By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The secret of how Kaduna’s first private, Greenfield University City Campus Engineering Faculty was accredited by the National University Commission (NUC), was laid bare by the Founder/Pro Chancellor, Engineer Simon I. Nwakacha (Onwa of Umueri).
Nwakacha disclosed the process when he hosted the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Kaduna State Branch on Thursday September 29, 2022, during a facility tour visit to Greenfield’s city campus in Kudenda.
“I listed all the equipment I needed for engineering faculty to get NUC accreditation, they told me it would cost over 78 million Naira.
“I had to think outside the box and embarked on local sourcing, which did the magic,” he said.
According to him, he approached a lecturer in the Engineering Faculty of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), who ticked some of the items that are needed for 100 to 300 level and the cost came down to 11 million Naira from initial amount.
” I went to DIC and the price came down to five million, I took it to NUC and they okayed it,” he said.
The Pro Chancellor lamented that this was after someone he contracted to import the engineering equipment had duped him, lying about delays in supplying the items for about two years.
“Also I have challenges, one of the challenges is that we have a lot of fraudulent Nigerians as contractors.
“That my brother I gave contract for eight items for Mechanical engineering department, fraudulently told me lies. Of recent I took the case to EFCC because he faked an invoice, and said the items had arrived, he needed another two million Naira for clearing at the ports.
“After delays and collecting funds, finally, he said the items were coming, but they had an accident. Up to today, the items have not arrived, since 2020,” he lamented.
On how the university started, he said that the late Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris came for a function at the Imperial College Kudenda and predicted that it would berth into a university.
“Fortunately in 2019, we were given approval and we went back to him to say his prophecy has come true.
“Since we started the construction of that place in 2014, I retired in 2013 from NNPC after serving as an engineer for 35 years, we adopted local sourcing.
“When I was at NNPC, our manufacturing plant was the only section built by the Japanese, I travelled to Japan and as we were landing, they welcomed me and they regarded us as technological spies from Nigeria.
“I sustained the KRPC manufacturing department through local sourcing of materials, thanks to Defence Industries Corporation (DIC).
“When I left NNPC, I told myself, that thing that the Emir said, came to my mind. I said the local sourcing I did at NNPC, I would put it to practice.
“I am proud to say, applying my engineering prowess, I was able to build a university.
“I started thinking of the local sourcing, I quickly set up a quarry to source the stones, and God was with us at Greenfield University,” he said.
Commenting on the present location of the university, he said after the tragic invasion of the main site located along Kaduna-Abuja Highway, they had no option but to build up the city campus.
“After that incident, NUC was surprised we had to build a university, which they said is like building of a second university,” he said.
During a tour of facilities, Engineer Nwakacha at the HRM Alfred Achebe (Agbogidi) The Obi of Onitsha Greenfield University Digital Resource Centre at the Prof Abubakar Adamu Rasheed House, said the facility connects to lectures all over the world, from top universities like Harvard and others.
He said from his interaction with the visitors, they encouraged him and urged him not to give up on the civil, mechanical, electrical electronics department
On the prolonged Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike, he prayed the differences are resolved quickly.
“As an investor in education, it pains me to see students at home,” he stressed.
When asked how cheap it is to train students at Greenfield University, he said it is relatively affordable.
“It costs the university over 250,000 to provide for bed space, but you see that we are charging only 50,000 per student,” he declared.