I COME IN PEACE WITH OUR COLLECTIVE DEVELOPMENT AS MY AGENDA. INAUGURAL SPEECH ON ASSUMPTION OF OFFICE/THANKSGIVING SERVICE PRESENTED BY DR. PHILIPS NTO, THE PROVOST, ABIA STATE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION (TECHNICAL), AROCHUKWU (ASCETA) ON TUESDAY, THE 8TH DAY OF MARCH, 2016. Protocols:
My appointment as Provost of this College could not have come at a better time than now. During my tenure as Hon Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning, I really agonized over the condition of this school. I was touched in more ways than one, especially as ASCETA is located in my home local government area. More so as a member of the academic Community. Without knowing that I will be here one day, I got government to increase the monthly subvention from N19m to N24m. As a teacher, I think I know where it pains most. My father was a teacher and my mother too. Both reached the pinnacle of their profession at their own time. And I hope to be true to this noble profession. My esteemed colleagues and comrades, I believe that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu sent me here for a purpose. Nothing happens by chance. I would like you to join me to express our gratitude to him for this unique opportunity which calls for service and dedication to the academic and infrastructural upliftment of ASCETA. Since my appointment, I have received several unsolicited pieces of advice on how to move this institution forward. Some are genuinely concerned with what they believe to be the retarded growth of the school. Others on the other hand are anxious for us to succeed in redefining technical education and entrepreneurial studies in such a way as to justify the vision of the founding fathers of the school. May I immediately declare that I don’t have a monopoly of knowledge. May I also declare that I don’t believe in blame games. Arising from these honest declarations, suffice it to say that collectively, we shall make ASCETA a model in the production of middle level manpower in Nigeria. Fate has therefore brought all of us together to work together for the betterment of all of us and this school and our dear State. In working together, we should not lose sight of the fact that we are here because of our students. If we don’t have any student, there won’t be any lecturer. There won’t be any cleaner and there won’t be any Provost. The students, under the current administration shall be treated as kings and queens. For inexplicable reasons, we don’t have them enough. That is one of our challenges which goal would be to increase students’ enrolment. I am sure that you know that the more students we have, the more staff we employ and the more the economy of the school would grow. In as much as our students would be a priority, we shall not lose sight of the fact that the sheep are as good as the shepherd. Unfortunately, the morale of our staff has not been too high, owing mainly to lack of adequate care in terms of welfare. As a result, the productivity has been abysmally low. A highly motivated workforce that will give its best is what I envisage for the College in the days ahead. Within available resources, we shall ensure prompt payment of salaries and other allowances as a means of gaining your trust and loyalty. I believe strongly that a labourer deserves his wages. I am also of the strong belief that the most effective way of enforcing discipline is when the management discharges its responsibilities to the admiration of all. However, this current management will not condone any act of laziness, corruption, indolence and sundry misconduct that will tend to subvert the vision of the College. We shall be decisive in our approach to turn around the Institution. We shall be open and transparent. But above all, we shall listen to the people. As you know, communication is a very important tool in establishing and sustaining a robust relationship, I shall be open to suggestions on ways of making this school better. I shall maintain an open door policy whereby every staff and student will have access to me without compromising our principles and basic discipline. I believe that in so doing, we shall eliminate gossip and other vices that act as a wedge to the development of this citadel of learning. My dear colleagues and students, education is one of the pillars of the five point agenda of Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration. Unknown to many of us, ASCETA is pivotal to the realization of this agenda through a resourceful and sagacious management of human and material resources available to us. We must look for ways of increasing our internally generated revenue without necessarily increasing fees payable by students. In fact we shall reduce fees payable by students. However, going by the current economic meltdown which has adversely affected oil revenue in Nigeria, we must find ways of increasing our IGR to support our operations. In this regard, we shall explore academic linkages and other collaborative initiatives with the corporate world in order to attract revenue to the school. In fact, a Centre for College Advancement and Linkage Programme will be created. Above all we shall open up the school to the outside world by maximising the use of ICT and other digital processes that drive global education. Also, as part of that initiative, we shall immediately establish a Centre for Entrepreneurship and Continuing Education to domesticate courses and programmes to our rural economy as well as making them relevant to our immediate community. In this regard, this centre shall commence the training of artisans with a view to awarding them certificates which in turn will make them employers of labour rather than job seekers. The details shall be communicated to the Academic Board for fine-tuning and implementation. I have also observed that the infrastructure base of the school is not what it ought to be. We shall focus on the physical transformation of this campus with the attendant social facilities that will enliven the environment. We need to mutually develop both the mind and the body. A graduate of this institution must be an all-rounder to justify the certificate he/she receives at the end of the study. I deliberately decided that our take off point should be a thanksgiving service where we shall hand over this school to God. All of us gathered here are God’s creations. Without Him, we are nothing. If we sincerely entrust Him with our cares and concerns, He will surely lead us to an expected end. In this case our expected end in ASCETA is DEVELOPMENT. If you believe, let me hear a resounding AMEN! Thank you and God bless you real good.