-By Joseph Obaro Ikupa: Worldwide Publicity Secretary, AAU Alumni Association
The Worldwide President of the Ambrose Alli University Alumni Association, Dr. Clifford Imade Omozeghian has hailed the Governor of Edo State for his transparency in publicizng the interim report of the Special Intervention Team.
This became necessary in view of the fact that Governor Obaseki invited the AAU Alumni Association and other stakeholders to join him in the brief presentation ceremony which took place at the Government House, Benin City via Zoom.
The Worldwide President, Dr. Omozeghian who joined the meeting via zoom also commended the Special Intervent Team for a job well done, noting that their persistence, doggedness and zeal at ensuring that AAU becomes a better institution is commendable. He urged them not to rest in their oars.
Earlier in his presentation, the Chairman of the Special Intervention Team, Andrew Olotu informed the Governor that they have uncovered a N2b tax evasion fraud in the university. The Committee also stated that their findings reveal that admission, transcript racketeering are big businesses in Ekpoma. Furthermore, there are people encroaching into the university land. There was also the case of a professor who came to the university on a one year sabbatical leave who has continued to earn salary from the university years after the completion of the sabbatical leave.
Obaseki, while receiving the report at the Government House in Benin City, commended the team for their service to the State and contributing their quota in advancing the government’s vision of repositioning the institution to meet global standards.
He said, “The greatest legacy for late Prof. Ambrose Alli is to restore this University back to its glory days and that of his dreams. He never made the University to be an ethnic university but a state university and positioned it as such. The view that the AAU belongs to any group or ethnic group should be canceled immediately. The University belongs to Edo people. It’s Edo State University and the investment is for taxpayers ofEdo State.”
Obaseki continued: “As a government, we have the political will as we are taking a major transformation in our education sector and can do so with our University. We need to clean up the system preparing it for our children coming in.
“I appreciate the professionalism and commitment taken in the assignment by the Special Intervention Team of the AAU. We persuaded most of you to take up this task as it’s an assignment for the state and nation.
“Even though you have not finished the assignment, it’s clear that you have put in a lot of time and commitment to get us where we are today.”
The governor further noted, “Your reports show that there is a criminal aspect in your investigation submitted so far. We don’t have to wait for a full report. That is why I invited the security agencies to commence action and investigation on the criminal aspect of your findings today.”
Reacting to the encroachment of AAU land, Governor Obaseki noted, “In the case of encouragement, we would take our Special Intervention Team to dialogue with those that encroached on the school land and properties to take it back.”
On the issue of the implementation of pension reforms, Obaseki said, “We have to sit down and have a team to go through the figures and have the actual calculations done. Then we set up a plan on how to liquidate the outstanding gratuity and pension.
Speaking on behalf of the AUU SIT, Mr. Austin Osakue thanked the governlfor the opportunity to serve the State, pledging their continued support to the government in repositioning the University.
When contacted about the development, the Ag.Vice Chancellor, Prof. Asomwan Sonnie Adagbonyin said that his administration met the challenges when they came on board about one year and three months ago and has been working in synergy with the Special Intervention Team (SIT) to resolve them.
In his words: “We met most of these problems when my administration came on board a year and three months ago. The AAU Management appreciates the efforts of the SIT in repositioning the Ambrose Alli University.
We and the SIT have always worked in synergy, and it is good to know that the issues itemized in the report are outcomes of shared knowledge and cooperation. Many of the problems have been addressed. Others which still rear their ugly heads, like the issue of transcripts and certificates, are being confronted frontally. Incidentally the past has not been too good for AAU, but with the SIT and the present Management, there is a renewed hope in the future.”