Since 1982 when the first civilian executive Governor of Imo State, Chief Samuel Onunaka Mbakwe (Ph.D) Agbawodike Izu Okaomee, accepted the challenge in the true spirit of an Igboman, took the bull by the horn and with the aid of his people established Imo State University and the subsequent relocations at Lake Nwaebere with its current site since 1992 to date, apart from the founder Dee Sam, no other successive Governor has added one structure to what is now known as Imo State University (proposed permanent site of the Federal Government Girls College Owerri).
Suffice this to state that it was only Governor Achike Udenwa who managed to add the Teaching Hospital College of the University at Umuna Orlu. It may be rightly observed that others all of who were graduates did not add to the growth of this rare pride of Imo people. Rather they concentrated more in the politics of removing Vice Chancellors and replacing same with whom they choose (their candidate), virtually running the public institution from their acquired shell camp base (government house).
Invariably, this scenario has led to instability and academic redundancy in the institution. No thanks to ex-Governor Ikedi Ohakim (Ochinanwata) in whose tenure instability escalated into full scale war.
Some academics have opined that Dr Ohakim should be held responsible for the over-politicization of the institution. Ohakim had in an attempt to get at Achike Udenwa recklessly sacked the then Vice Chancellor, Professor Chuka Okonkwo. We do not want to go into details of what transpired thereafter but it is on record that IMSU between 2007 and 2011 when Ohakim held sway as Executive Governor, produced four different Vice Chancellors in the history of Nigeria university administration and it did not do the institution any good. Think of it, we want to believe that these same Governors attended various universities and none of their “Alma Maters” had this retrogressive and seemingly destructive record and why then should Imo State University become a thing of ridicule or an object of caricature.
It is therefore our view that visitors to the school should concentrate more on developing the institution, rather than politicization of the university.
We however,thank Governor Emeka Ihedioha for setting up a visitation panel for the university. Let this panel address all the challenges besieging and confronting the school including the infrastructural decay among others. We have it on good authority that apart from the now collapsing twin buildings poorly built by Owelle Rochas Okorocha’s rescue mission administration, every other building on site since 1999, when Achike Udenwa assumed office as executive governor is TETFUND projects. A visit to Imo State University recently showed that the number of TETFUND projects considerably increased under the current Vice Chancellor, Prof (Mrs) Victoria Adaobi Obasi, the first female V.C of Imo State university and indeed of any state owned university in Nigeria.
We do not intend to make a case for any of the dramatis personae, or get ourselves involved in the muddy murky waters of politics of Imo State University. All we advocate is that the Governor (Visitor) should not leave the infrastructural development of our dear Imo State University for the Federal Government alone. The interest should not necessarily be centered on who becomes the substantive Vice Chancellor or how to run the university from government house, but for the overall growth and development of the institution in areas of physical infrastructure, discipline and academics, staff and students welfare, accommodation, transportation and scholarship, so that IMSU will return to its prime position as a citadel of high academic excellence in every spheres among Nigeria higher institutions.
It is however very disgusting to note that our governors are neck-deep into whipping up clannish and even religious sentiment with the appointment of Vice Chancellors of IMSU, whereas Udenwa had an altercation with Emeka Nwajiuba, who in 2000, wanted his candidate as Vice Chancellor because he was representing Okigwe South in the Federal House of Representatives, Ohakim removed a performing Prof. Chuka Okonkwo, just to make his kinsman, the substantive Vice Chancellor.
It never occurred to Ohakim that what would have been more paramount would have been the commissioning of the Okigwe campus of IMSU in line with Udenwa’s decision to cede the Teaching Hospital to Orlu.
This therefore explains why we do not wish that the oracle of Rebuild Imo Project falls into the same inglorious trap. He should at least use the report of the visitation panel to transform the institution to a true citadel of intellectualism, commission the NDDC hostel, expending government holding capacity in hostels construction, provide socio and environmental facilities.