The Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, ordered immediate investigations into the financial and fixed asset-related issues militating against the operations and management of the Ambrose Ali University(AAU), Ekpoma, on receipt of the interim report presented by the Special Intervention Team (SIT) on Wednesday, May 10th 2023, at the Edo State Government House, Benin City.
Obaseki, while commending members of the SIT for their outstanding performance in repositioning the institution back to operational efficiency, noted that such commitment was only possible due to their willing desire to change the narrative in the state’s education sector having nothing to do with financial inducements.
Obaseki said: “I want to, on behalf of the Government of Edo State, appreciate the vigour, professionalism, and commitment that you have undertaken so far in your assignment as members of the State’s Special Intervention Team of the Ambrose Ali University.
He further added that “You can recall very vividly when we persuaded most of you to take on this assignment and appealed to you that this is an assignment for the state and the whole country, and there is no amount of money we can pay you to do what the state requires of you.
“I want to state that even though you have not finished the assignment, it is clear that you have put in enough time; you have sacrificed quite a lot; your time, your person, your convenience, to get us to where we are today”. He stated.
Meanwhile, Governor Godwin Obaseki added, “Your report shows a criminal aspect in your submitted investigation. We don’t have to wait for a complete report. That is why I invited the security agencies to commence action and investigation on the criminal aspect of your findings today.
Addressing the encroachment issue on the school’s land and properties, Obaseki noted: “On the encroachment issue, we would ask our Special Intervention Team to dialogue with those that encroached on the school’s land and properties to take them back.
“Please, you can write to us since we have a committee and a law in place now on protecting private properties so that we can take the cases concerning those properties to court and start the process”. Governor Obaseki also insisted that only staff who have worked will get their remunerations as the ‘No Work No Pay’ policy adopted by the state will not allow the payment of anyone who has not worked.
“I state it publicly to you here now that anybody who has not worked can never get paid, and if anyone of them wants to hold us to ransom, then we are prepared as a government to take them on. For those who have not undertaken biometrics and all of that, I would want to have a private discussion with you on what we need to do”, the Governor stressed.
Addressing the pension issue in AAU, Governor Obasseki noted that they would work out a plan. “For the issue of pension implementation, we need to sit down and have a team go through the figures. We need to have data through our calculations like we have done for the state and put a plan on how to liquidate the outstanding gratuities and pensions”, Obaseki said.
Governor Obaseki further stated that the people should discard the view that AAU belongs to any group or ethnic group. He stated that the University belongs to the people of Edo State.
According to Governor Godwin Obaseki, “The greatest legacy or respect for the legacy of the late Professor Ambrose Ali is to restore this University to its glory days and that of his dreams. He never made the University to be an ethnic university but a state university, and he positioned it as such”.
Comrade Austin Osakue, who presented the report on behalf of the SIT, thanked the Governor for considering members of the SIT fit and capable of delivering transformation to the institution.