Miss Sophia Solomon, a 300 Level Microbiology student, did not expect a journalist in her deluxe lecture hall when she was asked, the other day, why she chose the Federal University, Otuoke that was established only in 2011, out of all the federal universities in the country.
“I didn’t have a particular reason,” she responded, “but I was quite happy with the fact that I got the course I wanted.” But for Mr. Patrick Leimo, also a 300 Level Microbiology student, being an indigene of Bayelsa state was a factor. “I saw it as an opportunity that since a University was established in my state, I should take advantage of it.” The same goes for Mr. Gbakena Robinson, a 300 Level Biochemistry student, who also hails from Bayelsa.
And they are happy with their decisions. The trio, incidentally, enjoys scholarships. “I did not apply for scholarship,” Solomon admitted,” but I was pleasantly surprised when a friend told me that my name was on the list of scholarship awardees. The University management evaluated our results and awarded scholarships based on merit. It entails the tuition and accommodation fees and we were also given a notepad.”
Solomon and other students are recipients of some scholarships sourced from the Ijaw Foundation in the United States (U.S) by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Bolaji Aluko.
Leimo is in love with the University. “Our teachers are attentive to our needs and they teach us well,” he said with a broad smile. “We also have access to the internet. Our class size is small, so the teachers know the students individually.”
Robinson is luckier. He’s on the Niger Delta Commission’s (NDDC’s) scholarship, which is bigger than what his colleagues are getting. He affirmed that the university had done a lot to satisfy the students and that such privileges “are not available in older federal universities.” He said the laboratories in the institution “are good.”
Solomon said the security arrangement makes the campus safe. “There’s no kidnapping here,” she said. “If you’re driving into the campus, you must have a tag. If you don’t, you can’t just get in. And as a student, you must have your identification card with you always.”
Both Leimo and Robinson said the institution gives the students the privilege of evaluating their teachers, to give the management an idea of what is going on. Solomon explained: “Any time we write our examination, they (university management) give us a form to fill, to check how our lecturers have faired, whether they come to class and we are asked to rate then. The lecturers are not really aware of this.”
The students praised the federal government for establishing the institution, which, according to them, “gave us the opportunity to pursue their dreams.”