The Executive Governor of Rivers State, Nyeson Ezenwo Wike, CON has assured a grant of 500 million Naira to support the development of the new PAMO University of Medical Sciences which is the first Private University in the State.

Speaking at the installation of Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar GCFR, as the 1st Chancellor of the University recently, the governor also disclosed that the state government would enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with PUMS “where we will be committed to sponsoring 100 Rivers State students in the University annually for the next five years.”

According to Governor Wike, “todays event there given us the opportunity to express our leader, Dr. Peter Odili, CON, GSSR for completing the rituals for the take off of this unique institution and making yet another invaluable contribution in his life’s time to an important player in the tertiary education system of our nation.”

Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed said that with very limited space in Medical education in Nigerian Universities and with very high demands and competition for those limted spaces, “it is a strategic move by the FEC late last year to approve the establishment of six new private Universities including two private medical universities in Nigeria – the PAMO University of Medical Sciences, Port Harcourt and the EKO university of medical sciences, Lagos.”

Prof. Rasheed said that “we at the NUC salute the commitment and Vision of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Hon. Minister of Education Mal. Adamu Adamu for tking the necessary measures to provide more qualitative and accessible education in Nigeria as encapsulated in the Ministerial Strategic Plan 2016-2019.

He said that one of the pillars of the Ministerial Action Plan was the encouragement of private investment in higher education, particularly University education, adding that “this explains why there are today total of  161 universities in Nigeria, 74 of which are privately owned, including two specialised universities of medicine, the first of which is the PAMO University of Medical Sciences.”

The NUC Scribe said that the Commission was very happy with seriousness of the father and founder of PAMO University. “We are happy that from its conception to its delivery, PAMO Univesity took less than one year.”

In his speech, former Head of State and pioneer Chancellor of the University, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar , GCFR,  expressed appreciation for the role of private universities in providing access to quality university education for teeming Nigerian youths who aspire to attain such education.

He noted that over the last decades, Nigeria had witnessed a phenomenal growth of private universities due to the inability of public universities to cater for the high demand for university education, most especially in the Medical Sciences.

He further disclosed that recent reports indicated that less than 5% of qualified candidates were able to gain admission into Medical programmes in Nigerian universities, which had led to the out flux of many students to neighbouring African countries to seek for such education.

He said that the challenge of access had contributed to inadequate number of medical practitioners in Nigeria, pointing out that the recent Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria Examination witnessed a mass failure of foreign trained medical practitioners.

He however noted that poor quality medical education had been the topmost reason for the rising cases of medical tourism among Nigerians, adding that billions of naira were spent annually in foreign countries to treat ailments which could have been easily treated in Nigeria if there were to be adequately qualified medical doctors in the country.

He said that the university was set to produce graduates in different medical fields that would not only be competent in their professions but also be entrepreneurial, ICT driven and worthy in character and learning.

Gen. Abububakar also emphasised the role of education to the socio-economic and political development of the nation, stressing that the inevitable contributions of the private sector cannot be overemphasised.

He then called on the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), to work out modalities of extending support to privately owned educational institutions as part of its responsibility in financing education in Nigeria.

He further noted that with the revolutionary trend in ICT, the world had witnessed a tremendous development in the mode of delivery of education and learning at all levels. He therefore, called on the National Universities Commission to as a matter of urgency, review the requirements for the establishment of private universities considering the nature of mono-discipline and city-based institutions like PAMO University of Medical Sciences. He also enjoined other states of the federation including the host Rivers state and other stakeholders, to support the university in achieving its goals.

Delivering his address, the founder and Pro-Chancellor of the University and former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, expressed delight that the university had set the pace as the first private medical university in Nigeria.

He said that the university came as painstaking efforts from humble beginnings and would continue to strive towards ensuring that the products of the institution stood out in achieving excellence in medical practice and service to humanity.

He reiterated that inadequate number of medical and health practitioners in the country was part of the reasons that necessitated the established of the specialised university.

The founder said that the main goal of the university was to provide a platform that would contribute towards ensuring quality medical education and health care delivery in Nigeria and the West African sub region.

He stressed that the University would promote hardwork with the provision of annual scholarship for six qualified indigent students and orphans from any part of Nigeria and also promote linkages with Nigerian experts and academics in the diaspora.

He also explained that the University would ensure that all admissions were based on merit and strict adherence to discipline and moral standards.

He said that the licensing of the university and its eventual take off called for the appointment of reputable and distinguished Nigerians into key positions, which had led to the appointment of Gen. Abubakar as the Chancellor, due to his antecedents as an elder statesman.

Dr. Odili also expressed appreciation to the Honourable Minister of Education, Mal. Adamu Adamu and the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Prof. Abubakar A. Rasheed for their invaluable support and guidance towards achieving such a laudable goal. He also expressed appreciation to other stakeholders who had in one way or the other, contributed to the successful commencement of the University.