There have been speculations that the immediate past governor of Imo State, now senator Representing Orlu zone in the senate, Owelle Rochas Okorocha may have reached a truce with Senator Hope Uzodinma over the ownership of the Eastern Palm University, Ogboko, leading to his grave side silence amidst agitations from different interest groups in Imo State threatening to drag the state government to court for failure to reclaim what they described as Imo public property and investment. This is equally contrary to the Governors repeated vow to recover every penny allegedly stolen by previous Governors, their irks and lackeys.
Some courageous Imo elders and the leadership of Olu Owerri Socio cultural group had last week expressed worries on the turn of events, especially as they relate to call for an expeditious conclusion of Okorocha’s probe, where it is believed that the judicial panel will make a recommendation for the recovery of the second Imo State owned university as reportedly registered with the National Universities Commission (NUC) Abuja.
This is coming on the heels of Okorocha’s decision to appoint a Yoruba man, Prof Bade as the substantive Vice Chancellor of the University against all odds, including the dissertation of the universities pioneer principal officers including Vice Chancellors by Igbo sons and daughters. Upon conviction and realization that it was fraudulently acquire. An instant case is the award of contract for the renovation of Orji IBC staff quarters by Rochas Okorocha. According to revelations from the judicial panel after paying the contractor the sum of N60 million from the purse of Imo State government, Okorocha allegedly drew another sum of N128 million in respect of the renovation work at Orji IBC staff quarters.
It did not end there, he incidentally drew another huge sum of N4.2 billion outside the previous ones as cost of the renovation project and when it was thought that he had used the Orji IBC staff quarters to allegedly siphon public funds, Okorocha turn full circle to appropriate and claim the public property as his private Rochas International Foundation College. This is notwithstanding the fact that the choice portions of lands upon which legendary Sam Mbakwe constructed the Orji IBC staff quarters belong to Imo State.
Irked by this ugly trend and development, concerned and restless leaders, civil society organizations and youth groups have separately called on senator Hope Uzodinma to do the needful which is to reclaim for Imo State the ownership of the now controversial Eastern Palm University, Ogboko. They contended that if Okorocha could use magic to appropriate Orji IBC staff quarters, he would use all manners of tricks to convert the school to himselfp.
Ihedioha had during his short-lived tenure of seven months set up a committee headed by Prof Jude Njoku, former Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology (FUTO) Owerri, to ascertain the true ownership of the Eastern Palm University. As gathered by the committee, both the land on which the school was built was revoked using the instrumentality of the government and 100% funded by the state government. Even the initial staff were drawn on secondment from Imo State University while the university Directors of Works were initially deployed to supervise operations.
Observers have expressed concern on why the grave silence on the side of the governor who they said should know that the school was registered as the 43rd State owned university in Nigeria and second Imo state owned University.