The idea of establishing Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) Port Harcourt by the then Chief Melford Obene Okilo (of blessed memory) was to address the issue of the educationally disadvantage status of the state. Many indigent Rivers sons and daughter who were being denied provisional admissions into universities in other parts of the country were being given admission to study their choice courses.
The new university became a catalyst of development as it began to produce highly needed manpower to fill vacant positions in the ministries and other companies.
Apart from its ability to meet the noble dreams of its founders, Rivers State University of Science and Technology assumed an enviable place as the primer university of Science and Technology I the Country and became a golden attraction not only to Nigeria but across the shoed of Nigeria.
The institution according to records, had produced graduates who made waves in Nigeria law schools, academic researches and many other contests. Surprise to say that RSUST was never regarded as a second class university in Nigeria inspite the fact that it was owned by the state.
The success story of the premier University of Science and Technology opened the floodgate for other Science and Technology universities owned by other states in the federation and by extension the Federal Government as they saw more need to establish such institution for their accelerated technological advancement.
But today, this story has turned sour. The exemplary standard being shown by the institution appear to have given way to decay occasioned by crises at various levels of management. Climax of this sordid story was the closure of this university of pride by the senate due to recent protest by the students and lecturers.
The present state of Rivers State university has become a source of worry to some Rivers indigenes and other quarters who have severally raised their voice on the issue.
But of these concerned quarters, the issue appear to poss more concern to the Alumni Association of the institution. In an interview with Capus Insight, the National President of Rivers State University of Science and Technology Alumni Association, Dr. Hyke E. Ochia (JP) said the present situation of things in the institution has become most disturbing to its alumni.
“If we are not concerned, then who should be? We are major stake holders and it is our duty to monitor and see things go well with almamatan” he said.
“If Rivers State University of Science and Technology goes instinct, our certificates will be questionable both here in Nigeria and outside the country,” he continued.
He said the institution has produce a lot of personal occupying high position of trust as Ministers, Deputy Governors, Commissioners, captains of industry and initially in all fields of endeavours and expressed the urgent need for a turn around.
“The aim of the Alumni is not for social gatherings but mainly to create identity for our school and give it a positin it should be in the society and amongst other universities,” he maintained.
On the effort of the alumni towards solving the crises rocking the institution, he said that the alumni the institution, he said that the alumni was instrumental to the resolution of the strike during the Academic Staff Union of Universities emboglio.
He explained that though the ASUU strike was a national one but that several internal forces and wrangling existed and that the alumni association involve very actively in talking to the students, lecturers, the senate and the Rivers State government on how move the institution from the crisis threatening its existence as Premier University of Science and Technology in Nigeria.
Inspite the national strike by ASUU, Dr. Ochia noted that the institution has been engulfed by internal disaffection which borders mainly on welfare.
We know this was in the offing but e thought that the management would be able to sort it out until now that they went on strike.
The alumni boss further stated that the senate addressed most of the issues that were the bone of contention adding that were the bone of contention adding that the association is worried that after consultations with the students who assured them that every thing was okay, the school still remained closed.
In its 7th National summit and convention tagged ‘The Gathering of the Whales” held at Landmark Hotels Port Harcourt on Friday 20th November, the association came up with a communique on its stand on the present impasse in the university.
The communiqué which was signed by the National President Dr. Hyke Ochia and James Chuku, Chairman, communiqué Drafting committee and made available to campus Insight, applauded the magnanimity and what it described as unprecedented funds allocation to the University by the Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon Chibuike Amaechi, and pleaded with him to use his good offices to restore sanity in the affairs of the institution.
On the part of the management, the association urged the management to expedite action to ensure that students academic programmes are not distorted especially as it relates to students results and their subsequent participation in the National Youths Service Programmes.
The association which frowned at the continued closure of the school to students after three months of ASUU national strike and urges the senate of the University to take urgent steps to ensure that normal academic activities resume soonest on campus.
The association expressed delight with the present reformatory activities on physical infrastructure and academic programmes in the university and pleaded with the university management to give it a human face.
On the call for the removal of the present vice chancellor of the institution, Prof Banene Fakae, he President said it was not for the students or anybody but for the visitor of the institution who is the governor of the state to choose who should be the vice chancellor of the institution and expressed confidence in the wisdom of the governor in carrying out its duties.