The Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has taken full autonomy of Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma in the State, making it possible for the visitor to the institution to hire or fire any principal officer found wanting without any interference.
The new law was passed by the State House of Assembly, empowers him to intervene in the administration of the institution which has been enmeshed in crisis.
After signing the bill at the Government House in Benin City on Monday, Obaseki assured that he would take all the required steps that would enable the state government to reposition the state University.
He said: “I want to thank you for the support you have shown by passing the amendment to the Ambrose Alli University Act of 1999, empowering the visitor to intervene with the aim of repositioning Ambrose Alli University.
“Just like all of us in Edo have witnessed, the sad and unfortunate situation that has engulfed the premium state university, which emblazed that trail in terms of academic excellence in this country when it was established 40 years ago.
“Unfortunately, in the last decade or so, the performance of our university has fallen below the expectations of our founding fathers and our own expectations.
“With the amendment that you have graciously enacted, the visitor now has the full authority, without encumbrance of the law, to now undertake a surgical cleansing of our university. Be rest assured that we will take all the required positive steps to reposition AAU to become that centre of learning, which our founding fathers meant it to be.”
He continued: “We are going to put in place, a proper governance structure, accountability and transparency in the management of the affairs of the Ambrose Alli University; that university is our pride.”
On his part, Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Marcus Onobun, noted, “We are here this evening to present a Special Intervention Bill conferring the powers of special intervention on Ambrose Alli University.
“The bill was passed by the seventh Assembly conferring on you, the visitor to Ambrose Alli University, the power to intervene on the crisis that is rocking the University.
“Members of the State Assembly looked at the bill extensively, with hope and confidence in your ability as the governor to intervene and bring about serious educational reforms that will make the state university a very competitive one in the sub-Sahara institution.
In October 2020, the State Government set up a a fact-finding visit by the visitation panel to look into the activities of the Management of the institution led by its substantive Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ignatius Onimawo.
But the panel ran into troubled water shortly after it began its assignment over the roughshod the Vice Chancellor and officials of Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) in the school who accused the Management of mismanagement of public funds and incompetence.
While the brinkmanship over the challenge of funding and regular payment of workers salaries persist, lecturers in the institution declared indefinite strike, thereby compounding the problems of Staff of the institution and its students who were recently assured by the Government that assured them reprieve.
It is believe that Governor Obaseki recent move would bring a sigh of relief and restore sanity to the institution which was founded by the governor of the defunct Bendel State, late Ambrose Alli.