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UNIBEN Vice Chancellor lauds Gov. Godwin Obaseki’s engagement of the Youths with Edo Creative Hub and Edo Tech Park …Promises to defray debts owed the Nigerian Observer

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin, Prof. Lilian Salami has described Edo Creative Hub and Edo Tech Park as positive steps by the Governor Godwin Obaseki’s administration to engage youths in the state and assured of a synergy between the University and the Ministry of Communication and Orientation with the installmental defraying of debts owed the Bendel Newspapers Company Limited, publishers of the Nigerian Observer titles.
Speaking during a working visit of the Edo State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation. Hon Adaze Emwanta to the University of Benin yesterday, the Vice Chancellor congratulated the state governor for believing in the youths.
“I appreciate the fact that the administration recognizes the power of the youth especially in a University of our own level. A University that is at the forefront of the Nigerian University system with a population of over sixty thousand students.
“Engaging them positively will do a whole lot of good to the state. When I listened to the Orientation part of your portfolio, I actually am excited because I know we need a lot of Orientation.
“We cannot do it all in the University and that can also be enhanced with an outfit like yours, with a Commissioner who is very vibrant and who will from time to time engage these students so that they can uphold that energy for constructive activity rather than destructive.”

“With the Edo Creative Hub and Tech Park, these students have all the energy and I am sure they will be more than glad to be involved in all of these and I will also want to witness the town hall meeting so that we can forge ahead with the synergy with the University”, the Vice Chancellor noted.

On the debt the University is owing the Bendel Newspaper Company Limited, publishers of the Nigerian Observer, she said the University is making plans to start the payment, noting that all may not be liquidated at once, but efforts are being made to pay the debt, because in her words, “ I inherit both the liabilities and the assets.”

Earlier, the Edo State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Hon. Adaze Emwanta said on assumption of office he decided to build synergy with all Edo people, adding that it is not a coincidence that the Vice Chancellor is from Edo State.
According to him, “the Governor’s agenda is Making Edo Great Again. We were once a region, Midwest region and it was a very great region. This University started as Midwest institute of Technology and it was one of the institutions people of the Midwest embraced.
Over the years, from Midwest to Bendel and the state was known as number one for sports and Midwest Institute, which later became UNIBEN was one of the main hub for creative arts and just recently, the late Prof Victor Uwaifo, may his soul rest in peace was one of the great creative artists which this institution has produced.

“To that extent I felt there was need for us, if we say we want to Make Edo Great Again to collaborate across board, because the idea is that every staff and student of UNIBEN resides in Edo state. Therefore the task of building this state is a collective one.
“We are all here to serve Nigeria, both those who are from the state and those who reside in the state are all stakeholders. I am here to see how we can build a new relationship, a new partnership, because I will not take for granted the importance of communication and as Commissioner for communication, I want us to bridge that information gap.
“Our people should be given proper orientation on issues of sanitation, irregular migration for students who are planning to travel abroad, because there are lots of opportunities back home that we can leverage upon.”
“We have our Edo Creative Hub which most of the students will be interested in and it will be launched next Saturday in Benin City, within the premises of the Nigerian Observer. There is the Tech Park with about one hundred young people.
“There is a whole lot that the students of the University of Benin can benefit from this initiative by acquiring skills that will be of immense benefit to them. By the time they graduate they will not be looking for white collar jobs, but they themselves will become employers of labour.”

While disclosing a plan by the Ministry of Communication and Orientation to have a town hall meeting, the Commissioner said this will be an opportunity for the students to know what the government is doing.
He also informed the Vice Chancellor of the debt owed the Nigerian Observer by previous administrations of the University, which constitute the internally generated revenue of the state government.

“For us to Make Edo Great Again requires money, as most of the infrastructural works going on need money for proper execution. Kindly use your good offices to ensure that the debt of about N12. 6 million is paid to make Edo Great Again.”

“When I came in as Commissioner and I did a facility tour of the Nigerian Observer, I discovered that the printing machine being used was acquired by Former governor Samuel Ogbemudia in 1968. But today, luckily, Governor Obaseki has bought a brand new press and we are going to be having a new Nigerian Observer.
“The new Nigerian Observer can print out tabloids, newspapers and for academics who are interested in printing books, you now have a new place in Nigeria, because the press in the Nigerian Observer is the best and no newspaper house has that kind of press.”

“What the former Nigerian Observer could do in one month is what this present press can do in one hour. That is where we are getting to with technology and the Edo State Government will be very grateful if the debts are defrayed even though you did not incur all of them” he added.