Archbishop and Primate of All Nigeria, the Most Reverend Henry Ndukuba, has said that the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion is commited to partner critical stakeholders to reposition Paul University, Awka, Anambra State for strategic human and national development.
Archbishop Ndukuba, made the call at a conclave of major stakeholders and leadership of Paul University, Awka held at the Very Rev’d Chike Nwizu Hall,in Enugu.
The event which attracted captains of industries, the Academia, politicians and the clergy,East of the Niger was to deliberate on the development of the permanent site and growth of Paul University, (PUA) currently situated in Awka, the Anambra State capital.
Describing the institution as a regional heritage, the Primate said there was the need to address the infrastructural deficit and recalibrate the purpose of the University to achieve its aim of establishment.
According to the Primate, the institution stands for the greatest investment of the Anglican Church in human capital development, and engagement with the future of the Church and the society.
“The university is a unifying factor of the Church and recovering the vision of a training institute for kingdom service and as agents of change must not be compromised. The transformation of this institution into a university must remain pivotal.
“God has called us participants in rebuilding, and restoring. Government and the Church need to work together, we must believe that me (sic) can do it, we must ask for the old path and walk therein, we must restore our Niger heritage through rebuilding Paul University, Awka. It will strengthen us as a Church and reposition us to engage the next generation, the Primate stated.”
He said “the development of the University was essential to the Anglican mission in the East of the Niger and bring focus to the mission of the church, create jobs, engage in professional human development as well as social and moral reengineering in the 21th century.”
In a welcome address, the Proprietor, Paul University and Chairman Joint Episcopal Council of the 5 Ecclesiastical Provinces, (EON) and Archbishop of Enugu Province, the Most Reverend Emmanuel Chukwuma, urged the Archbishops of the 5 provinces to rally round the Primate and support the growth and expansion of the University.
“Paul University is our baby and one of the legacy projects of the Anglican Communition,East of the Niger and all of us must therefore come together to nuture our baby to maturity,” he stated.
In a speech, a former Deputy Governor of Rivers State and Chairman Baord of Trustees (BOT) Paul University, Awka(PUA) Sir Gabriel Toby, said Paul University was a legacy Institution that metamorphosed from the old Saint Paul’s College, Awka.
Sir Toby, called on Bishops to talk to their brother Bishops on the need to make the University survive.
“Therefore, join hands in building and sustaining our dear Paul University as we shall not fail in achieving this”
In an address,the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of PUA, Sir Chris Okoye, explained that the university was anchored on the core values of spirituality, excellence, diligence and moral rectitude.
“The University aims to become an enviable tertiary institution with
rounded educational development for the total man, touching his body, soul and spirit,” Sir Okoye pointed out.
He, however, said the meeting was strategic and imperative to the development and expansion of the University to a world class institution.
According to Sir Okoye, the purpose of the meeting is to “provide an opportunity for different stakeholders to examine, illuminate, and discuss the current state of Paul University.
“Also, to provide solution to the funding challenges facing Paul University; and to address the infrastructural deficit retarding Paul University’s maturation into a
leading institution of higher learning.
“As well as inaugurate the committee for the development of infrastructure and movement of Paul University to the permanent site at Oji-River, Enugu state, Sir Okoye explained.
He went further to say that poor funding and inadequate infrastructure over the years have stunted the growth of Paul University relative to other universities that started the same year or even after it.
“It is pertinent to note that Paul University is our heritage from the Church Missionary Society (CMS) and as such should not be allowed to die on our watch.”
“The issue of poor funding resulted in a perennial inability to pay staff and retarded
infrastructural development. And while significant strides have been made to address
the foregoing, Paul University still remains grossly underfunded.
The Pro-Chancellor therefore suggested increase in enrollment as part of steps to boost funding of the university.
“Mobilising/Attracting quality students through the JUPEB, UTME and Post Graduate platforms.
“We also call on stakeholders of the University to encourage us in this regard by sending their wards to the University, through sponsorships and scholarships.”
“Establishing a research institute that will provide research services to the
University and contracted research services to people needing such services
outside the University community.
“This initiative hopefully will provide solution to recycling of ever- growing wastes in the University community which will also be source of revenue to the University,” Sir. Okoye advised.
In a brief remarks, the Ag Vice Chancellor, PUA -Prof Ugochukwu Nzewi, pledged to leave a Legacy that will outlive him while soliciting the collaboration of the stakeholders to move the University forward.
Taking his sermon from the book of Nehemiah Chapter 2 v 11 –20, the Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, the Most Reverend David Onuoha, encouraged stakeholders to rise up and rebuild Paul University by working in synergy for the growth and development of the institution.
Archbishop Onuoha urged them to put aside their differences and emulate the life of Nehemiah and work as one for the common good of the University.
The owners of the University, comprising the 5 Provinces, Joint Council of Knights,as well as the women organizations, on the occasion pledged commitment to the sustainable funding template developed by the University Council and adopted by all the Provinces to raise over two billion naira in the next four years.
It is expected that stakeholders would queue into the sustainable funding structure and other Funding models to revamp the University.
The Primate, the Most Reverend Ndukuba later inaugurated the Committee on the
Development of Infrastructure at the Permanent site of Paul University at Oji River, Enugu State.The committee’s leadership has Prof Uche Ikonne ,IPVC of ABIA State as its chairman whilst its membership comprises accomplished women and gentlemen from diverse backgrounds.
The event attracted senior Anglican clergymen, EON,including, the Archbishop of Aba Province, the Most Reverend Chijioke Nwaobia; the Ag. Archbishop of Niger Delta Province, the Right Reverend Blessing Enyinda; Chairperson,Women organization,Joint Council,EON,Dr.Mrs. Joyce Chukwuma; Emeritus Archbishop of the Province on the Niger & Dean Church of Nigeria and the Pioneer Proprietor,PUA,Archbishop Maxwell Anikwenwa, Bishop of Oji-River Diocese,Archbishop Amos Amankechinelo Madu; President General,Joint Council of Knights,Church of Nigeria;Sir Vincent Eta Orhiunu & his entourage.
Others are the First Female Governor in Nigeria, Dame Virgy Ngozi Etiaba, represented by his son, Sir Ben Etiaba; Former Director General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Prof Elochukwu Amucheazi; the Traditional Ruler of Enugwu-ukwu na Igwe Umunri, Igwe Ralph Ekpe; Sen. Ben Obi; the Chief Executive Officer of G.U.O motors, Chief Godwin Ubaka Okeke; Founder, Paul Erinne Foundation, Engr. Paul Erinne; the Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director of ANBEEZ services LTD, an indigenous construction firm, Engr. Anayo Onwuegbu; Sir Rob Awatu,Founder,Roban Stores,the Pioneer Vice Chancellor of PUA-Prof Gaius Igboeli,Members of Council,PUA and the BOTs,amongst others
A Former Minister of Power, Ven Prof. Chinedu Nebo, cut the curtains for the commencement of the conclave while the Archbishop, Province of the Niger, the Most Reverend Alexander Ibezim, declared it closed.
Paul University is collectively owned by the 55 Anglican Dioceses under the five Provinces, East of the Niger.