Rt.Hon Paul Emeziem

Imo Lawmakers Enmeshed In IMSU Admission Scandal, Claim Is Part Of Oversight Function

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Some of the members of the 9th Imo state house of Assembly whose individual and collective actions and inactions at one time or the other had been trailed by controversy are once again at the centre of admission scandal, as most of them have placed adverts calling on their constituents seeking admission into the Imo state university to come to their constituency offices with their credentials, thereby usurping the function of the school’s management. 

One of the releases made by a principal officer of the House of Assembly(Namewitheld) “all sons and daughters seeking admission into the Imo State University, Owerri with good WASC or NECO results to forward their documents to him through his secretary”, stressing that, his office will assist in the admission process.

In the same vein, the member representing Ahiazu Mbaise state constituency in the Imo state house of Assembly, Hon Sam Otube, in a release signed by his Media aide(namewitheld) proudly called on his constituents seeking admission into Imo State University, Owerri, to come speedily to his office with their credentials between Tuesday February 22 and Friday 26th by 10:00 am for necessary assistance.

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A cross section of Imo people who reacted to the development which they say is unhealthy, unheard of and capable of worsening the already dwindling fortunes  of the university which was among the best in the country.

The lawmaker for Orlu Local Government, Hon Pascal Okolie had in reaction to the scandal denied instructing anyone to collect results for him for admission.He urged his constituents seeking admission to proceed to the school where they seek to school for admission as his office does not offer admission.

Prof Francis Dike (SAN),a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state expressed disgust at the development which he described as a disaster that is capable of breeding mediocrity. 

He wondered why elected legislators who have defined and specified functions and responsibilities should abandon them and start dabbling into areas outside their domain.

Prof Dike, who recalled that he played a cardinal role in the establishment of the present Imo state university, after the creation of Abia state said that he feels so bad that the  lawmakers want to rubbish his effort and that of others. He said, “Abia state took over everything about the institution, then located at Uturu. Late Governor Evan Enwerem wanted to build another university. At a meeting of the state executive council, I advised him to forget the idea of building another university and let us do the needful to enable us relocate the university to Owerri and save cost.There was a little argument but he later bought my idea. We amended the law and Imo state university was relocated from Uturu to the premises of Alvan Ikoku College of Education where the institution was for about two years.”

“General Ibrahim Babangida later gave us the premises of Federal Government Girls College, Owerri when the Federal University of Technology FUTO, Owerri left for there for their present site”.

The revered legal luminary who was visibly angry regretted that, the legislators by telling their constituents seeking admission into IMSU to come to them for assistance want to politicize the admission process, turn the ivory tower into a clearing house and worsen its already deteriorated standard that is gradually hitting the bottom level.

He stated that university education is for the best brains and not for the beneficiaries of god fatherism and called on the Governor to curb the excesses of the legislators because if left unchecked, will destroy the educational system that was thrown to the dogs by successive administrations in the state.

Prof Dike, further stated that it is disheartening that principal officers of a state legislature will condescend to the level of an Admission Officer by telling those seeking admission to pass through them. “I was a university lecturer  for many years. I lectured in England, I lectured at the university of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) and also at the Imo state university, Owerrri that was among the best ivory towers in the country at that time.

The law faculty was the best in the country. But it continued to deteriorate under successive administrations until it hit the bottom level under Okorocha’s government. Now they want to remove the bottom.”

He urged the management of IMSU to call the bluff of the legislators and ensure that admission into the institution is granted through the normal circle and in line with the normal process, stressing that, “if the legislators are concerned about the welfare of their constituents, they should devise ways of ameliorating their poverty and not by hijacking and politicizing the admission process of a state owned university. On no account should they be allowed to turn the university into a clearing house.”

When contacted, some of the lawmakers said, assisting their constituents  get admission to the Imo state university is in line with their oversight functions as legislators.

However, in a swift reaction to reports of the embarrassing development, the Deputy Chief Whip and member, representing Orlu state constituency, Hon Pascal Okolie, in a release dated February 23rd, which he personally signed said his attention has been drawn to reports in the media suggesting that he is calling on candidates seeking admission into some tertiary institutions to submit their documents to his constituency office. He debunked and distanced himself from such media reports, which he said don’t have his authority. He urged the general public to ignore and disregard same the report.

He said, all documents that emanate from his office are written on his letter head and are personally signed by him and advised all those seeking admission to visit their schools of interest and follow laid down rules of admissions process.

Similarly, Hon Dominic Ezerioha, the house committee chairman of information said that never a time was it part of the agreement in the House of Assembly and wondered why any lawmaker should assume the role of admission officer.

He acknowledged that his attention was only recently drawn to it but he is yet to confirm those involved in the scandal.

Further investigation revealed that the aides of the lawmakers go as far as collecting money form their admission seekers to include their names in the list of admission.”Though not without the knowledge of some of the lawmakers”, a sourced hinted.

Some concerned Imolites who commented on the issue on condition of anonymity expressed dismay at what they described as the busy body attitude of the legislators who often abdicate their responsibilites in pursuit of frivolities. ”These are people who passed the 2021 budget without asking necessary questions or inviting Ministries, Departments and Agencies MDAS to come and defend their  budget estimates and explain how their previous budget allocations were disbursed before retiring to the committee stage to analyze their findings prior to passing the budget. Instead, after the governor’s budget presentation which they, unethically hailed,   adjourned sitting and reconvened few days later to pass the budget which is their cardinal responsibility without scrutiny.

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