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Saturday, 13 February 2021

Imo State Government Does Not Own Eastern Palm University - Rochas Okorocha

Following the claim by the Imo state government that it has recovered the Eastern Palm University located in Ogboko, Ideato South LGA (the home town of former governor of the state, Senator Rochas Okorocha), the former governor has appealed to the general public to disregard the claim.

A statement signed by Sam Onwuemeodo, the Special Adviser (Media) to the former Governor, said the Eastern Palm University was a creation of the law, which states that tne institution shall be owned on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis, by the Imo State Government and the Incorporated Trustees of Rochas Foundation, hereinafter referred to as the Parties.

The following is the complete text of the statement:

SUBJECT:  Imo State Government Does Not Own Eastern Palm University and Can't  Recover It

- The University Is  Not  A Market Store, You Can Just Claim To Have Recovered, Through A Press Conference. 

- THE GOVERNMENT WAS ONLY DISTRACTING THE PUBLIC FROM THE TOTAL COLLAPSE OF GOVERNANCE IN IMO.

This is to plead with the general public to disregard the claim by the State Government, with Chief Hope Uzodinma as governor, that it has recovered the Eastern Palm University, Ogboko. And the only reason the government gave was that, a Whitepaper, that has not been released, recommended for the recovery. The claim was only aimed at distracting the public from the total collapse of governance in Imo. 

The Eastern Palm University was a creation of the law. It has a law establishing it. It is a legal entity. So, it is not a kiosk or market store one could wake up one day, to claim or announce to have recovered.

The Eastern Palm University was established by the Imo State of Nigeria, Law No. 3 of 2019. And part II, No.3 (3) Stated that, “the University shall be owned on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis, by the Imo State Government and the Incorporated Trustees of Rochas Foundation, hereinafter referred to as the Parties”.

And the Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding between the Concerned Parties are domiciled in the relevant bodies or Institutions. And the law also provided that any of the Parties, “may decide to opt out of the Agreement upon giving the prescribed notice and meeting the conditions for opting out as contained in the Agreement”.

So, it was absurd for the government to announce to have recovered an Institution established by law, through a Press Conference held in one of the offices  in  Government House, and claiming too, to have based the illegal and disturbing action, on a Whitepaper, nobody has seen.

It should also be recalled that long before now, Governor Hope Uzodinma had assured to release the Whitepaper on all the recommendations of the Panels set up by his government or the government before him. And instead of living upto his vow or assurance to release the Whitepaper, he decided to play Politics of Vendetta with the issue.

The same government did not inform its audience that it has also been in Court over the same University. Why not wait for the Court to give Judgement on the matter you brought to it? Why resorting to  self help?

We want to let all men and women of deserving conscience to know that, the government in Imo wants to kill the Eastern Palm University like it has killed every other Institution or establishment in the State. Senator Rochas Okorocha had got licences for five Universities as governor. The structures are on ground, including, the University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Aboh Mbaise/Ngor-Okpala, University of Creative Technology, Nkwerre, Marine University Oguta, University of Medical Sciences, Ideato and so on. The government in Imo has abandoned all of them, but only keen in taking over Eastern Palm University.

It is also important to state that the government came up with the worrisome claim of recovering the Eastern Palm University to distract attention from the ugly developments in the State, in the past two days, in which, not less than five Imo Indigenes had been killed, including the former Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Owerri Branch, Barr. Ndionyenma Nwankwo, because the Security situation in the State has deteriorated. A Journalist, Mr. Precious Nwadike was  beaten into coma, allegedly by one of the governor’s brothers, with his Private Security Personnel. The man was flown to Lagos when his condition was getting out of hand.

ln the past two days too,  ISOPADEC workers had chased away the management and locked the gates of the Commission before embarking on indefinite strike, for non-payment of Salaries for ten months. The workers in the State just called off their own Strike for the same reason.

There was also a general outcry within the same period over the approval of N9 billion loan for the governor by the State House of Assembly, making it about N40 billion loan, the government has taken in one year. Add the N40 billion to  N94 billion  Federal  Allocation, N52 billion from IGR, ISOPADEC  funds and Local governments' allocations and see the Billions that had come into the coffers of the lmo State government,  with  not even one project to show for all the Billions.  Whereas,  Okorocha never borrowed money for any reason,  and was able to have more than one thousand verifiable projects to his credits. 

lt is equally interesting to inform that, the ongoing APC re-registration exercise has totally failed in Imo, because the real members of the Party are insisting that the right thing should be done and the right action taken. Nobody is coming out. And the market people have refused to be used. The untenable claim of recovering Eastern Palm University, was part of the anger against Okorocha.

From all indications, the government in Imo came to destroy and not to build. The government has grounded every Institution in the State. It has already destroyed or demolished some of Okorocha’s projects as governor. 

The government in Imo does not have the passion, the vision and the mission which Okorocha’s government had. It has resorted to prosecuting an undeclared war against Okorocha, not knowing that no one curses who God has blessed.      

Sam Onwuemeodo
Special Adviser (Media) to the former Governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha

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