By Patrick Ochei/Emeke Alexander
Immediate past Delta State Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof. Patrick Muoboghare, on Wednesday, paid a surprised visit to the Delta State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) at its temporary Press Centre, Asaba, where he gave further clarifications on the proposed Public-Private Partnership (PPP) for the three newly established universities in the state.
Recall that Delta NUJ on Thursday, June 24, 2021, in a communique issued after its Congress at Asaba, raised certain observations about the proposed PPP especially as regards its tilting towards privatisation in the long run which will, in turn, derail the core objectives advanced by the state governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, for taking steps to ensure the establishment of the universities.
Prof. Muoboghare, who on Tuesday made the second list of Commissioner designates sent to the Delta State House of Assembly, admitted during his visit to the Union that there was a breakdown in communication which necessitated the recent misunderstanding between him and the Union.
He noted that he was supposed to interface with the Union to brief the Press after his committee concluded its work on the newly created universities and made its recommendation to the state government.
He said, “There was a break in communication as we concluded our assignment on the creation of the three new Delta universities.
“I was supposed to come to NUJ to brief the Press since it was a new government project, but I didn’t do that. I have admitted that gap in communication. However, everything is sorted out and going forward, we will always do the needful.”
Speaking further, the erudite professor explained that until now the four universities in the state were not offering Architecture adding that two are now offering Medicine and another two offering Law.
He noted that such innovation was a product of hard and tedious mental work that had gained success.
Prof. Muoboghare commended the NUJ State Executive and members for their understanding and reassured that Public-Private Partnership proposed for the newly created universities was not intended to leave the tertiary institutions in the hands of private businessmen but to create sustainable opportunities for their viability and quality outputs.
His words, “The creation of the universities was not intended to be pandered towards politics. We were meticulous enough to spread the universities evenly, which we recommended to the government.
“Thank God Asaba as the State Capital was factored in because everything about the State Capital must be about public relations. We were just recommending officers who ensured that what was recommended was reasonable and justifiable.
“Again, I thank the NUJ State Exco and members for their comradeship. We must continue to build fences as partners in progress. I am one of you, and so I am home. Because the Press made me from my days as ASUU Chairman, I must not take that for granted”, the former Commissioner said.
Responding, the State Chairman of NUJ, Comrade Michael Ikeogwu appreciated Prof. Patrick Muoboghare for coming to clarify issues, instead of believing that the NUJ was fighting him and the government following the Union’s Congress Communique and media reports that followed afterwards.
He reiterated that the Union had no intention to fight the state government but was only carrying out its watchdog role, adding that what transpired had opened a new vista of synergy to work honestly for the good of society.
Ikeogwu called on members to continue to support the Okowa-led administration towards actualising its mandate for a Stronger Delta.