Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has gone far in his plans to establish a private university in the State christened 'African International University.’
SaharaReporters gathered that Mr. Dickson, who is promoting the university, is hoping to get legislative backing from the State Assembly who are made up of his stooges and who were sponsored to the House by the governor.
The governor hopes to divert the foreign scholarship funds of the government to the privately owned university he hopes to finance from public funds.
Mr. Dickson has forwarded a bill to the State House of Assembly seeking approval to build the private university even as the State-owned Niger Delta University (NDU) remains shut over a strike by academic staff over salary arrears since January 2016.
NDU students had earlier today protested the continued closure of the institution.
The bill is sponsored by Mr. Peter Akpe, Leader of the House, representing Mr. Dickson's Sagbama Constituency on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
It was learnt that the House treated the bill with dispatch on Tuesday, July 19, 2016, when it was first presented by Mr. Akpe, scaling first and second readings at the marathon sitting presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Konbowei Benson.
It was therefore referred to the House Committee on Education to report back within 24 hours.
At the resumed plenary on Wednesday, the House passed the Bill after it scaled third reading, following the report of the House Committee on Education.
Mr. Akpe said the proposed university will give room for several partnerships with different universities around the world, especially the United States, United Kingdom and Germany.
He explained that the running of the university will be based on public-private partnership initiative.
The House Leader expressed concern over the state's inability to meet foreign scholarship obligations, adding that the proposed university will be cost-effective and provide the required educational standard.
In their contributions, Mr. Bernard Kenebai (PDP, Sagbama 2), Mr. Gentle Emelah (PDP,Yenagoa 3) and Mrs. Ebiowou Koku-Obiyai (PDP, Yenagoa 2), said the Bill would make Bayelsa the preferred destination for higher education in the country.
They further stated that the proposed university would produce excellence by offering special courses of study in line with international standards.
An investigation revealed that the 'African International University' will be opened in September this year and will have a multi-campus structure with its main campus in Sagbama, the hometown of the governor and headquarters of Sagbama Local Government Area.
The university will also have one of its campuses in Okarki, a neighboring Rivers State community near Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
It was also learnt that Mr. Dickson had acquired an expanse of land at Okarki and Sagbama for the university project.