Mixed Reactions Greet IMSU Visitation Panel

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Prof Adaobi Obasi,Imsu VC
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Perhaps, it has become a shameful norm that every Governor of Imo State, considers as top priority the sacking of the Vice Chancellor of Imo State University, and subsequent dissolution of its governing council,upon assumption of office.

This urgly development appears to be only common with Imo State which prides itself as having education as highest Industry.

Though what was known as Imo State University, then driven by Nebraska University, a multi-campus creation of legendry Dee Samuel Onunaka Mbakwe in 1981, was compressed and hijacked by the Isiukwuato mafia to Uturu in Abia State, late Evans Enwerem had to stampede the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) out of the Lake Nwaebere site, then reserved as permanent site for the Federal Government Girls College, Owerri, just to make way for a new Imo State University, having ceded the Uturu campus site to Abia State University. This the then governor actualized with the help of Prof Francis Dike, SAN who at that time was the attorney general and commissioner for justice of Imo State and had advised the State Executive Council on how to maintain the original name of the school with all the courses intact.

As Governor in 1992, this was said to be the most important achievement recorded by Evans Enwerem’s administration.

Whereas Udenwa used the opportunity of his office as Executive Governor of Imo State to establish the Orlu campus of Imo State University Teaching Hospital in Orlu, Ikedi Ohakim who succeeded him in 2007 became more interested in appointing substantive Vice Chancellor of Imo State University of Okigwe extraction which never materialized owing to numerous litigations after Okonkwo’s sack.

It would be recall that,to ease Prof. Chuka Okonkwo out of office,Ikedi Ohakim set up a visitation panel which later sent Prof Chuka Okonkwo on compulsory leave.Thereafter, the Professor of Industral Economics was sacked and handed over to anti-craft agencies on unfounded petitions.

It was not long after Ohakim left that Okorocha stepped into his big shoes. His eight years as governor never added much infrastructural facilities except two collapsing buildings located opposite the IMSU Catholic Church.

The rest is now history but with the emergence of Emeka Ihedioha as Governor of Imo State, there have been an avalanche of persuasions from his Kinsmen to sack Prof. Adaobi Victoria Obasi as Vice Chancellor of Imo State University.

Only few days ago, he instituted a visitation panel for both the main campus and Orlu Teaching Hospital.

Many, including Orluzurumee Youth Assembly (OYA) and Every Child Educational Foundation (ECEF), have however expressed concern over the decision, describing it as an attempt to sack Adaobi Obasi, who they argued has less than a year to complete her tenure and pave the way for a new Vice Chancellor.

Orluzurumee Youths, through their National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Chibuike Odunze, picked holes with the latest decision, describing it as merely a “continuation of the onslaughts, which have been unjustifiably levied on the IMSU VC, by a clique within the government”.

They called on governor Emeka Ihedioha to “read the hand writing on the wall and courageously disband that panel in order to nip the crisis in the bud and save the image of his government”.

They also consider the visitation panel as another era of witch-hunting, which they insist ought to have gone with Okorocha, and called on the Governor to shun those who wish to divide Imo along its fault lines by stoking the flames of crisis.

In their release entitled “our worries about the IMSU visitation panel, OYA said, “we do not know why the government has chosen to set up committee after committee, and panel after panel for the same purpose.

It can be recalled that the government had set up a committee headed by Prof. Jude Njoku to look into the state of the tertiary institutions and make recommendations. That committee diligently carried out its assignment and submitted its report to the government. It is therefore surprising that instead of implementing the recommendations of the committee, the government has rather chosen to set up a visitation panel headed by a man from Udi in Enugu State, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, to do the same thing.

We are aware that there are some persons within the government who are secretly working to undermine the government and give it a clannish coloration. They have since begun to pressurize the Governor to sack the IMSU Vice Chancellor, Prof. Adaobi Obasi, for the only reason that she is not from Mbaise. For these enemies of Imo State, it is criminal for an Orlu woman to serve as IMSU VC in a state governed by an Mbaise man. But this is deeply wrong. They have succeeded in sacking the Rector of Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo, an Orlu man, and replaced him with an Mbaise person.

As Orlu people, it breaks our hearts to remember that this same fate was meted out to our own Prof. Chuka Okonkwo when Chief Ikedi Ohakim became Governor. Everything was done to remove Prof. Okonkwo and to bring in an Okigwe person, and the crisis generated by this recklessness and barefaced tribalism took years to be resolved. Orlu people are not a conquered people in Imo State, and our sons and daughters must never again be taken to slaughterhouse for no reason.

It will be important to note that the current Visitation Panel which is the brainchild of the Imo State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, is clearly a mechanism contrived for personal vendetta. The facts are clear. The choice of the Enugu man who served in the same Federal Executive Council with Prof. Onwuliri under President Goodluck Jonathan points to the mission of the Panel.

We therefore wish to state in unequivocal terms that the mandate of the Visitation Panel is merely a continuation of the onslaughts which have been unjustifiably levied on the IMSU VC by a clique within the Government. We are troubled beyond words by the unending history of Imo Governors unduly meddling in IMSU and sacking the Vice Chancellors capriciously. Imo must grow above this pattern of politics”.


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