Former Governor of Rivers State, High Chief Peter Odili, celebrates the successful building of a private medical science university in Nigeria, PAMO University of Medical Sciences, which is sighted in Rivers State.
At the opening ceremony, Odili observed that history was being made on three fronts. He noted that PAMO University of Medical Sciences is the first private university of medical sciences to be established in Nigeria. He observed that the tertiary institution sets a record in being the university that took the shortest time to plan and establish, adding that it took only 11 months from submission of “letter of intent” to the granting of an operating licence by the Federal Government. He also mentioned that PAMO University of Medical Sciences is the first private university of any type to be established in Rivers State. Odili acknowledged that some States in the federation have as many as 16 private universities.
Odili emphasized that the new medical university symbolizes the birth of the product of the convergence of two Histories, which indicated to imply the history of “preparedness” and the story of “opportunity”.
The former Rivers Governor remarked that the historic and landmark event of the commencement of the first Private University of Medical Sciences in Nigeria is the outcome of two providential occurrences. He narrated that in 1989, they purchased the 21 acres land from two Elelenwo families for the building of a ginger processing factory and an infusion manufacturing plant.
“Then over the years, this land transited to a Centre for the training of traditional birth attendants, further migrated to a skills acquisition and youth/teenage pregnancy reorientation and rehabilitation centre through the Providential inspirational motivation of Justice Mary Odili (JSC) and her associates under the operations of The Adolescent Project (TAP). This venue has also played host to the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) and ‘Youths With a Mission’ programs,” Odili highlighted.
The former governor recalled that events leading to the emergence of the university began from 19th December, 2016, when he met a stranger, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, the Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), at the Abuja International Airport, courtesy of four hours delayed flight to Enugu.
According to Odili, “That ‘stranger’ introduced himself, a conversation ensued and that became the starting point of a providential journey that has led to the birth of Nigeria’s first Private University of Medical Sciences.”
He remarked that Prof. Rasheed has shown, through this project and the processes leading to the event, that there are still in this country, true patriots devoid of the primordial, divisive and selfish tendencies that have kept Nigerians down as a people over the years.
He observed that Prof. Rasheed is a Northern Muslim; not in the medical profession, and they had never met before, yet, he walked up to them feeling that there was the possibility that they could contribute to the growth and development of the medical education sector.
“He neither considered ethnicity, tribe, religion or geography. He wanted what could bring about improvement for Nigeria and Nigerians in medical education using his position as an opportune channel to do so without any nepotic or self-serving sentiments,” Odili declared.
The former governor further celebrated: “God provided the land in 1989 and presented Prof. Abubakar Rasheed in 2016.”
Odili also acknowledged that the determined leadership of the Chairman and Members of the Board of Trustees (BOT), their unquantifiable support and contributions facilitated the setting up of a most efficient Planning and Implementation Committee (PIC) led by Prof. Linus Ajabor and filled by a team of professionals who rose to the very tasking challenge of delivering the fastest processing of a private university in the history of the NUC, without cutting any corners.
He also acknowledged the competent, detailed and assiduous teams of the Standing Committee for Private Universities (SCOPU) and the “Directorate for Establishment of Private Universities” (DEPU) for their thoroughness and fastidious insistence on compliance to the rules and regulations guiding the process. The former governor commended Prof. A. Essien and Director A. Hamza and their teams for subjecting them to their gruesome tests with pleasantness that helped to reduce the stress of the drilling.
Odili disclosed that with the commencement of the University now settled, the Chancellor and Members of the Board of Trustees (BOT) have commenced the setting up of an effective and hands-on Governing Council that will pilot the affairs of the University, through the Principal Officers.
“Competent and disciplined intellectuals are being assembled to teach our students, carefully selected on merit. This is the combination that we believe will give us the expected result of producing graduates that will make a difference in knowledge, character and attitude. Graduates that will ‘stand out’ in excellence and be the new faces of medical services – proud products of PAMO University of Medical Sciences (PUMS),” he declared.
The former governor outline some disciplinary measures that could help the university achieve its goals. These include: “all students must be selected on merit; all students must be resident in campus; no student cars will be allowed on campus; Students will not be free to stroll in and out of campus at will; visitors will not be allowed to stroll in and out of campus at will; there will be dress code for lectures and official functions, for both staff and students; There will be zero tolerance for cultism and related vices for both staff and students.”
He solicited the cooperation of all parents and guardians to ensure full compliance, warning that there will be no compromises.
Odili further revealed that there will be full scholarship for six qualified INDIGENT students, orphans, every year from any part of Nigeria. He maintained that the school authorities would be encouraged to establish linkages in Nigeria and abroad, with established and reputable universities.