By Martin Nwoko

The Committee on the review of the newly established tertiary Institutions by the immediate past administration of Senator Rochas Okorocha, barely one month to the exit of the former Governor has submitted its report to the State government and as well made its recommendations on the way forward.

It will be recalled that on the 2nd of July, 2019, His Excellency, the Governor of Imo State, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioa (CON), inaugurated a 7 man Committee to investigate the status of the Newly Established Tertiary Institutions inaugurated by the immediate past government of Rochas Okorocha, with a view to making recommendations on the status of these institutions in the best interest of the government and people of Imo state.

Some of the newly established institutions investigated by the committee include the University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Aboh/Okpala, but formerly at Umuagwo campus of Imo State Polytechnic, the University of Science and Technology Umuna, Onuimo; the University of Medical Sciences also at Ogboko like the Eastern Palm University, and the University of Creative Technology, Omuma Isiaku/Nkwerre, all of which were recognized by Law and the National Universities Commission (NUC).

The Maritime University, Osemoto, Oguta was pronounced but not yet recognized. Also investigated were the new Polytechnics established by the past government which include Bishop Shanahan Polytechnic, Orlu; the Mbonu Ojike Polytechnic, Arondizuogu, Ideato North; the Ahiara Polytechnic, Ahiara, Ahiazu Mbaise, and Imo State Polytechnic, Ehime Mbano. That is not withstanding the newly commissioned College of Education at Madonna Ihitte/Uboma.

The committee on the review of the newly established tertiary Institutions also investigated the Eastern Palm University, Ogboko and Imo State College of Education, Ihitte Uboma, which Okorocha gave Hon. Dr (Mrs) Uche Ejiogu N30 million to build but which she merely repainted existing structures.

Addressing Journalist, the Chairman of the committee, Prof. Jude Njoku revealed that Eastern Palm University was at the time of his report recognized by NUC as the second State owned University in Imo state and not a privately owned institution and the implication is that it is owned by Imo state.

Present at the briefing were Prof. C. I Ogbonna of IMSU, Engr. Prof. N.N Okeke of FUTO; Prof. I.N.S Dozie, of School of Health Technology (FUTO);Prof Ukachukwu Awuzie of IMSU.

He gave the impression that there is no need dissipating energy arguing over Eastern Palm University, since it is 100% an establishment of Imo State government as at time of Okorocha’s exit. That he said does not dismiss the fact that , Okorocha did not attempt to appropriate the university through a law passed in by Acho Ihim led Imo House of Assembly.

The committee recommended that both the Imo State University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, former at Umuagwo but now at Aboh/Okpala, and the University of Science and Technology, Umuna Onuimo LGA, should remain campuses of Imo State University, Owerri. Aboh/Okpala campus as initially planned by Mbakwe will be the campus for Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine while Umuna will be for Engineering as earlier conceived.

The committee further recommended that Eastern Palm University, Ogboko, should also be a campus of Imo State University, Owerri, housing the Faculties of Management and social sciences. It also called for the establishment of judicial panel of inquiry how Eastern Palm University, Ogboko was funded,stating that the school should be made a campus of Imo State University, Owerri.

On the side of newly established Polytechnics, the committee recommended that Shanahan Polytechnic, Orlu and Imo State Polytechnic Ehime Mbano, should also remain campuses of Imo State Polytechnic Umuagwo, while Ahiara and Mbonu Ojike Polytechnics be converted to Model Technical Schools. It also Stated that the pronounced College if Education (Technical) Egbema, should be reverted to its original status of secondary school while its technical component should be made part of the programmes of Imo State College of Education, Ihitte Uboma.

With this report, Imo State retains one State University with Orlu zone getting both the school or faculties of humanities, management and social sciences at Ogboko and University Teaching Hospital, Umuna Orlu, earlier established by Achike Udenwa.