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From the punctuality of the Provost, to the staff turn up, to the wellworded inaugural speech of the Provost, everything looked new when Dr Justina Anyadiegwu, the new Provost of Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe held her first interactive session with members of the College staff.

The interactive session which kicked off with an opening prayer said by Rev. Fr Obidinnu Vincent, witnessed an unusual staff turn up as the auditorium was filled to brim.

In her inaugural address, the Provost thanked God, the executive governor of Anambra State and the previous administrations of the College. I her exact words, she said: “I stand before you today grateful, first and foremost to my Creator, the Almighty
God Who holds my life and my destiny. My appointment as the Provost of this
College at this point in time is part of what He has destined for me. I am simply
but a pencil in His hands; and on stage in this life playing out His script for me.
Therefore, I return every praise and glory for everything I have ever received in
my life to God the Almighty. To Him be glory forevermore! Amen.
Since this is my first inaugural address to this College congregation, I want to use this medium also to convey my heartfelt appreciation to Mr Governor, His Excellency, Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo, for appointing me to this position, despite the numerous options available to him, and the stiff oppositions and pressures from some individuals and groups within and outside our institution. I assure Mr Governor that I am committed to delivering on the mandate entrusted
to me. Also, there would not have been a College for me to be appointed Provost if successive management of this College have not laboured to sustain our College. Hence, I express my deepest gratitude to my predecessors for their dedication, sacrifices and resilience which have kept our institution afloat. Their tireless efforts in managing our lean resources to meet up with the recurrent and capital expenditures are highly commendable”.

Continuing her address, the Provost thanked her staff for their selfless sacrifices and unwavering commitment towards the discharging their duties. She also lauded them for their massive turn up during the matriculation exercise and now. She reminded them her commitment to time management and urged them to continue to be time conscious as well as ensure professionalism, integrity, hard work and dedication in their respective offices.

Speaking on the challenges bedeviling the College, the Provost listed the following:

a. Delayed payments of staff salaries and emoluments
b. Low student enrollment owing to decreasing popularity of the NCE
programme in the southeast
c. Exploitative affiliation relationship with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka
resulting in capital flight from NOCEN to UNN and the stifling of whatever
IGR that could accrue from it.
d. High inflation rate in the country resulting in over stretching of our meagre
resources; and not meeting up with overhead cost.
e. Huge running costs; leaving open loopholes for financial drainage.
f. Non deployment of technology in administrative procedures, and some
academic and financial activities.
g. Unrealistic low school fees obtainable in the College for the past 10 years
as against other institutions.
h. Lack of effective and exhaustive entrepreneurial enterprises for IGR.
i. Lack of global visibility of the College resulting in non-existing
partnership, collaboration and linkages with local and foreign
organizations, agencies and institutions.
j. Poor security architecture in the College resulting in constant vandalisation
of material resources.
k. Very poor attitude to work by staff owing to lack of knowledge of
administrative procedures, work ethics and conduct.

The Provost however revealed that she has developed a blueprint for tackling the challenges both on long and short term basis. Speaking further on this, she stated that boosting revenue generation, and conserving of funds, giving the College visibility, exploring low-cost avenues for affiliation relationships, deployment and incorporation of ICT in administrative process and academic activities, training and retraining of staff on administrative skills and ethics among others, will certainly address the problems threatening the College.

In the fourteen-page Inaugural Address, the Provost relayed her vision to the College staff, stressing that ethics, visibility and viability are cardinal to realising it.

Again, she heaped praises on Mr Governor for appointing the Board of the College Governing Council headed by Dr Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, to assist the College in overcoming the challenges facing it.

She also encouraged the College staff to add physical exercise and farming to the list of what they do as the importance of each one of them cannot be downplayed.

She ended by calling on every staff, and union chairpersons of SSUCOEN and COEASU for cooperation and collaboration in order to take the College to enviable heights.

Reacting to the inaugural address, the College chapter chairman of COEASU, Mr C Nwabunze lauded the Provost for her thoughtfulness and prayed that the interactive session be made a culture in the College to enable constant rubbing of minds for continuous growth and development of the College.

In her own remarks, the SSUCOEN chairman of the College, Mrs Chioma thanked the Provost for her clear road map towards tackling the challenges facing the College. She described the Provost’s words as “soothing” and assured her of SSUCOEN’s unalloyed support.

Dr Ndụ Azubuike also thanked the Provost. In his words, he said: “…and I want to appreciate you specially for being sincere to say that we are navigating the murky waters in this College.” He prayed that the Provost helps the College to fully navigate the murky waters for the overall benefit of the College. He also pleaded with the Provost to consider the construction of good access roads within the College.

The Dean Students’ Affairs, Dr. Law Egbomuche praised the Provost as youthful and capable to work with energy as expectedly she has begun already. However, he differed on the College needs with Mr. Ndụ Azubuike, begging the Provost to prioritize salary payments against construction of roads in the College. He cited the high cost of things as a big threat to salary earners like the College staff.

Mrs Chinwe Nebolisa of Business Education called on every staff to think out of the box for the betterment of the College. Quoting John F. Kennedy, she urged every staff to be more concerned with the thoughts of what to do for the College and not what the College will do for them. She thanked the Provost for her passion towards the growth and development of the College.

The Provost, in her reactions, urged everyone to acknowledge that the College is in dire financial needs, stressing that owing salaries is not a deliberate act. She enjoined everyone to remain steadfast and committed with the belief that breakthrough is already peeped at the end of the tunnel. She thanked the College staff for their support so far and encouraged them to keep it up.

The interactive session came to an end when Ven. Dr C.C Chukwurah said the closing prayer.

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