A catholic priest, and retiring Rector of Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo, now on Sabbatical at Claretian Institute of Philosophy Nekede, Rev. Fr. Dr. Wence Madu, has stated that he cannot be likened to late Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, hence he is not a discredited Mugabe in character or learning.
He made the above statement in a release signed by his lawyer, Chief Barr Soronnadi Njoku.In the release, Made took exception of his description as Mugabe of Zimbabwe without explaining why he served for 7 years as substantive and 1 year as acting Rector of Imopoly.
Wence Madu, who in 2019, transmuted from Rector of the State owned Polytechnic at Umuagwo to coordinator of the newly established Imo State University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, relentlessly and persistently had replicated the attribute of aged late Robert Mugabe, in refusing to quit the stage when the ovation was loudest, as well as when his four year tenure as Rector of the Polytechnic had expired.
He was alleged to have joined the Polytechnic from University after obtaining his PhD. He was earlier employed as lecturer II but within a year in service, the then Rector of the state owned Polytechnic Umuagwo, promoted him to senior lecturer to enable him seek and possibly secure employment at the Federal University of Technology Owerri, (FUTO).
The then Rector considering his prospective exit as a great relief, that could guarantee his continued stay in office, immediately obliged Wence Madu and promoted him far and above his contemporaries to the rank of senior lecturer. That was in 2010. Not sooner he was promoted senior lecturer, Rev. Fr. (Dr) Wence Madu, rather than use the undue advantage to join the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) as agreed, explored his relationship Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha to become Rector of Imopoly.
By September 2011, clearly four (4) and half months after the inauguration of Okorocha as governor, Rev. Fr. Dr. Wence Madu was appointed Acting Rector of Imo State Polytechnic Umuagwo. He cleverly edged out his predecessor, benefactor and employer. With Okorocha as his godfather, Rev. Fr. Dr. Wence Madu was on August 1, 2012, and less than one year as acting Rector of Imo State Polytechnic Umuagwo, appointed substantive Rector of the polytechnic (by Governor Okorocha).
As a substantive Rector, Rev. Fr. Dr. Wence Madu was expected to serve for a maximum of four years and leave or seek renewal. However,while his tenure was still running, the federal government approved a recommendation fixing the tenure of Vice-chancellors, Rectors to a single tenure of 5 years.Rather than serve out his tenure of four years and retire to the classroom as principal lecturer between August 1, 2012 and July 2017 (a total of 5 years), Rev. Fr. Dr. Wence Madu in a manner that was reminiscence and typical of late Robert Mugabe, played up the single five year tenure and clandestinely lobbied Rochas Okorocha to grant him automatic transmutation. Okorocha’s silence allowed Rev. Fr. Dr. Wence Madu to remain in office till May 29, 2019, under very clear and uncertain terms.
Realizing the futility in getting a single tenure of five years, Rev. Fr. Dr. Wence Madu, allegedly sold the idea of a new Imo State owned University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences to Okorocha. It was alleged that Wence Madu was the one who convinced Okorocha to appropriate the then Imo European University as a private concern for him and family, with the proposed University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences replacing it at NUC.
Sources at Imo State Polytechnic Umuagwo revealed that considering the prospects of converting the former College of Agriculture to University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, as recommended by Rev. Fr. Dr. Wence Madu to Owelle Rochas Okorocha, the later acquiesced and fell flatly to the temptation of claiming ownership of the former Imo-European University hence he quickly renamed it “Eastern Palm University” under a public private partnership(PPP) arrangement that gave only 10% share to Imo State. To appreciate, Rev. Fr. Dr. Wence Madu, as the source further revealed, Okorocha who later realized the dangers of setting a precedence with granting Rev. Fr. Dr. Wence Madu his unrepentant request for a single five year tenure as Rector, after he had served out his four year tenure as Rector, quickly appointed Rev. Fr. Dr. Wence Madu as pioneer Pro-chancellor and chairman governing council of the yet to be confirmed “Imo State owned University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences”.
Following protests, objections and threats from host communities of Umuagwo, Umuapu, Mgbirichi etc in Ohaji community against Rev. Fr. Dr. Wence Madu’s continued stay in the state owned Polytechnic under any guise, and eventual rejection of the university status, Okorocha who was afraid his refusal will affect him politically yielded and later cancelled the idea and reverted Rev. Fr. Dr. Wence Madu to a life Rector of Imo State Polytechnic Umuagwo.
He was operating in this capacity when his hopes further crashed with the emergence of Rt. Hon. Chief Emeka Ihedioha and not Uche Nwosu, as Executive Governor of Imo State. Concerned citizens of the state immediately latched on this God given opportunity to further expose Rev. Fr. Dr. Wence Madu for what he is, “a living Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe”. Then secretary to the Rebuild Administration Barr. Uche Onyeagocha had demanded from Rev. Fr. Dr. Wence Madu, a written evidence that Okorocha had granted his request for an extension of tenure to a single five (5) year tenure as he claimed in several print, electronic and social media. When he could not adduce such evidence or authority, he was given the opportunity to quit or be forced out. In doing so, the now embattled Rev. Fr. Dr. Wence Madu suspiciously handed over the State Polytechnic to the TETFUND desk officer, one Coleman Ibe with who he was accused of executing all TETFUND projects at the Polytechnic Umuagwo claiming they used their private fund to do so.
Wence Madu finally exited the office of Rector on June 20th, a month after the coming of Emeka Ihedioha, following an avalanche of petition, protest, and threats from students, staff and host communities against his continued stay. As a cat with nine lives, Rev. Fr. Dr. Wence Madu, unsuspectingly has since resurfaced at the rejuvenated, reincarnated and reinvented Imo State owned University of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences under Hope Uzodinma, said to be another mutual friend and close confidant.
In his speech under the double capacities as Vice-Chancellor, as self announced during introduction and project-co-ordiantor, displacing Prof. Ukachukwu Aloysius Awuzie, who was officially appointed by Governor Hope Uzodinma, during the NUC fact finding visit, Rev. Fr. Dr. Wence Madu gave tributes only to Hope Uzodinma and not Rochas Okorocha who first initiated the establishment of the University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Via Law No. 4 of 2019 of Imo State House of Assembly. A case of a renowned sycophant, you would say.
It was during the transition period that Rev. Fr. Dr. Wence Madu realized the need to commence refund of the
N40m (Forty Million Naira loan) secured through Cooperative Societies from Imo Polytechnic Microfinance Bank. Rather than refund the money to the polytechnic upon departure and exit, as recommended by a panel that probed the funds, Rev. Fr. Dr. Wence Madu claimed to have invested loan syndicated for the development of infrastructure and in settling visiting NUC team for the accreditation of courses. We are talking of loan granted to individual- All Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative Societies, being applied to the development of infrastructures at Imo Polytechnic Umuagwo. No wonder the staff, students host communities, et al invariably wanted nothing to do with Wence Madu, whether as Polytechnic or University.