By Martin Opara
Following the threat by Orluzurumee Youth Assembly to drag Imo State government, Imo State House Assembly and persons to court over ownership of Easternpalm University located in Ideato South and the revelation that the radical Socio-culural group, Orluzurumee Youths may have filed the suite, the ex-governor of Imo State, now senator representing Imo West in the senate, Owelle Rochas Okorocha is said to have convened an emergency meeting of his confidants yesterday in Abuja to discuss how to deal with the matter should the group go to court.
According to our Abuja source who pleaded anonymity,the ex-governor is worried over the development and considers keeping the School in his name as last battle to fight.He mentioned the option presented to the governor to deal with stakeholders of the group, among which is raising a team of lawyers made up of Senior advocates of Nigeria or intimidating the group to submission using his office and some of his loyalists.
It was not clear whether the governor agreed on any of the measures but the source warned that those championing the case should be prepared for the worst.
Meanwhile,they are speculations that the Governor Hope Uzodinma government has given up on the Eastern Palm University and does not seem to have the intention of retrieving the institution from former Governor Rochas Okorocha, who is bent on claiming the ivory tower that was built with billions of state funds.
The wide spread speculations were given credence when the Deputy Governor, in a release signed by his Senior Special Assistant, Media, Ozioma Teddy Ukwuoma, stated that the National University Commission (NUC) Visitation panel was in the state to inspect facilities and human resources, on ground, prior to the take off a second Imo State owned University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.
The Deputy Governor’s statement which is also his principal’s mindset, caused ripples and raised serious concern among discerning and enlightened Imo people who wondered why the new University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences was considered and referred to as the state’s second university, when the law establishing Eastern Palm University, described it as “Imo State’s second university”.
Earlier, Uzodinma, while addressing members of NUC verification team, also expressed his desire “to ensure that all obstacles that will impede the establishment of Imo State’s second university are scaled”.
In view of the above, statement, tongues are wagging and questions raised about the status of Eastern Palm University that is already functional if the one that is yet to take off is referred to as the second.
A cross section of Imo people including the media, had severally called on Governor Uzodinma to take a decisive stand and comment on the clamour by majority of Imo people at home and in the Diaspora for government to retrieve the university from Governor Okorocha, for Imo people.
Some people who spoke on condition of anonymity, said “for Senator Okorocha to have commenced renovation of the university and other properties he abandoned, soon after the emergence of former governor Emeka Ihedioha, sends a dangerous signal and raises suspicion that a pact may have been reached”. They however advised “those concerned to thread with caution because Imo people may be forced to react violently in a bid to halt such aberration”.