From Everest Ezihe, Owerri
The recent announcement by Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State that his administration has gotten licenses from Nigeria Universities Commission (NUC) and National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) to run four additional State Universities and four Polytechnics respectly barely two weeks to his handing to over His Excellency Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have invoked the wraths Imo academicians who described it as “deceit and fraudulent.”
Addressing a press conference in Owerri on Wednesday, the group under the auspices of Senior Academics and University Administrators and Great Players in the National and Imo Educational Landscape led by Prof. Jude Njoku, the Former Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) said that they are compelled by moral and ethical responsibilities to speak out on the current unenviable state of education in the State from primary to tertiary but with greater emphasis on the tertiary education.
The newly created Universities as announced by the outgoing Governor are University of Agriculture and Environmental Science, Umuagwo, with campuses at Aboh-Mbaise and Ngor-Okpala, University of Engineering, (Umuna), Onuimo, University of Health Sciences, Ogboko and University of Creative Arts and Technology, Omuma Ishiaku/Nkwerre while the Polytechnics are Imo State Polytechnic, Ehime Mbano, Bishop Shanahan Polytechnic, Orlu, Mbonu Ojike Polytechnic, Arondizuogu and Ahiara Polytechnic, AhaizuMbaise.
Njoku who spoke alongside with Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie, former ASUU National President as well as former Vice Chancellor Imo State University, Owerri, Prof Obioma Iheduru, former Vice Chancellor Tansian University Umunya, Anambra State, Prof. Chuka Okonkwo, Former Vice Chancellor Imo State University, Owerri and Prof. Rev. Fr. P.A. Ogbonna, Former, Director of Admission, Imo State University expressed dismay that the Governor equally appointed the Vice-Chancellors and Rectors for the Governing Councils and boards for these institutions respectively inspite of lacks of funding, requisite manpower and non availability of the necessary infrastructures.
He pointed out that no matter the number of Universities, Polytechnics or Colleges of Education the state has, that TETFUND allocation is made to only one state University, one state Polytechnic and one state College of Education in each allocation year, thus it amounts to falsehood and deceit to make the populace believe that the newly created Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education infrastructural developments will be funded by the TETFUND.
According to the Eminent Professor “In summary, From Architectural, infrastructural and equipment perspective none of the newly created institutions meets the basic requirement of University or Polytechnic campus”.
The Former Vice Chancellor of FUTO further lampooned the State Assembly for aiding the Governor in establishing the tertiary institutions by hurriedly passing the bills that was allegedly assented by the Governor without the requisite criteria.
According to Prof. Njoku “The hurriedly establishment of four new Universities and four new Polytechnics by the Okorocha administration in Imo State is a reckless and irresponsible act aimed at creating disharmony between the incoming administration and the host communities/zones who may believe that the proposed institutions are their own dividends of democracy and would feel offended, if the incoming administration decides either to suspend the licenses or revert them to their original status. That this educational fiasco is a clear manifestation of the level of irresponsibility and recklessness of the leadership and membership of the 8th Imo State House of Assembly”.
He also advised the incoming government to set up a powerful committee to review the establishment of these institutions while the school of nursing and midwifery now located at Ogboko, the ancestral home town of the Governor be returned to its permanent site at Okporo in Orlu Local Government Area of the State.