July 1, 2022 9:57 pm

One Year In Office: Prof Iwe Speaks On The Digitalization And Computerization Of Health Services @MOUAU

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MICHAEL OKPARA UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE, UMUDIKE

A PRESS BRIEFING BY THE VICE-CHANCELLOR, PROFESSOR MADUEBIBISI OFO IWE, CFS HELD ON THE FIRST OF MARCH, 2022, ON THE OCCASION OF HIS ONE YEAR IN OFFICE


“Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!  Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving. And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations”. Psalm 100: 1-5 NKJV
INTRODUCTION
Good morning my colleagues in the University Management team, staff of the University here present, gentlemen of the Press, invited guests, ladies and gentlemen. I am delighted to see you again. Who would believe it is already one year. Time is indeed fleeting – the reason why any good thing we can do to find ourselves on the positive side of history must be done swiftly. Guided by this belief, in the first week of my assumption of office as Vice-Chancellor on March 1, 2021, I set the ball rolling with a tour of the University. I was able to step foot on every part of this institution within one month, and got a lot of insights that have directed our giant strides towards the successes we have recorded so far.


A YEAR OF EXPERIENCE AND IMPACT
Ladies and Gentlemen, the past twelve (12) months have been tough but we are making headway and it pleases me to use this medium to reel out as much as possible all we have achieved within this timeframe.

I have divided my briefing into two major components under which I will be reporting our progress to you – the soft and the hard components. The soft components refer to the things we cannot physically see or touch such as digitalization of University processes and services. Hard components, on the other hand, refer to the things we can see and touch such as structures, equipment etc. Furthermore, bearing in mind that we met just three months ago and I had updated you on some of our achievements then, I will only list out the achievements that were explained at our last meeting and focus more on new developments since then.

Prof Iwe (2nd from left) with top management staff of the University during the event

SOFT COMPONENTS ACHIEVED FROM MARCH TO NOVEMBER 2021
Digitalization of University Processes
Development of a system that fast-tracks the processing of students’ Statement of Results and transcripts handling and issuance
e-Senate
Electronic Students’ Union Government elections
Improvement in the Webometric ranking of the University

Information Dissemination
Revitalization of the University’s information dissemination channels
e-newsletter

Students’ and staff welfare
Extension of open-door approach to the staff of the University
Maintenance of several social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, to facilitate communication between staff and Management of the University
Rehabilitation of 45 air-conditioned vehicles for intra-campus shuttle services
Purchase of a brand-new Ashok Leyland 40-seater air-conditioned bus.

Alumni welfare
Implementation of the MOUAU Agric Graduate Loan Scheme (MAGLS).

Partnerships
Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NiMet and the University.
Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the University and the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA).

Conflict resolution
Resolution of a prolonged dispute between the Michael Okpara UniAgric Microfinance Bank and the University Management.
Resolution of a 5 year trade dispute between the University and Aoen Consults Ltd

Research and innovation
Establishment of a functional, sustainable, excellence-driven and productive research culture, especially in Agriculture, Science, Bio-technology, Engineering and Management.

HARD COMPONENTS ACHIEVED FROM MARCH TO NOVEMBER 2021
Infrastructure development
Fast-tracking of the remobilization back to site of contractors working towards the completion and expansion of the College of Agricultural Economics, Rural Sociology and Extension (CAERSE), the College of Physical and Applied Sciences (COLPAS) and the College of Natural Resources and Environmental Management (CNREM) complexes.

Prof Iwe


Rehabilitation of the University’s Senator Anyim Pius Anyim Auditorium.
Additional works along the existing Olokoro Access road
Construction of erosion control channels
Commercialization
Facilitation of the handing over of the University’s completed Bread and Biscuit Factory
Commissioning of the refurbished and rebranded MOUAU filling station.
Recovery of University’s fish ponds and raising of commercial fish for the University.

Agricultural land and equipment
Clearing of 400 hectares of land for teaching, research and commercial purposes.
Purchase of modern farm equipment through collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
HARD COMPONENTS ACHIEVED AFTER NOVEMBER 2021

Infrastructure development
Projects near completion
Significant teaching, learning, research and innovation are hinged on adequate infrastructure. For this reason, this administration, since November, 2021, has continued with significant infrastructure development– building new structures, as well as completing and expanding existing ones to make them more useful.
Following an approval to complete several abandoned projects under NEEDS Assessment, we have brought four (4) of these projects located around the College of Physical and Applied Sciences (COLPAS) to near completion. They include:
Two (2) hostel blocks
Two (2) classroom blocks
We will continue to do our best to provide more modern lecture halls, classrooms and facilities for teaching and learning in a peaceful and serene environment.

Ongoing projects
Construction of the University store complex,
Construction of a model Post Graduate Students hostel complex
Construction of the Phase 2 of the Centre for Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology (CMBB) complex
Asphalting of one (1) kilometer road towards the Amaoba axis of the University
Furnishing and equipping of COLNAS Laboratory; construction of concrete Island/side benches.
Upgrading and equipping of the laboratory at the University Health Services Department, to run a wider range of medical investigations

Commercialization
The need to augment the funds the University gets from the government cannot be over-emphasized. Money is needed to drive any meaningful development. For this reason, this administration has continued to revisit all the University’s existing commercial doors with the aim of unlocking them all for our common good. Today, our fish farm is functional, following major rehabilitation works by this administration to bring it back to life. It is solely managed by the University and promises significant financial gains for the institution when in full operation.
SOFT COMPONENTS ACHIEVED AFTER NOVEMBER 2021

Successes in accreditation exercises
Academic work is our main business here, and we have recorded stellar achievements in this regard in my first year in office. We successfully hosted accreditation panels after we made significant investments in academic infrastructure to ensure that our various colleges are conducive for teaching, learning and research. Of course, we came out in flying colours with full accreditation for the next 4 years in Adult and Continuing Education, as well as Electrical and Electronics Engineering at the undergraduate level. We also achieved accreditation successes in Agribusiness and Financial Management, which was denied accreditation in the last four years; Banking and Finance; Business Administration; and Marketing, at the postgraduate level.

The accreditation exercise has given us the opportunity to strengthen our programmes and recover Agribusiness which was previously lost. We are now also hopeful that we can expand our admission horizon in the coming admission years due to our successes in the accreditation exercises.
Staff and students’ welfare
We have continued to work with, and on behalf of the staff of this great university. We acknowledge that no matter how excellent our teaching and research may be, an institution like ours is defined by how it relates with its human resources. At a time when this University has witnessed turbulent periods, it has been her staff, both teaching and non-teaching, who have kept the cogs of her wheels spinning.

This administration has also maintained its open-door approach in its relationship with the students of this University. It sees students as the most important resources in the knowledge-transfer sector. Without them, we would not be here. All the aforementioned developments in the area of infrastructure are primarily for the welfare of the students, academically and otherwise.

Further still on our staff, the University is a TETFUND Centre of Excellence in Root Crops Research and Development and affiliated to the Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA). The FARA runs an Agricultural Research and Innovation Fellowship (ARIFA), which projects a Holistic Empowerment for Livelihoods Program (HELP), that responds to the growing need for fit-for-purpose agricultural research for development capacity in Africa. ARIFA aims to produce a new generation of workforce to re-engineer the Africa agri-food sector by applying the Integrated Agricultural Research for Development (IARFD) approach and innovation platform concept to drive agricultural transformation and industrialization on the continent. Our University has keyed into this model with eight (8) of her staff selected for the program and all fully funded by TETFund. Another set of eight (8) fellows were selected later in another round of selections and most of them have finished their course work through virtual module. Meanwhile, as at today, four (4) of our staffs are already in Brazil undertaking their research and the others are poised to travel soon.
Furthermore, from 2021 to date we have thirteen (13) staff on TETFund sponsorship in various Universities across the world. There are 3 of them in Morgan State University, seven from FARA in Brazil and three under Academic Staff Training & Development (2 Bench work, 1 PhD Local).
Digitalization and Computerization of healthcare services
The digitalization and computerization of healthcare services at the Health Service Department of the University is 75% completed. Upon completion of this project before the end of the year, healthcare services will be accessed online, in line with global best practices in healthcare delivery. This means that healthcare delivery to every member of the University community will be easier to access; appointments will be made online and waiting time will be greatly reduced. In addition, clients will also be able to access their doctors and interact with them online. Most importantly, the need for clients to carry cards and files around will be jettisoned.
A thriving financial arm
The fresh air we have brought to the Michael Okpara UniAgric Microfinance Bank and the numerous achievements it blew her way has put her in a state of confidence to continue her operations. The microfinance bank is now positioned to offer world-class, high-tech-driven services to its teeming customers within and outside the University.
Partnerships
There is only so much one can achieve in a University setting like ours without meaningful partnerships. For this reason, most of our engagements are now fashioned in a way that allows fruitful collaborations to develop and flourish. It gladdens my heart to inform you that the successful Convocation ceremony held in November last year is attracting committed friends to the University. Many of our honorary degree awardees have started showing commitment through attracting incentives to the University. We are grateful to them for extending their hands of friendship and partnership to us.
Inaugural and Other Public Lectures
The University’s Inaugural Lecture series has made remarkable progress. All the Professors who have presented their lectures succeeded in making the community relish the idea because of their brilliant presentations. The outputs of the lectures are made public through the media and have become subjects of national discourse.
Success at the All Nigerian Universities Debate, Public Speaking and Quiz Competition
I must mention the success of a contingent of this University at the just concluded All Nigerian Universities Debate, Public Speaking and Quiz Competition held at the University of Illorin, Kwara State, on 14th to 17th February, 2022. Their remarkable performance is a reflection of the caliber of students we train here. Our students’ achievements are the achievements of the University as a whole. The cumulative results of our representatives placed the University as the 3rd best out of 22 participating institutions at the competition, including the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; and the University of Calabar. The feat achieved by these our shinning students elates me even more when considering that a University without an English or Literary department such as ours is competing at the same level and beating their counterparts with requisite departments.
Coming on the heels of that is the performance of our students in games and sports. After a recent Zonal trial held at the University of Calabar on 15th to 19th February, 2022, this University is sending a thirty-man contingent to the next NUGA games scheduled for the University of Lagos from 16th to 27th March this year. They will compete in badminton, chess, table tennis, volleyball, male and female football, scrabbles and male and female taekwondo.
Latest breakthroughs

I am delighted to inform you that we have recorded some significant breakthroughs in healthcare delivery.
A well-equipped surgical theatre has been established at the Health Services Department of the University
The University’s Health Services Department has been accredited by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to perform surgery in obstetrics and gynecology. This means that pregnant women within the University community can now receive world class medical care.

Laurels
While we labored through the first one year to retune and restart the operations of the University, we received some recognitions from here and there. This University was recognized as follows:
Award of achievement in excellent performance in Science, Technology and Innovation by the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, in recognition of the breakthrough of Prof M.C. Ezeibe in his work in addressing viral diseases, including COVID-19.
Award of Excellence in Research and Innovations presented to MOUAU by the Michael Okpara Foundation Prize for Leadership.
Award of Appreciation of Academic Excellence and Leadership presented to Prof M.O. Iwe, Vice-Chancellor MOUAU by the Michael Okpara Foundation Prize for Leadership.

MAJOR BRICKWALLS

Ladies and Gentlemen, this University experienced a significant slowing down in the past year due to adjustment of staff and students following a devastating COVID-19 Pandemic from which the whole world is still recovering. The University also experienced a lot of slowing down due to paucity of funds which is a major brick wall to the University’s desire to change the state of her infrastructure and physical facilities. There is therefore a dire need for a significant infusion of funds for the upgrade of our physical environment, especially when considering that this University is among those Universities that started without a take-off grant from Government. Just to mention also that the University finds herself in a rural environment, making the provision of amenities even more daunting due to the very exorbitant costs of development in such a setting. The deplorable condition of the roads leading to the University is still a monster we are yet to ward off.

Unfortunately, we are also faced with the challenge of low staff co-operation, sabotage by some staff over our programmes and development efforts, and sabotage of our younger trainee staff who after enjoying University sponsorship yet break bonds, refusing to return to serve the University. There is also the problem of lack of leadership/mentorship from our senior staff, who play truancy and even go to the extent of absenting themselves from statutory meetings of the University including such meetings as Senate, where vital academic issues are discussed and decided upon. The problems are indeed multiple and varied, but we are forging ahead.

CONCLUSION

It has been a bittersweet one year I must say, one that accommodated the good, the bad, and the ugly. While we relish the good, we must find ways to confront the bad and the ugly head on, by working hard and diligently, while seeking God’s provision, protection and guidance. Dear friends and colleagues, although we are not there yet, I am optimistic of the years ahead. I say again that we can achieve a lot and be remembered when we are no longer here for reaching beyond ourselves, to overcome the selfish distractions that tie us down; striving for the things that matter; and digging into the inner recesses of the gifts and talents God has given us to serve and promote the interests of this great University and mankind.


I reiterate that the efforts of this administration will be hinged on prudent management, fairness, friendship and partnership, physical development, research and innovation, staff and students’ welfare and Information and Communication Technology. Also, this University under my leadership will continue to pursue its vision of building a knowledge-giving, society-conscious-and-satisfying world-class University; in which competent and committed staff shall consistently produce competent graduates, equipped with entrepreneurial, problem-solving acumen, social skills and capacities.


I want to use this opportunity to warmly acknowledge all those who have been partners in progress and whose actions have been guided by our core values this past year. You give me hope and motivate me to navigate through the daunting tasks ahead.


I must especially thank the media for their relentless support in the past one year. Some of you have gone out of your way to give us good reportage and encouragement even as we have little or nothing to offer for your hard work. I sincerely thank Mr. Leo Chigbo Adieze, the Executive Producer of Hall of Fame on NTA and his crew for making it to this anniversary and for all their contributions towards projecting my administration and this University to the outside world. Please keep it up and continue to hold us accountable to the public.


Finally, I also extend my gratitude to every other person who found time to attend this briefing to hear the much we have achieved in one year, towards repositioning this great citadel of learning and consolidating on the remarkable achievements of previous administrations.


Ladies and gentlemen, I happily invite you to witness the foundation-laying ceremony to mark the commencement of the construction of new blocks of lecture halls and offices for the School of General Studies; the University Central Store building; a model Post Graduate students’ hostel and our University farm road link.
Thank you.

Professor Maduebibisi Ofo Iwe, CFS
Vice-Chancellor

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