By Erasmus Ikhide
UNIVERSITY of Benin was founded in 1970. It started as an Institute of Technology but was accorded the status of a University by the National Universities Commission, NUC, on July 1,1971. It was not until April 1, 1975 that the change of name from the Institute of Technology to the University of Benin was announced. The University at the request of the State Government was taken over by the Federal Government and thus it became a Federal University.Since then, there have been nine substantive Vice- Chancellors, who during their tenures were credited with remarkable achievements.
Professor Faraday Osasere Orumwense is incubent and the ninth Vice-Chancellor, an author and professor of Mechanical Engineering. Orumwense was appointed by the former Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole. The appointment took effect from December 1, 2014 under the aegis of the Governing Council of the University led by the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Senator Dickson Bob. He took over from Prof. Oshodi who was credited with an outstanding tenure.
Orumwense who followed in that stride is widely commended for taking the University to this enviable heights made possible through policies facilitated development across the University. For instance, employees’ and students’ welfare was given priority and today there is concrete evidence of significant improvement in this area.
The former Dean of Students, Prof Francis Osagiede attested to Prof Orumwense’s visionary leadership as he observed. Thus: “Orumwense has matched words with action as the Administration placed huge premium on the welfare of staff and students. To this end, the Administration remains committed to regular promotion of staff as at when due with their entitlement paid. Our pensioners are not left out as we remain committed to their welfare.
“The Administration is also leaving no stone unturned to create a befitting environment for learning. In pursuance of this, the Administration has put in place an up to-date routine maintenance of existing public utilities on campus.”
The Administration in its effort to strengthen the committee system of the University successfully conducted the 2015 congregation election, where members of staff were elected into various committees for the smooth running of the University.
Under Professor Orumwense’s leadership, the issue of cultism and other associated vices reduced to the barest minimum, with the increase level of security surveillance made possible through the procurement of six patrol vehicles by this administration. With regards to this, the VC said: “I am happy to inform you that students now sleep with their two eyes closed and are also not afraid to go about their lawful academic and extra-curricular activities without fear of molestation.”
Also worth noting is the state of ICT platforms in the University which has improved to International Standard following series of upgrades. Addressing the congregation on the occasion of the 44th Convocation and 48th Founder’s day ceremony, Professor Orumwense had used the opportunity to enumerate other key projects executed by his Administration, but particularly dear to him was the Convocation ceremony which was described as an “Outstanding Landmark Event” which was the fourth successive of his tenure.since he was giving the opportunity.
Expressing optimism while enumerating some of his achievements, Orumwense stressed that infrastructural development and renewal remain a cardinal goal of the strategic vision of his administration as it is a crucial issue in universities ranking.
Among the projects he listed for commissioning during the period are constructed and furnished female hostel;
Centre for Excellence in Reproductive Health Innovation office building; lecture halls/seminar rooms and teaching laboratory for Faculty of Pharmacy; the Faculty of Environmental Sciences Studio; the Faculty of Veterinary Laboratory and the newly completed and furnished library complex at Ekehuan Campus.
Orumwense asserted that the instruction’s Public Private Partnership engagements have also yielded some dividends, just like the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU and agreements that it has entered with some bodies.