Former governor of Imo State and member representing Imo West Senatorial District, Senator Rochas Okorocha has dared Governor Hope Uzodimma to recover his private university, Eastern Palm University (EPU), Ogboko, Ideato South council area of the state, if he has the legal power to do so.
Okorocha insisted that the university, which was a creation of the law, does not belong to the state government.
The senator was reacting to the the government’s statement that it had recovered the Eastern Palm University and had been empowered to deal decisively with anyone or group of persons ready to test the will of government over ownership of the university.
In a statement issued on his behalf by his media adviser, Sam Onwuemeodo, Okorocha urged the general public to disregard the claim by the state government that it had recovered the university because it had no reason to take over the university from him.
According to him, the government’s claim was only aimed at distracting the public from the total collapse of governance in the state.
“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,” the statement reads.
Okorocha said 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, with a and claim to have based the action on a Whitepaper, seen by nobody.
The former governor reminded Governor Uzodimma of his assurance 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 up to his vow or assurance to release the Whitepaper, he decided to play Politics of Vendetta with the issue.
“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,” the statement adds.