By Nwogha Ndubuisi Andy and Charles Nwankwo
The Speaker Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru has on Wednesday 11 April, 2020 cleared his members’ stand on the long debated proposed site for the new approved Federal College of Education, declaring that the House for purpose of Unity of the state supported that the institution be situated at Isu in Ohaozara LGA.
He made this known to newsmen at the House of Assembly Complex Nkaliki, shortly after the plenary sitting for the screening of the Governor’s nominees.
According to him, the Federal College ab nitio was sited at Isu before its approval by Mr. President, stressing that the former state Governors and other Federal Representatives protest was of good omen which was a sign of proper representation.
However, when asked his role in influencing members to site the school at Isu, he said Dr. Sam Egwu, Senator Representing Ebonyi North arguing that the institution be moved to the northern part as the south has other Federal institutions was considered during their deliberation, but he urged the people to allow the Federal government school remain at the approved site so as not to endanger relationship between the two political zones.
He added that the two zones are in the state and what favoured one part would be for the general interest of the entire state.
His words, “The Federal College was at abinitio sited at Isu before Mr. President approved it. Though, a lot of issues have been raised concerning where the new institution should be situated, and our former Governor, now Senator representing Ebonyi North protested that Ebonyi South have other Federal institutions and he spoke well because he has people he is representing”.
“His reason was that Ebonyi South has many other institutions but none in Ebonyi North, but we said for now that we have seen what you are saying which we are not criticising because he did what he supposed to do as a representative of the area”.
“Meanwhile, we are urging everybody to know that this school is coming to Isu in Ebonyi and we are one people, and there’s no other Federal institution at Isu, and if we say since it has been sited by Federal Government that it should be moved to Izzi; you will see that you have strained the existing good relationship between Izzi and Isu people without knowing the consequence of such action.”
“So, he aired his opinion as a leader elected by the people and we are not criticising it but all we are saying is that as leaders, we should work together for the betterment of the state and should promote good governance in the country especially in our young state”.
In another development, Rt. Hon. Nwifuru said members of the House would forfeit their 2020 allowances in support of the ongoing international Airport and Health College.
He described the two projects as economic pillars of the state when completed.
He said when the airport is completed as designed; it would uplift economic development of the state, even as he added that the two projects serve as priority for the current administration.
“The state governor had deemed it necessary that we have functional general hospital because very soon our students who are graduating from medical field will be stranded for lack of job. However, we have a Memorandum of Understanding we signed earlier with the Federal government which had stipulated some areas they will be helping our students, but now that they have taken over the hospital and a teaching hospital, it is clear that we need state teaching hospital for our medical students”.
“The problem of our country is that we have ignored the health sector, thereby, believing on travelling abroad for medical check-up whereas no foreigner comes here for medical tourism.
“Does it mean that we don’t have the strength to build functional hospital and equiping it to international standard that it will attract foreigners?” He queried.
Meanwhile, Mr. Speaker refuted the alleged claim that his office operates without gazette as most bills passed by the House are not traceable, noting that no bill can go to the public without being gazzetted according to the country’s constitution.
Recall that the Federal Government recently approved the establishment of Federal College of Education, located at Isu in Onicha Local Government Area and Federal Science and Technical College, located at Amuzu in Ezza South Local Government Area, Ebonyi State.
Inspecting sites of the two new institutions on Saturday 6th June, 2020, the team from the Federal Ministry of Education Abuja, were separated into two according to their area of specialization for the inspection to take place simultaneously.
The Executive Secretary National Commission for Colleges of Education, Prof. Bappa-Aliyu Muhammadu said that he and his team visited the temporary and permanent sites of the both Federal College of Education Isu in Onicha Local Government Area and Federal Science and Technical College Amuzu in Ezza South Local Government Area for the speedy take off of the Federal schools in Ebonyi State.
Prof. Bappa-Aliyu appealed to the hosting communities of the federal schools to work for the smooth take off of the new Colleges in the interest of Ebonyi people, stating that both schools would commence learning soon after the temporal and permanent sites were renovated and schools’ resumption after the coronavirus Pandemic.
In an interview with Citizens’ Advocate, the Director in-charge of Technical Education, Ministry of Education Abuja, Mr. Chimezie Aguiyi said he led one of the teams to take measurement for the creation of bill of quantities for the works that needed to be carried out at Ezza High School, Amuzu which the State Government suggested to the Federal Government for the establishment of a new Federal Science and Technical College in Amuzu.
Mr. Aguiyi explained that the present administration deemed it necessary for all the state of the Federation to have a federal science and technical college to encourage youths go into skills acquisition.
He further explained that there are sixteen states in the federation that doesn’t have Federal Science and Technical College which Ebonyi state is one of them and President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of the mentioned college in all the sixteen states, stating that the project supposed to have three phases ,Ebonyi and Imo States fall into phase one that six states will benefit in South East, others are Kano, Jigawa, Oyo and Kogi States.
Mr. Aguiyi noted that his team had earlier gone round the three sites the state government suggested, the team recommended Ezza High School and Federal Government approved that it should be established at Ezza High School Amuzu.
According to the Director, by the time the college will take off, it will be called “Federal Science and Technical College Amuzu.
Speaking on the admission into the school, the Director said it is through the National Common Entrance being organized by NECO which NECO advertised before the coronavirus pandemic lock down and the exams have not been taken.
He enjoined parents and guardians to let their children get admission into the college for their benefit and the state.
Mr. Aguiyi noted that education is not virtually free in the school but cannot be equated with what private schools with the same standard, because Government has one way of supporting and supplementing what the parents pay for their children in Federal Science and Technical Colleges.
The Commissioner for Education, Dr. Onyebuchi Chima who led the Federal team to the new Colleges site at Ezza South and Onicha Local Government Areas and the Chairman, State Universal Basic Education, Chief Hyacinth Ikpor appreciated the decision of the Federal Government for choosing Ebonyi State as one of the states in Nigeria to get two Federal Government Colleges at a time, saying that Ebonyi State Governor is education friendly and advocated equality in sharing opportunities that could arise from both colleges in the state.
Senior Technical Assistant to the Governor on Education, Mazi Ogbonnia Onu said that the Governor of Ebonyi State, His Excellency Engr. David Nweze Umahi through the Ministry of Education under the Hon. Commissioner for Education, Dr. Onyebuchi Chima is doing a lot to change the deleterious history of Ebonyi State on education and economy, pointing out that with students in the Science and Technical College, they will be trained to learn how to manufacture things scientifically.
Mazi Ogbonnia appreciated the gesture of Federal Government to Ebonyi State and appealed for speedy take off of the colleges for Ebonyi children are already waiting to get admission into the colleges.
Meanwhile, the Caretaker Chairman, Onicha Local Government Council, Mr. Chima Udemanta, Caretaker Chairman, Ezza South Local Government Council, Mrs. Euphemia Nwali, the Chairman, Traditional Rulers’ Council, Ebonyi South Zone, Ezeogo Charles Azuenya and some other stakeholders of the host communities, expressed happiness and assured the Federal Government of the safety of workers in the Colleges, declaring that Ebonyi State remains a hospitable place for every visitor.
The federal and the state teams had earlier paid courtesy visit to traditional rulers from Autonomous Communities in Ebonyi South Zone and were presented with three different options of land above one hundred hectares as required to choose for the new colleges’ permanent sites