Imo State University,IMSU Students and lecturers have raised alarm over the imminent collapse of a number of buildings in the Lake Nwaebere campus of the state university, Owerri built between 2011 and 2013, when Senator Rochas Okorocha, was the executive governor of Imo State. These were Tertiary Education Trust Fund projects allocated to IMSU, but allegedly abused by school management and Governor, who used their positions to hijack the contracts for themselves and the families.
It will be recalled that upon assuming office on May 29, 2019, Rochas Okorocha, went to work with the sole intention of obliterating all structures instituted by his predecessor, Ikedi Ohakim, in order to set up his, by rubbishing his predecessors as non-performers.
Apart from total demolition of buildings including some Adult Education centers, built in some areas built by the state school system. Okorocha, against court rulings, orders and injunctions, dissolved properly constituted boards of parastatals and agencies, such as the state Judicial Service Commission, the Imo State Independent Electoral Commission, Adapalm, ITC, etc.
Affected in the clean sweep exercise embarked upon by Okorocha was removal of Prof. (Barr) Ossy Nwebo, as Vice Chancellor. Not wanting to incur the wrath of Okigwe Zone leaders replaced Nwebo with Prof. B.E.B Nwoke from Obowo LGA in Okigwe zone, who he knew from university of Jos, where he cut his academic teeth as student and graduate but who was very popular among the students of IMSU, as Acting Vice Chancellor of IMSU.
Living up the eye service, for which most public servants in Imo State are known, once there is a palpable change of batons, Prof. B.E.B, allegedly intimated Okorocha details of TETFUND projects secured for the 2011/2012 and expressed willingness to give him free hand to nominate contractor(s).
As if waiting in the wings for that opportunity, our source revealed that Okorocha fell flat for it and nominated his elder sister and husband, Geraldine and Chief Obinali for the IMSU TETFUND contract to build the Law faculty complex, same way he awarded contracts for the refurbishing of conference hall of Ministry of Lands to his younger sister, Ogechi and her husband Chuks Ololo, from government house.
It was gathered that as soon as the Obinalis took over as major IMSU contractors, they altered the design of the law faculty building project and law theater.
Regrettably and curiously, Prof. B.E.B Nwoke never complained or objected to the alteration. It did not take long before the romance between Okorocha and Nwoke was aborted and short-lived, for an Orlu man in the person of Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie, who immediately replaced Prof. B.E.B Nwoke.
Awuzie however, was deeply interested in handling TETFUND projects, hence he registered Eco-system Design Limited in 2015 with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), with majority share of 450,000 allotted to himself while his Personal Assistant, Arch Nwaguma Ephraim of 52 Okigwe Layout Owerri, was allotted 100,000 shares.
As soon as he mounted the saddle, Awuzie allegedly appointed himself as sole consultant to all TETFUND projects and paid himself upfront to monitor all the projects in the institution with his collaborators as sole laterite supplier. He used his company, “Eco-System Designs Ltd”, to execute most of the TETFUND projects within the period under review, which deal was to the discomfiture of Rochas Okorocha which later got them on a collision course.
Part of the issues IMSU staff presently have against Awuzie is that as land scape Architect,he failed to protest the distortion and obvious shoddy jobs being executed at IMSU by Okorocha’s sister, Geraldine and his brother inlaw, Chief Obinali. “It was not surprising therefore that today the building is at the brink of collapse, just as the other structures erected by them, though with some reinforcements already carried out for two of the nearly collapsed edifices”, one of them revealed.
As also stated by some IMSU lecturers and observers of the unfolding drama at IMSU, the trio of Awuzie Obinali, Nwoko are presently under attack over imminent collapse of buildings at IMSU.
“We have had the singler honour of having a Vice Chancellor of Imo State University who is a Professor of Land Scape Architecture. Sad enough, most of the buildings supervised by his company are the ones collapsing and caving in IMSU”.
The above is the feeling of a senior lecturer in Imo State University who doesn’t want his name in print while reacting to the sad development which is said to have the likely tendency of affecting the resumption date of some departments in the school, especially the law students.
It will be recalled that Prof Ukachukwu Awuzie at the heat of the legal fireworks that bedeviled the institution made himself available to succeed the then Vice Chancellor, Prof Chuka Okonkwo who was unceremoniously removed by the then governor of Imo State, Sir Ikedi Ohakim whom it was gathered wanted an Okigwe person as VC of the State owned university.
This however, did not end well as the immediate past governor, Rochas Okorocha, was said to have clashed with Awuzie over the structural integrity,sharing fomular of most of the Tertiary Education Trust Funds (TETFUND) projects and who appoints the contractors and oversees them.
At present, the Law faculty, the Law theatre and the twin lecture halls built opposite the Catholic Church under Awuzie’s tenure but which foundation stones were laid and raised to DPC, during Prof. B.E.B Nwoke’s tenure as Acting V.C, are with serious defect.
This according to our University source is leading to possible relocation of the law faculty to yet another building before it becomes late.
Some of the students and lecturers who spoke to our reporter at IMSU pleaded with governor Emeka Ihedioha to intervene to enable them join their colleagues as they return for first semester.
Another lecturer who doesn’t want his name in print hinted on the grave consequence of not quickly rebuilding the Law faculty.He stated that if nothing urgent is done, the Law faculty may lose its accreditation which took the present management under Prof Adaobi Obasi time and resource to regain.