The Africa University Toru-Orua (UAT) has matriculated it first set of students. Three hundred and seventy students from four faculties took their oaths of matriculation at the newly established University in Bayelsa State with a charge on the pioneer students to shun cultism and other social vices.
UAT is a new university established by Governor Seriake Dickson to create better access to qualitative tertiary education in the state.
The maiden matriculation ceremony of 370 students, chaired by a former Minister of Education, Mallam Ibrahim Shekerau, had in attendance array of professors, scholars and vice-chancellors.
Also in attendance were Governor Seriake Dickson; his Deputy, John Jonah; state and federal lawmakers; traditional rulers, Ijaw leaders and state cabinet members.
The institution’s first Distinguished Public Lecture Series was also delivered by foremost educationist, Prof. Turner Isoun.
The matriculants were compelled to swear oaths that they would not be members of secret societies.
In his remarks, Governor Dickson described the university as a novel establishment completely owned by the state government.
He, however, said the institution was set up with the model of a private businesses to guarantee quality and sustainability.
Dickson said his administration changed the model of running tertiary institutions from being completely funded by the government to self-sustainability.
He said the government would only support tertiary institutions with loans, grants and subventions.
“That is the new direction in our state, he said commending the vice-chancellor for the prudent way and manner he handled the foundation of the school.
He said UAT was built at a critical and challenging stage of his administration following his legal battles after his second term election and biting recession.
He told the students that the school would have no room for cultism, brigandage and outlaws.
While asking them to brace up with the challenges of a new university, he said his administration would work hard to resolve some of the problems.
Shekerau in his remarks described the ceremony as historic and commended Dickson for establishing the university.
He said that investment in education remained the best legacy and prayed the university to see fruitful years.
He appealed to the matriculants to be examplary in their conducts and learning to make meaningful contributions in nation-building.
In his address, the Acting Vice-Chancellor, UAT, Prof. Valentine Aletor, said the school is a public university that will be run more efficiently like a private institution in terms of work ethics, discipline and teaching.
He said the school has shown its readiness to become a first rate institution through its highly dedicated, competent and caring academic and nonacademic staff.
Aletor said UAT would not compromise its core values of integrity, knowledge, dignity, excellence and service.
But the vice-chancellor warned the students strongly against antisocial behaviour saying the school had zero tolerance for cultism, gangsterism, use of hard drugs, indecent dressing, bullying, insubordination.
He said: “The UAT management is under strict directive of His Excellency and Visitor to the University Governor Seriake Dickson to deal decisively with any student or group of students who violate the established university rules and regulation.
” On the fight against cultism and sundry antisocial vices on our campus, the university management, parents and the security agencies must synergize to curtail the menace”.
Also, the Bayelsa State Government in a statement congratulated the management and staff of the UAT on the occasion of their first matriculation and public lecture series.
The State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson in a statement said since its establishment, the management of the institution had continued to achieve milestones and set enviable records.
He said the recent registration of two companies by the university to generate income was a clear testament to its desire to be self-sufficient in line with the vision of the restoration government to make all tertiary institutions attain financial independence.
According to Iworiso-Markson the signing of a mutual agreement with The University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom to advance the frontiers of education was another commendable achievement by the University of Toru-Orua.
The commissioner stated that the government was proud of the focused and dedicated leadership style on display at the university which is not only producing the right fruits but also setting the pace for others to follow.
“As a pride to the state and for complementing the Niger Delta University (NDU) the state premier university to provide quality but yet affordable tertiary education to young people the government will continue to support it just like other institutions of learning to achieve its dreams.
“We are so proud of the achievements of the management of the University of Africa. Within a short period of time they have demonstrated clearly that they know what they want. We have seen only recently the registration of two companies to drive the economy of the university. That is the way to go and the vision of His Excellency, Governor Henry Seriake Dickson.
“Within this period they have been able to get quite a number of their courses accredited and we feel a sense of pride that this is happening in Bayelsa. And we are hopeful of the future that more good things will come out of that citadel of learning.
“We congratulate the management, staff and the fresh students who are very lucky to be part of history and also call on everyone to come out en masse to be part of the epoch occasion”, he said.