BENEFITS OF PROPOSED STARS UNIVERSITY TO IDUMUJE-UGBOKO COMMUNITY
By Raymond Nice & Samuel Onwordi.
All over the world, university institutions are regarded as the highest citadel of learning and wherever they are established, the multiplier effects on the people and environment are very apparent. Setting up a university is absolutely a herculean task and this is why until few years ago, the governments in Nigeria have been the major players. Due to the prevalence of government investment in universities, communities where they are located have recorded tremendous transformation.
But the jinx was broken in 1999 with the first entry of a private university in Nigeria. Igbinedion University was founded by Sir Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion who chose his home town, Okada town; a hitherto unknown town as the host to Igbinedion University. As you travel along Shagamu-Benin express way onward to Okada town, you will notice its intimidating presence brought by the presence of Igbinedion university. The town has since been transformed from obscurity to popularity with some degree of prominent features and beautiful ambience which set the town bustling with life. Thanks to the goodwill of Sir Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion. Similar experience exist in places where other new private universities have been established. As at today, there are about 79 private universities spread all over Nigeria. When Stars university fully commences, the number of private universities will round off to 80 and obviously increase the pace of development
Stars University is an acronym for Sports, Technology, Arts and Research Sciences. Unlike other existing universities in Nigeria, it will be a unique and specialized university which will be more sports oriented. According to Prince Ned Nwoko the promoter, the university “We will use Olympic sports as our benchmarks while some conventional courses such as Accountancy, Law, Business Administration etc would be added once approved by NUC. After study, our students will compete and blend with the international community” . (Read more on his Facebook , Prince Ned Nwoko.
To Prince Ned Nwoko who hails from Idumuje Ugboko, there is no place like home which is why he decided to berth Stars university in Idumuje Ugboko.
At this juncture, it is pertinent to enunciate the benefits of having the university in Idumuje Ugboko:
*√Employment opportunities;* Apart from those who would be directly and gainfully employed by the institution, its presence will stimulate jobs and business opportunities to the people. Commercial activities will increase and the people will be highly remunerated. This is one of Ned’s greatest passion as he once said, “…l am a billionaire, but my billions are useless if l cannot use it to affect people” (Prince Ned Nwoko Facebook).
*√Agriculture;* It will also boost the agricultural sector of the town that is practicably an agrarian community. Farmers will not need to go too far to look for buyers of their produce since the influx of students and visitors will create ready market and more customers.
*√Transportion* The transport sector will be boosted as more buses, taxis and tricycles would ply that route as a result of influx of students and visitors to the community.
*√Tourism;* It is an avenue for the development of hotels and tourism for the community. Prince Ned Nwoko said, “My town will soon be known all over the world because the whole world will soon be visiting for tourism”, (Prince Ned Nwoko Facebook). Therefore, this is the right time for investors in the town to take advantage of this golden opportunity by acquiring plots of land for hotel purposes because visitors to the town will surely need good places to lodge in.
*√Golf Course*; Its ultra modern golf course is an income earner for the community. Prince Ned Nwoko ceded 40℅ shares of the golf course investment to his community. Many thanks to his generosity and magnanimity. After paying for the land and settling farmers, he still thought it wise to give his community an everlasting legacy in an investment he is solely sponsoring.
*✓Transformation*; The community will wear the outlook and trappings of a modern and model city to behold. Institutions like banks , hospitals, libraries, primary and secondary schools shall abound. More infrastructural developments with good access road network will make life easy for its residents. Idumuje Ugboko will no longer be a village setting or jungle as its name (Ugboko) depicts in Enuani dialect, but a city that will glow at all times. Little wonder that Prince Ned Nwoko reacted to his critics this way; “People asked why l am ‘wasting’ billions in a remote town such as Idumuje Ugboko and l smile. After developing my resort centre to a level, my town will become a city. People do not know that tourism develops and empowers a country economically* ( Prince Ned Nwoko Facebook)
- *√Integration*; It will integrate the people of Idumuje Ugboko with the students and visitors coming from various parts of the world. Friendship across cultures will enhance good relationships in different spheres of life. This will enable the visitors to have investment interest and open up the town to the world for greater opportunities.
Having enumerated all these benefits, one wonders why some forces are working against the university. After the ground breaking ceremony was performed on April 3rd, 2018, there have been some extraneous factors militating against it. These factors took their root from the terrorism in the town back in 2017 which led to the destruction of lives and properties.
Enemies of Prince Ned Nwoko see him as a ‘land grabber’ since he took genuine steps to acquire the additional 90 hectares for the golf course which did not go down well to his adversaries. A thorough investigation shows that the whole 90 hectares have Certificate of Occupancy.
Again he was accused of chasing away farmers. Reliable evidences show that no one was chased away. Over N300 million was paid as compensation to farmers and all the agreements documented. The approval for the land went through due process involving all the chiefs and the land allocation committee.
Prince Nonso Nwoko and Mbanefo his brother and ally have been in opposition to Prince Ned Nwoko and his pet project. It was learnt that Prince Mbanefo Nwoko drafted the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). He also recommended two Professors from University of Benin as members of the Project & Implementation Committee. So what went wrong that this same Prince Mbanefo Nwoko has to turn his back on this same project he worked so hard with useful inputs? “He had to support his brother, Prince Nonso Nwoko”, as some will say. Why would Prince Nonso Nwoko kick against such a laudable project whose land was properly acquired and signed by his Late Father, Obi Albert Justin Nwoko III (JP), The King of the Kingdom, the chiefs and the government?
Prince Ned Nwoko who is a seasoned legal luminary with all the wits and money to fight his way decided to choose the path of peace. He initiated the Owa peace process involving the traditional rulers led by Dr. Emmanuel Efeizomor, The Obi of Owa Kingdom. Despite the fact that Prince Nonso Nwoko and cohort started giving conditions for its implementation, Prince Ned Nwoko nevertheless agreed to fix the Comprehensive Secondary School in the town. He sought approval from The State Government to upgrade to an international standard. Though the Governor’s approval is being awaited, opposition and anti-development voices attacked the reform alleging different negative motives
In his capacity and passion for his home town, He has single handedly initiated and completed some projects in the town such as roads repairs and major contribution towards rural electrification. Now that he is building a university in the town which will benefit everyone, all hands must be on deck to make it a reality. The people should look beyond their horizon to be able to see the greater opportunities and benefits which lies ahead of them. They should take a cue from other communities which have exploited the advantages of having private universities cited in their towns.
War is not necessary because it cannot produce result; and warring parties must take advantage of all the peace agreements meant to return sanity to Idumuje Ugboko. If these efforts turn out for good, the entire people and future generations will bless all their leader for their wisdom in bringing positive developments and making it a better place to live.