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SUMAS was built to meet the basic health medical challenges – Rt Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State addressed the pioneer students of the State University of Medical and Applied Sciences (SUMAS) Igbo-Eno, Enugu State, during the maiden matriculation ceremony on Saturday April 22, 2023. As the founder and pioneer visitor to the medical university, Governor Ugwuanyi disclosed that this is a solution to the acute shortage of manpower in medical and allied health sciences. The university was established with the vision of providing a world-class medical education and training for medical students in the state and beyond.

He noted that his administration conceived the founding of the budding specialised university to provide more opportunities for all desiring youths in the country, especially the youthful citizens of Enugu State to gain training in their chosen professional disciplines.


The governor highlighted the challenges that applicants in Enugu State face when seeking admission into tertiary institutions, particularly for professional and competitive courses such as medicine, pharmacy, allied health sciences, engineering, and law. Ugwuanyi noted that every year, thousands of candidates apply to study Medicine and Allied Health Sciences at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) and Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), but less than one thousand are given admission into these programmes in both institutions, leaving thousands of well-qualified candidates stranded without admission.


Governor Ugwuanyi went on to reveal that it was against the backdrop of the acute shortage of health personnel in the state and across the country, as well as the consequential effects of brain drain, in view of the fact that the few available are unceasingly leaving the country in their numbers, that his administration decided to establish another state-owned university with a specialised brief on professional disciplines.


Ugwuanyi reiterated that the establishment of the university will help in bridging the existing gap in the training and supply of critical human resources required for the growth and development of the medical profession in Enugu State and the country as a whole. He further noted that the establishment of SUMAS was another step towards the realization of the state government’s policy on education, which is aimed at ensuring that every child in Enugu State has access to quality education.


Speaking on the progress made so far, Governor Ugwuanyi revealed that his administration has invested heavily in the university’s infrastructure and made provisions for sustainable funding. This, according to him, will ensure that the university’s academic and non-academic staff are adequately remunerated, while ensuring that the institution has the necessary facilities and equipment to provide quality training and research.


He urged the pioneer students of SUMAS to take their studies seriously and make the most of the opportunity presented to them. He implored them to be disciplined and focused, reminding them that they have a responsibility to themselves, their families, and the state to succeed in their chosen fields.


Governor Ugwuanyi expressed his appreciation to the stakeholders who have made the establishment and smooth running of the university possible. He acknowledged the support of the host community, the governing council, the academic and non-academic staff, and other stakeholders for their unwavering support and commitment towards the realisation of the vision of the university.


The governor also praised the first President of Nigeria and a foremost nationalist, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, for his leadership role, patriotism, and selflessness in founding the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and for siting the university in Nsukka land, which he described as a godly act that recreated Nsukka as a land and redefined the destinies of her people.


Governor Ugwuanyi congratulated the “lucky pioneer students” and their parents/sponsors for their historic achievement of being admitted into the brand-new university. He assured them that his administration had invested heavily in the university’s infrastructure and had provided all the needed facilities for a smooth takeoff, including six faculty buildings, two completed hostels with 450 bed spaces each (one for male and one for female), a medical centre that is well equipped to provide tertiary medical services, and solar-powered streetlights.


In addition, Ugwuanyi said he had made adequate provisions to ensure that all ongoing projects, including the teaching hospital, the ICT building, the road network, the perimeter fencing, and the main gate, are completed. The governor also mentioned the construction of a 33KVA dedicated high voltage powerline from Nru-junction injection sub-station to the university, which has been approved to ensure steady power supply to the university.


Governor Ugwuanyi expressed optimism that with the facilities already provided and the crop of management staff chosen, SUMAS would grow to be among the top universities in the country. He encouraged the pioneer students to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the institution to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to become leaders in their respective fields, contributing to the development of the state and the country at large.


Governor Ugwuanyi stated that provisions for sustainable funding of the university had been made to ensure the production of well-trained medical and allied personnel. He congratulated the first set of 789 students admitted into the 23 programmes approved by the National Universities Commission (NUC), spread into six faculties, and urged them to make good use of the facilities available to create a bright future for themselves and become great ambassadors of SUMAS.


The Vice Chancellor of SUMAS, Prof. James Chukwuma Ogbonna, expressed profound gratitude to Governor Ugwuanyi for his vision and passion for human resource development that led to the establishment of the university. He also hinted that the governor’s investment in the medical university will contribute to addressing the acute shortage of manpower in Medical and Allied Health Sciences.


In attendance at the colourful event were dignitaries including the Chairman, Project Implementation Committee, SUMAS, Prof. Val. O Ekechukwu; wife of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Christiana Ogbonna, Vice Chancellor of ESUT, Prof. Aloy Okolie; the Vice Chancellor of UNN, Prof. Charles Igwe, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Prof. Johnson Urama, Deputy Chief of Staff, Government House, Enugu, Prof. Malachy Okwueze; the Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Dr. David Ugwunta; other members of the State Executive Council (EXCO), the House of Assembly Member-elect for Igbo-Eze North II Constituency, Hon. Clifford Obe, and other notable personalities.


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