At last, the great vision and burning desire of Rt. Hon. (Prince) Ned Munir Nwoko to build a university, has received the final seal of endorsement as the National Universities Commission, NUC has given approval for the former member, who  represented Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, from 1999-2003, to commence construction work on the laudable project.

But, alas, the Idumuje Ugboko community, where the university is to be located, has apparently lost out on a great opportunity to own a major stake in the proposed STARS UNIVERSITY and be a part of this historic legacy, as a result of petitions written by some indigenes of Idumuje Ugboko, raising allegations of illegal land grabbing by the former lawmaker, for the purpose of building the University.

An official letter, by the NUC, dated 3rd November, 2017, in response to a formal application to commence construction of the project, and signed by, Alhaji Abdullahi Hamza, Director of Establishment of Private Universities, on behalf of the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, has already been despatched to the Promoter of the proposed Stars University, Prince Ned Nwoko Foundation, which has alslo concluded plans to commence the development of the proposed institution immediately with the aim of starting full academic and administrative operations in the 2018-2019 session.

Disclosing these and other revealing facts during an exclusive parley with members of the Delta Online Publishers Forum, DOPF, in the Tower of his picturesqude, exotic countryhome in Idumuje Ugboko, a visibly excited Prince Ned Nwoko, in the company of his very senior campaign strategist and organizer, Mr. Chike Henry Okolo, displayed authentic documentations, certified building plans and comprehensive reports, including the Draft Masterplan for the university prepared by consultants and other  experts approved by the NUC, the Geotechnical Investigation report, the Environmental Impact Assessment,  EIA report and the Academic Brief for operations, amongst others, to underline the fact that tremendous work had been put into ensuring that no stone was left unturned in the effort to actualize the legacy project.

Speaking further, Hon. Ned had informed the newsmen that, in keeping with his avowed pledge to bring development to Idumuje Ugboko and provide a self sustaining project that would guarantee employment for generations of youths for many years, he had formally approached the former paramount ruler of the kingdom and his council of chiefs for additional land to add to his already acquired space, particularly for the purpose of building a standard Golf Course to compliment the University, when completed.

The community, according to Prince Ned Nwoko, had called a General meeting (Izuani) and insisted on three principal conditions namely; compensation to the farmers of the land to be appropriated, 40% share-holding stake in the project and revocation of the land if the project does not commence after 4 years. A Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, was then signed with the community, with all the terms agreed and he went to the NUC to secure a Certificate of Occupancy C/O in the name of the university and provide the necessary bank guarantee for funding the project in line with NUC requirements.

It was at this point however, that some persons, including those whom Prince Ned described as “My cousins” started writing petitions and raising allegations of land grabbing, all of which threatened to derail his efforts, but because “I have a purpose and mission and will get to the end of it” continued the former lawmaker, he opted to overlook the distractions and continue the university project with his already existing land, which prompted him to write to the NUC for the approval that was graciously granted on November 3, directing the Prince Ned Nwoko Foundation to commence work with the hectres of land  already in his name, thus effectively nullifying the MOU signed with the community and by implication ensuring the forfeiture of 40% share-holding stake of Idumuje Ugboko kingdom in STARS University, when completed and fully operational. (See letter from NUC attached).

STARS University, which stands for Sports Technology, Art and Science University when fully established, will be not only be the first Sports University in Africa, but will also have the added advantage of providing an academic platform for combined Honnours in Sports Technology and other Disciplines, an exciting new frontier in academics, which the NUC is willing to embrace and explore with the University to be located in Idumuje Ugboko.

The University project, which will equally have the additional faculties to provide administrative skills for Nigerians in the area of sports development, sports administration, sports technology and indeed a strong bias for sports professionally, has already been earmarked to create both direct and indirect employment for over 2000 people, with its multiplier effect of serving as an established employment structure when completed and operational. The university will equally provide the platform for the ease of access to qualitative higher education for the teeming youths of Idumuje-Ugboko in particular, Delta State and Nigeria at large.

Speaking further on his desire to build the university, the distinguished legal luminary, who has also declared his intention to contest for the Delta North Senatorial seat in the 2019 General elections, under the Umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said: “I have a passion to develop sports and make it a worthy heritage for Deltans. I also want to leave a legacy for human capital development that will harness the physical and intellectual capabilites of the young ones. My passion for institutional development is driven by my desire to render meaningful service to the society.

“I believe that we were all created to follow our own individual paths and this University is my own way of trying to make sure that all that I have acquired will not go to waste but will be fully harnessed and utilized for the good of the people for generations to come,” he said emphatically.

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