In 1993, Madonna University was first established in Okija, Anambra State following the approval of the state government. The university was later asked to suspend its operations by the Federal Government because there was no Federal law approving the establishment of private universities in Nigeria by then. The law was eventually passed and the university was re-established in 1999 by following the necessary legal framework. This, however, placed Madonna, head and shoulders above its contemporaries as the first private university in Nigeria, and the first Ecclesiastical Catholic University to be established in West Africa. Science Writer, STANLEY CHIBUIHEM AMALAHA, in an interview with Prof Chuks Emmanuel Ezedum, Vice Chancellor of the university, reports
A visit to Elele town in Rivers State Nigeria, without visiting Madonna University Campus, is like travelling to the city of New York, without having a glimpse of the famous Statue of Liberty.
The university situated contiguously in Elele, on the right hand side along Owerri – Port Harcourt Expressway, was earlier established in 1993 in Okija Anambra State.
The military rule by then thwarted the whole structural framework as the idea of the Founder, Rev Fr. Prof Edeh, to establish a university with a difference, was totally incomprehensible to the regime. In 1999, the university was re-established as the first private university in Nigeria and the First ecclesiastical Catholic University to be established in West Africa simultaneously. The architectural masterpiece of the university’s main gate in Elele, designed in the form of letter ‘M’, depicts the initial of the university’s name – Madonna.
“The word ‘Madonna’, is Spanish for ‘Mother’. But in the Catholic ecumenism, it means ‘Mother of our Savour’. CHANCELLOR / FOUNDER Taking a leaf from America’s Neil Armstrong’s iconic speech on his lunar landing (July 1969): “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.
Thus, the establishment of Madonna University, is indeed one small step for Rev. Fr. Edeh and one giant leap for West Africa ,because it is the first Ecclesiastical Catholic University in in the sub-region approved by the Catholic Pontiff. Rev. Fr. Edeh’s footprints on the sands of time by establishing Madonna University; Caritas University, Enugu; Osisatech Polytechnic, Enugu, established in 1989 as the first private polytechnic in Nigeria; and Osisatech College of Education also in Enugu, are crystal clear indications that the quintessential clergyman and aficionado of qualitative education has been pioneering academic excellence in tertiary institutions in Nigeria probably, more than any Nigerian man or woman, living or dead.
WHY MADONNA UNIVERSITY?
“In order to restore that level of goodness that God intended originally in man, Rev, Fr. Edeh established Madonna University – a university with a difference” says the Vice Chancellor, Prof Emmanuel Ezedum. WHY ACROSS BORDERS?
“When we discovered that Okija campus could not contain our vision for the university, we decided to come to Elele, Rivers State, which is where Rev. Fr. Edeh, the Founder, was posted as a Catholic Priest when he came back from the United States. Following popular demand by all who had tasted the difference made by the campus in Okija,the university was established in Elele as the main campus. Similarly, in order to give the university a serenity it requires, the Faculty of Engineering & Technology was further established in Akpugo, Enugu State precisely.
Today, Elele Campus of this University has five Faculties namely: Medicine, Basic Medical Science, Pharmacy, and Science. Okija Campus also has five faculties namely: Law, Education, Arts, Management science, and Social Science; while Akpugo Campus has one Faculty- Engineering / Technology with Seven Departments namely: Chemical, Computer, Civil, Mechanical, Petroleum, Electrical & Electronics; and Food Science & Technology. With these, Madonna University is the only private university in Nigeria that cuts across borders comprising two geopolitical regions and three states in Nigeria.
Professor Chuks Emmanuel Ezedum, Vice Chancellor, Madonna University Nigeria, with its main campus in Elele, Rivers State, oversees the activities of the whole university from the main campus to other campuses in Okija Anambra State and Akpugo Enugu State.
“At the moment (March 2017), Modonna University is one of the few universities in Nigeria that can boast of not having non-accredited programmes. Among the 39 programmes being run in this university, 35 are fully accredited, while the remaining four, are enjoying interim accreditation status by the National Universities Commission (NUC). We also enjoy Board accreditations from COREN, Medical & Dental Council of Nigeria, just to mention but a few,” says the Vice Chancellor.
SCHOLARSHIPS / LINKAGES
“We have Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with six universities in the Philippines, Two in USA, two in the U n i t e d Kingdom, and two in Africa. Over 200 students whose parents were dislodged by the Boko Haram insurgency in North – Eastern Nigeria, are currently enjoying Madonna University Charity Peace Award Scholarship. In 2015, Madonna University donated $100,000 to UNICEF Nigeria, to help the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North – East. Similarly, any parent that has more than three wards studying in this university, automatically has full scholarship for the fourth sudent,” the Vice Chancellor said.
LAURELS / ACHIEVEMENTS
“Our students have been winning many national and international awards. For example, recently Mr. Inyaba Kerry G. Akachukwu, our 500-Level Optometry Student won the 2016 Mr. University Africa – Nigeria Award, held in Lagos. He emerged first by beating 32 contestants from different universities in Africa,” says the don.
UNIVERSITY WITH A DIFFERENCE
University with a difference has been the slogan of Madonna University since inception because that has been the philosophy and zeal of the Founder. Some qualities that make Madonna, a University with a difference include but not limited to the following:
•The university is open for all irrespective of religion, denomination, race, tribe, sex, creed and nationality, where students are given freedom of worship and expression
•Madonna loves the poor because its fees are about the cheapest among private universities in Nigeria where most of our undergraduate programmes cost less than N300,000 per annum
•The university is a family as all students reside on campus for proper mentoring.
•Equal attention are paid to academics and morals
•The university is free from strikes and other students’ philistinisms.
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