The history of Niger Delta University has been told from a unifarious perspective, and that is the establishment and commencement of the university. Very scarcely, information on the travails, the terrain, buildings, scarce manpower, beginner level of educational quality were inadequate if at all available.

   

However, this material leveraged on the view and story of Arch. Reuben Okoya, Arch. Okoya worked with the Bayelsa State Government in designing and constructing major projects in Niger Delta University. His work experience spans over 20 years in the field of architectural design, construction and environmental management. Hence, his report was adopted as an eye witness report which laid the foundation for a deviation in the history of the Niger Delta University.

NDU Engineering Lab

Data retrieved from Reuben Okoya’s website revealed that in 2000, Architect Reuben Okoya joined the services of the Bayelsa State Government as construction manager, Niger Delta University project, where he managed the entire planning, design and construction process for the infrastructural development of the Niger Delta University permanent site. Established in 2000, the Niger Delta University (NDU) is a Bayelsa State Government funded university located in Wilberforce Island (an island of great historic significance) about 30 kilometres from Yenagoa – Bayelsa State capital.

The site is an island located on about 1,900 hectares in a bend of the Niger River. The only access road to the site at the time of construction was by water. The university designed for a student population of 5,000, and it provides a full range of academic disciplines with 9 faculties and a college of medicine, plus community support services and residential areas for the students, faculty and staff. As the construction manager, Architect Reuben Okoya was fully responsible in designing, planning, construction and completion of the entire university project below shows some of the buildings completed.

The beginning of the NDU is not really a palatable story to tell. Of course, each story has a humble beginning and for the NDU, the story is no different. Students travelled to Amassoma through river to the Niger Delta University as there was no link bridge to allow vehicular movements. Staff residence were not also available, lecturers were reported to have suffered greatly from mosquito bites as the community was swampy and became a veritable environment for mosquitos to breed.

“I am proud to say that I am the first one who drove from Amassoma to Yenagoa by road” Reuben Okoya narrated. “That happened during Alamieyeseigha because the road has been cleared and so, I used my pickup to drive. I ran straight to Alamieyeseigha. I told him that I just drove to Amassoma. He said Reuben, you’ve come again, you’ve come again. I said no your Excellency, I drove. Fortunately for me, I took some pictures.”

Reuben noted that the Late DSP Alamieyeseigha was so dedicated to the completion of the Amassoma road that he was unwavered by distractions. “I told him that my village is just about 5 minutes from the road. Can you tell the contractor to just branch and do just one small spot in my village? If you know Alamieyeseigha, he didn’t joke. He said Reuben, I am not going to build a road to your village now. After I reach Amassoma, then you come, we can discuss. And if you raise this issue again, I will sack you. Don’t mention to me again until I reach Amassoma, then we can discuss.”

So, the Amassoma road has been a major impact that the NDU have caused. After he did that road, he then decided that I must as a leader, I must as a governor reach out to the senatorial districts. That is how the Nembe Road was conceived. The road to the West was conceived. So, the impact of NDU have caused a lot. In fact, we can talk about impact on families, impact on students. As we speak right now, I am sure you are all aware that Niger Delta University students are all over the world – in the military, in the civil service, in the foreign service, the diplomatic corps, in education, everywhere.

The pioneering students of NDU, they are great people, they suffered. Do not think that NDU just came up from nowhere. People built it for you. For us, it is a pleasure and we worked because Alamieyeseigha decided it must be done. I remembered Prof. Buseri and Alamieyeseigha having arguments. Then, commissioners used to talk to governors, you don’t like it, so be it. Commissioners talk to governors, they debated. Prof. Buseri told them that I want to have as many Faculties as possible. But Alamieyeseigha said no. He wanted to see facilities first, roads, you know we are politicians….

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References:

Reuben O. (https://www.rok.org.ng/niger-delta-university/

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