By Tony Adibe
The Vice Chancellor of Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, Rev Fr Prof Christian Anieke has described the European Business Park, and Center of Practical Skills built in the University as “bridge building projects.”
Prof Anieke said that with these projects, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development, the private investors, the German and Austrian governments have built a “long bridge of human interaction and development, connecting Europe and Nigeria in a fascinating fashion.”
The Vice Chancellor recalled that five years ago, the GO-UNI drive for connectivity took him to a conference of Heads of African countries and top business managers organised in Vienna, Austria by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development, and the Austrian Government.
Rev Fr. Prof Anieke, who spoke during the official opening of the GO-UNI European Business Park and Centre for Practical Skills at the permanent site, Ugwuomu Nike Campus, Emene Enugu, said that the discussion in that international conference was centred on a new approach to the challenges of migration in Europe.
“There was a unanimously accepted proposal for job creation and employment opportunities in Africa as a good solution to stem the tide of migration,” recalled Prof Anieke, who added: “That was the birth of the GO University-European Business Park. The Park is one of our ESME projects (Eco-social Mark Economy), which includes our Centre of Practical Skills (CoPS) and Start-Up Project.”
He said that GO-UNI regarded its GO University-European Business Park as an unambiguous expression of its connectivity to the world of industry, which the University began to pursue by hosting the first ever town-and-gown assembly in a Nigerian university. He emphasised that the Business Park has become a reality today with some of the industries having commenced their operations and businesses there.
“Global players like Kekelit is already here. With our huge business park under the directorship of Mr. Andreas Gebauer, Godfrey Okoye University has become the first university to attract big European companies in its business park, thus making us a university that is deeply connected with the world of industry,” the VC said.
He noted with gratitude that the investors ignored rumours of insecurity and other allegations but were, however, inspired as well as motivated by the “gospel of brotherhood of humanity and of human family.”
He said that the students of the university and college who were influenced by European sense of duty, punctuality and perfection will be completely different on graduation.
Reverend Father Prof Christian Anieke, who presented a paper entitled “From A Jungle To A Catholic University, GO UNI-European Business Park And Centre Of Practical Skills: The Story Of This Main Campus,” recalled that the campus was an “uninhabited jungle with countless varieties of animals and plants.”
The Priest stated: “There was no road but the footpaths of humans and predatory animals. It was a very dreadful place. For the rural communities of Ugwuomu Nike and Nkwubor, it was a place inhabited by gods and terrifying spirits. The two lakes here inspired deep fear as they were believed to housing water spirits and frightening gods. The rural people also appeased the gods with various sacrifices of animals and incantations and had alters made of stones and trees around the lakes.”
He said the area which was later turned to a Catholic Diocesan farm is now an enviable campus. The Vice Chancellor paid tribute to an Austrian, Dr. Andreas Gebauer , who he said, transformed the tick forests in the Business Park and Centre of Practical Skills into a wonderful environment.
But in his brief remark, the Director General ICMPD, Dr. Michael Spindelegger announced that the organisation has 90 projects in different parts of the world and reaffirmed the determination of the management to support the activities of the University.
The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof Abubakar Rasheed in an address, described Godfrey Okoye University Enugu as a unique institution that is doing things differently.
“This is the first time to merge skills and knowledge; This is a story of a new beginning taking place in the University,” Prof Rasheed observed. He added: “I want the students here to note that every stone built on this campus is not done with milk and honey; it’s done with hard work and commitment.” He urged the students to emulate those qualities.
In a speech Dr. Andreas Gebauer who gave a pictorial story of the development of the Business Park, said the project will transform commercial activities and serve as business hub of Nigeria. Also, the PDP governorship candidate for Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mba said that the concepts of the Business Park and Centre of Practical Skills conformed with his programmes.
Dr Mbah emphasised that, if elected into office, he was determined to create an environment that would promote public/private sector activities and move the revenue of the state from 4.4billion to 30 billion dollars in eight years.
He said that “there will be no room for procrastination”, adding that he had proposed a lot of projects for the state including a cargo airport terminal for the importation and exportation of goods. We will encourage investors and reduce unemployment,” he stated.
The Proprietor and Promoter of Godfrey Okoye University, the Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Enugu, Most Rev Dr Callistus Onaga described the GO-UNI European Business Park and Centre of Practical Skills as the “best evangelization to rescue the nation ‘s education” which, he observed, is going down the drain.
Most Rev Dr Onaga commended Reverend Father Prof Christian Anieke for leading the revolution to transform the nation ‘s education. However, the Executive Director Globethics.net Geneva, Monsignor Obiora Ike expressed regret at the perceived neglect of the South East zone of Nigeria by the federal government, and called on more European companies to invest in the state.
Monsignor Ike lauded the Vice Chancellor of Godfrey Okoye University Enugu for transforming the former Diocesean farm to an enviable place for education and industrial activities. NewsBits reports that at least 100 students of the College of Practical Skills have commenced their training in electrical, plumbing and masonry while the European Business Park now supplies 24 hours electricity and water to the main campus.