Over 300 students of the now controversial second Imo state government owned Eastern Palm University located at Ogboko Ideato South LGA are currently stranded and confused with their fate hanging in the balance as their parents are demanding for a refund of all payments now that lectures and other academic activities as well as administration have virtually come to halt.
According to a source from the university who doesnt want his name in prints, all the principal staff of the university including the Vice Chancellor have been sacked by the Pro-Chancellor, Mrs Uloma Nwosu, first daughter of the former Governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha, who replaced Nonye Rajis as Chairman of the governing council.
Reports from the institution reveals that the college which real ownership is still in contest between Okorocha and Imo State is being run singlehandedly by a retired Registrar of Abia State University, one Ernest Onuoha who doubles as a kinsman of Nneoma Nkechi Okorocha from Isiukwuato, who employs his other kinsmen from Abia State as the skeletal staff of the university.
Speaking to our staff on condition of anonymity, another senior management staff of the university and also a victim of the illegal activities going on in the campus at Ogboko which he described as fraudulent, disclosed that most of the disillusioned and confused students have resorted to seeking fresh admission into other hand accredited institutions across the country.
He disclosed that a visitation team from the National University Commission (NUC) had arrived the university premises at Ogboko with a view to accrediting some courses of the university but was disappointed as there were no lecturers for the various courses and no Vice Chancellor, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Bursars or Librarians as the former ones had all been sacked through letters signed by Mrs Uloma Nwosu as the Pro-Chancellor.
He revealed that the worst affected victims are those admitted into the faculty of law and department of Medicines whose parents had to pay whopping sum of N500,000 annually now slashed to N295,000 without any lectures or known lecturers even when they are now in their third year of study.
It was also revealed that there are no available books in the Library except those old books from foreign countries donated by Chief Emeka Offor to all Nigerian Universities which are packed in cartons of one title. “Besides and more importantly the university lacks other educational and science equipment that should make the place a citadel of learning.
Like everything dubious, fraudulent and deceitful of Okorocha’s administration, Eastern Palm University which was registered with the National Universities Commission (NUC) as the second Imo State government owned university, its establishment had commenced with Senator Okorocha’s pronouncement that he was relocating the permanent site of Imo State University (IMSU) to his home town Ogboko. With several protests against his decision rocking the state and led by Senator Chris Anyanwu of Owerri zone, Okorocha set up a committee to identify an acceptable permanent site for the university after allegedly awarding contracts and funding the Ogboko University from government funds. While the panel was dragging on where the permanent site would be located, Okorocha allegedly went ahead to complete the school and used some Professors to perfect the appropriation of the university as a private concern”he stated.
According to the source, all the appliances and other conveniences of the university including plasma television sets in the students hostels and air conditioning units as well as computer sets in the ICT centres have been dismantled and carted away on the orders of the Acting Registrar, Mr Onuoha.
Our source further disclosed that some incentives that attracted students of the college were all removed as a result of the uncertainty of the ownership of university following the discovery that Eastern Palm University was registered as second Imo State government university.
Those managing the institution are still collecting fees from students to pay only security personnel while the students are deprived of lectures. A good number of these students are being initiated to various cults groups.
When contacted on the development at Ogboko, Mr Ernest Onuoha was not forthcoming but requested our reporter to come back after the Easter break.
Effort to reach Mrs Uloma Nwosu proved abortive as she neither took calls nor replied text message sent to her phone line.
Meanwhile, successors to the office of Governor of Imo State since May 29, 2019, have refused to state categorically their stand on the controversies surrounding Rochas Okorocha’s claim to the ownership of Eastern Palm University which started as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with the name Imo European University.
While Emeka Ihedioha vehemently refused to make public the report of the Prof Jude Njoku committee on the status of the university, his successor, Hope Uzodinma appears indifferent indifferent the willful appropriation and claim of ownership of a university that was 100% funded by the Imo State government, an issue just like the silence on the takeover and privatization of Imo legislative quarters, IBC Egbu road and Orji staff quarters, Royal Palm Springs Hotels and a whole lot of other public institutions and facilities like Alvan quarters, Orlu and Okigwe road secretariats, to mention but a few.