The 1980’s marked a turning point in the history of university education in Nigeria. There was an urgent need for skilled, innovative and technologically-oriented manpower for the technology base of our national economy. Hence, in June 1980s a decision was taken by the President-in Council to establish a University of Technology in each geopolitical state of the country which did not have a university. The implementation of this Federal Government’s decision started with the establishment of three new Universities of Technology in Bauchi, Benue and Imo States, in October 1980.
The Federal University of Technology, Owerri was the first to start. It started operating on November 28, 1980 in the premises of the old Government Technical College, Owerri with a compliment of ten staff borrowed from the Imo State Civil Service.
Prof. Umaru Dechi Gomwalk, former Head of Department of Chemistry and former Dean of the Faculty of Science in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, was appointed the first Vice-Chancellor: he was succeeded by Prof. Amagh Nduka a Professor of Theoretical Physics and Applied mathematics as the second Vice-Chancellor of the University (1987-1991). After him, Engr. Prof. C. O. G. Obah, a Professor of Communications Engineering was appointed as the third Vice-Chancellor of the University with effect from January 1992 to December 1999. he was succeeded by Prof. J. E. Njoku who took office as the fourth substantive Vice-Chancellor on 7 August 2000. and served till March, 2005. Prof. C.O.E. Onwuliri a former Acting Vice-Chancellor University of Jos was appointed the 5th substantive and incumbent Vice-Chancellor of FUTO on 12th June 2006. in between the appointments of substantive Vice-Chancellors, Acting Vice-Chancellors were appointed to hold brief as follows – Prof. U. B. C. O. Ejike (Prof. J. O. Duru (January 1996- March 1996) Prof. C. C. Ntamere (January 2000-July 2000), Prof. I. C. Ogwude (April 2005-June 2005) and Engr. B. A. Nwachukwu (July 2005-June 2006). From squatting at the Government Technical College, the University moved its operation to Ikenegbu and later to its temporary site, the Lake Nwaebere Campus, named after a seasonal water-point which affects the whole terrain of the campus. This site was originally intended for the Federal Government Girls’ College Owerri and is situated behind the Imo State Civil Service and Public Service commission premises along SAMEK Road (off Okigwe Road Owerri). It is less than two kilometers from the centre of the town and provides an impressive view of most parts of Owerri.
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