The governor hinted that his administration constructed and reconstructed 1,355 classroom blocks and other projects in primary and secondary schools across six education zones in the state.
“We recruited over 7,030 primary and secondary school teachers and converted 1000 teachers initially recruited as ad-hoc staff to permanent staff and released all outstanding arrears of promotions to date.”
Ugwuanyi further said that higher institutions owned by the state such as Enugu University of Science and Technology (ESUT), Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu, among others equally received adequate attention from his administration.
The governor added that other sectors of development such as rural development, health, road infrastructure, empowerment, investment promotion, agriculture, sports development, judiciary, workers’ welfare, etc, in spite of the state’s lean resources and nation’s economic, security and public health challenges, witnessed positive and practical transformations in fulfillment of his administration’s four-point agenda.
In a remark, Prof. Ogbonna, the Vice Chancellor of SUMAS, said that the occasion was unique and historical because it was designed for Governor Ugwuanyi, the Visitor to the University, to unveil the medical university and deliver the 5th Adada Lecture.
Prof. Ogbonna thanked Governor Ugwuanyi for envisioning and establishing the university which he said would help to admit more candidates seeking admissions for medicine and other medical courses.
“Both University of Nigeria, Nsukka and ESUT admit less than 10 per cent of indigenes of Enugu State seeking admissions in medicine and other related courses.
“For establishing and equipping this university, Governor Ugwuanyi has written his name in gold as future generations will remain grateful to him.
“I will remain grateful to Governor Ugwuanyi and the good people of Enugu State for finding me worthy to be the pioneer Vice Chancellor of the university and promised that I will not disappoint in the confidence reposed in me,” he said.
Earlier in a remark, the President of Association of Nsukka Professors, Prof. Osy Okanya, said that Ugwuanyi is the first governor in Enugu State to attend the Adada Lecture, and also the first to be the Guest Lecturer.
Okanya said that the association was satisfied with the performance of Governor Ugwuanyi as a lawmaker and also as a governor in the past seven years and eight months which was why he was chosen to deliver this lecture so that the public will learn from his good leadership skills.
“A clear analysis of governance in Enugu State since 2015 Ugwuanyi assumed office shows that the state has recorded landmark achievements in all sectors of the economy in the three senatorial zones without discrimination,” he said.
The occasion was chaired by Justice Chima Centus Nweze, Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, represented by Hon. Justice Kenneth Okpe of the Enugu High Court, had other dignitaries in attendance, including the lawmakers representing Nsukka/Igbo-Eze South and Igbo-Eze North/Udenu federal constituencies, Rt. Hon. Pat Asadu and Hon. Engr. Simon Atigwe respectively, the Chairman of Peace Mass Transit Limited and proprietor of Maduka Onyishi University, Ekwegbe, Dr. Sam Maduka Onyishi, former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Hon. Justice Priscilla Ngozi Emehelu (Rtd), members of the State Executive Council (EXCO), Council Chairmen, among others.