Professor Akpofure Rim-Rukeh (FNES) is the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun (FUPRE), Delta State. In this interview with our Correspondent, Lucky Uto, he spoke on his first 100 days in office and his dream to make FUPRE a World-Class University.
Today makes it 100 days since you assumed office as the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, what have you achieved?
The first 100 days in office have become the traditional yardstick of a leader’s early achievements in office in the recent times. I believe that the first three months in any new leadership role is vital to listen and learn, and to start setting the stage for future successes.
On the 4th of May, 2020 I took over the mantle of leadership as the 4th substantive Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun and today marks the first hundred days in office.
And by the special grace of God we have recorded some measurable achievements and these wouldn’t have been possible without our collective efforts.
In achieving this dream, we have to prepare a Blue-Print for Accelerated Growth and Development of the university. This document would form the major road map of the administration over the next five years. Within our 100 days in office, we signed two research related memoranda of understanding (MoUs). The first memorandum of understanding (MoU) is with WELTEK Research Ltd with the intent to carry out research that leads to innovation in petroleum refining and petrochemical industry
The second memorandum of understanding is with Onose Deep Oil and Gas Limited to promote technology transfer in technical areas in the Oil and Gas Sector. The MoUs formalized a long relationship between the two Companies and will result in several interdisciplinary projects over the next five years.
During handover, your predecessor complained about poor funding of the institution, what has been your experience?
We have strategised on ways to increase funding to university by increasing income from commercial activities through venturing into businesses such as; FUPRE Microfinance Bank, FUPRE Water, Animal Production Venture, Fisheries and Aquaculture, FUPRE Publishing House, and FUPRE Bookshop.
How do you intend to enhance the growth of the institution?
We will be achieving this by attracting regional/international faculty and Students: And to this end, we have established “A Directorate of International Development” charged with the responsibilities of (i) Developing a comprehensive policy aimed at recruiting, retaining and supporting international staff and students.
Also, we are developing strategic security plan critical for the smooth running of the University with plans to develop an international standard accommodation facilities for student and academic staff to promote engagement, promote student exchange and teaching partnerships to joint research on global issues.
In achieving our set goals, we are working towards increasing university and industry relationship and today FUPRE have been admitted into the Education and Training Sectorial Working Group of the Nigerian Content Consultative Forum (NCCF) of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board.
What are your plans in maintaining a cordial relationship with staff?
On staff matters and as part of our effort to hunt for academic talent by utilising a robust and transparent recruitment and selection process that would ensure that we recruit the right people into the right job at the right time, the recruitment process is on-going. 2020 promotion exercise is ongoing and we are presently concluding on the reward system for staff for the purpose of encouragement.
There have been some shortcomings on the availability of space for staff, classrooms and others, so what will you do to address the shortage?
On physical and infrastructural facilities, we have introduced the policy of naming university facilities. The Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun do not have any tradition of naming University properties, academic and non-academic programs, and facilities in honor of persons or entities that have made important financial contributions to enable the teaching, research and public service mission of the university.
However, today the policy for the naming of university facilities duly approved by the University Governing Council and the Finder’s Fee Policy: Available in the University is the policy for Finder’s Fee duly approved by the University Governing Council.
As the only Petroleum University in Nigeria, how do you intend to secure synergy and a good working relationship that cut across board?
In order to increase partnership in our public private partnership (PPP) Built-Operate and Transfer (BOT) Model, a Directorate for Public Private Partnership has been created. Also available in the University is the policy for PPP based on Built-Operate-Transfer (BOT) duly approved by the University Governing Council.
Examples of PPP projects available are construction of cafeteria services for students, construction of a building to serve as Senior Staff Club, construction of a building to serve as Junior Staff Club, construction of Post Graduate Students Hostel, construction of Hostel for International Students, construction of two female students hostels (1000 capacity bed space each).
Construction of three male students hostels (1000 capacity bed space each), construction of ICT Building/Centre, construction of building to serve as University Printing Press, construction of University Guest House, construction of University Shopping Mall, Design and construction of FUPRE Demonstration Primary School, Design and construction of FUPRE Demonstration Secondary School, construction of building for FUPRE Business School and construction of University Liaison at Abuja.
What would you say on infrastructural development as you mark your 100 days in office?
There are lots of on-going infrastructural development of the university by Federal Ministry of Education (NEEDS Assessment).
The on-going projects funded by the NEEDS Assessment fund are; construction of 1000 capacity University convocation arena, construction of 500 capacity University Auditorium, 750 capacity students hostel, sporting facilities and a number of classrooms and another on-going Infrastructural Development of the University by (TETFund) is the Phase II College of Science and Phase II Entrepreneurship Building.
Also there is a change of name of College of Technology and this is in line with the growing trend in the Engineering & Technology world, we have also received approval from the NUC for the change of our College of Technology to College of Engineering & Engineering Technology. This will enable us expand our academic horizon into Engineering and Technology programmes.
Can you shed light on some of the university’s academic programmes?
We have prepared the curriculum for the next academic programmes which include Department of Petrochemical Engineering; Department of Natural Gas Engineering; Department of Computer Engineering; Department of Statistics, Department of Science, Laboratory and Technology and Department of Health, Environment, Safety and Security.
Commencement of the College of Petroleum Management and Policy Studies and Department of Civil Engineering is awaiting regulatory approval.
We have taken steps to prepare curriculum that will lead to the award of professional Master’s Degree in Engineering Management, Oil & Gas Management, Environmental Policy and Regulation and Fuel & Energy.
We have also taken steps to pursue programmes leading to the award of professional certificates in Supply Chain Management, Environmental Modelling Energy Finance, Pipeline Engineering, Environmental Corrosion, Environmental Risk Management, Process Safety Management, Environmental Scarcity and National Security, Carbon Capture Market and Climate Change Dynamics, and Gas Reservoir Improvement Techniques.
Also, Approved Research Policy, within this period under review, we put final touches to the comprehensive policy that will guide the university researches and obtained approval from the University Council.
Sir, you have talked about some new courses that will commence in the next session, what plans do have to get the courses accredited?
Like as I said earlier, introduction of new courses take process, the first thing is to prepare curriculum for the new courses to be taken to National University Commission (NUC) for approval. Before approval, there is what we call resources verification and that is what we are preparing for now. As I have said, we have prepared the curriculum for the new courses and programmes which we have sent to NUC.
In all the new courses, they were carved out from existing programmes and there are qualified lecturers for them. For example, Computer Engineering is from Electrical/Electronics Engineering which has Professors and Doctorates in the department and also Petrochemical Engineering is from Chemical Engineering where we have Professors of Chemistry and Doctorates in the department.
Again, we are now recruiting academic staff which are mostly competent persons in the field. From our advertisement, we have received 19,000 applications which are mostly Professors and Doctorates in the areas needed. I believe, by the time NUC will come for accreditation, there will be no problem.