By Akanimo Sampson
When it comes alive, the Federal College of Education, Bende, Abia State, will be an added boost to the housing and construction sectors of the state’s economy.
A Bill for an Act to establish the college has already passed second reading in the House of Representatives.
Bende is however, a Local Government Area in the state, with headquarters in the community.
People from Bende include Arunma Oteh, former Director-General of Nigeria’s Security Exchange Commission and the World Bank Treasurer cum Vice President.
There is Bende as local government and also as a community comprising Umuokoro, Umuorie, Agbo-mmiri, Okputong, Ndi-ekeugo, Isiegbu, Agbamuzu, Amaoba, Ama-ogwu, Etiti, Ukpom, Obuohia, Ndiokorukwu, Nditoti, Ogo Ubi, Onuinyang, Okporoenyi, Lodu Imenyi, Iluoma Nzeakoli, Ovum Ugwu Nkpa, Amaediaba, among others.
Bende community is one of the oldest in the state under the old Bende community.
However, the Federal College of Education, Bende, bill seeks to provide full-time courses, training in technology, applied sciences, commerce, social sciences, arts and humanities among others. It is sponsored by Rep. Benjamin Kalu (APC-Abia).
The bill was read the first time in the hallowed chamber on Wednesday, June 10, 2020.
Leading the debate on Thursday, Kalu said the importance of education in the society cannot be overemphasised saying that education is important for a happy and stable life, for better income and livelihood and for social equality.
According to him, education makes a person self- dependent, turns dreams into reality and makes the world a better and safer place.
On the location, Kalu said Bende is the single oldest and largest Local Government Area in the South-East geo-political zone, adding, “Bende has remained undivided since its creation in 1976, even though with the size of four Local Government Areas as found in comparative federal constituencies.
“Despite its strategic location in Abia and sharing border with Akwa Ibom, with a growing population and land mass, there is no tertiary institution in the Federal Constituency operated either by Federal or
“Bende deserves to have the presence of a tertiary institution to serve the education need of the teeming youthful population, especially now that the need for well-trained educationists has risen. This is accompanied with the need to fill the gaps created by both the consequences of brain drain and the lack of qualified educationists to provide quality training at all levels of education,” he said.
Ruling, Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, referred the bill to House Committee on Tertiary Education for further legislative actions.
Similarly, a Bill for an Act to establish Federal College of Agriculture, Ishiagu, Ebonyi State passed second reading in the House on Wednesday. The bill also sponsored by Kalu seeks to ensure adoption of agricultural techniques, enhance research and development in agriculture.
“It will also serve as catalyst for effective agricultural education system through training, research and innovation, for effective economic utilisation and conservation of the country’s human and material
“It will identify the modern agricultural education needs of the society with a view to finding solutions in the interest of national development”, he said.
The move for the federal college in Bende is coming as Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is pressing African Development Bank (AfDB) President, Akinwumi Adesina, for investment in Abia to help boost job creation and enhance livelihoods.
The vision of the Ikpeazu administration is to leverage the capacity of Abia people to become the SME capital of Nigeria. ‘’Our people are industrious and innovative. For instance, our people are known as top players in the leather industry. We have a new shoe factory that is producing over 50, 000 shoes. We particularly need the Bank’s help to address the State’s infrastructure deficit”, the governor said.
With a population of more than 2.8 million, Abia is looking to the Bank to help make Enyimba Economic City (EEC), an ambitious economic hub, a reality. The administration’s goal is to transform the region into a manufacturing and industrial powerhouse and create 700,000 jobs over five years.
The project, presented at the Bank’s 2019 Africa Investment Forum, has received significant investor interest, officials said. Other investment interests include a waste-to-energy project.
The Bank’s support was also sought to facilitate the Abia State Integrated Infrastructural Project which is designed to develop massive infrastructure in the State, especially in the commercial city of Aba and the state capital, Umuahia.
Adesina says Abia has “huge potential in agro-processing and human resources. “The Bank’s role is to support governments like yours to transform their economies and create jobs”, he said.
Ikpeazu is also requesting the Bank’s support for the development of major agricultural value chains, including palm oil, rice, cocoa, cassava, maize and cashew, that would also create jobs for women and youth.
“Over the years, Aba has evolved as a centre of entrepreneurship and SMEs. The city has the potential to be a competitive industrial hub for Nigeria and for Africa. For this reason, the Bank will continue to support your vision”, Adesina said.