Okorocha berates Uzodimma as Imo shuts ex-gov’s college
THE Imo State Government, on Tuesday, sealed off the Rochas Foundation College, Orji, Owerri, said to belong to a former governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha.
Government officials arrived at the site of the college, which used to be the staff quarters of the Imo Broadcasting Corporation, and sealed it off.
Our correspondent, who visited the college, reports that the state government had taken over the massive property.
However, Okorocha asked Uzodimma to take all his investments and everything he had, but allow the Eastern Palm University, Ogboko, to exist.
He said he had ordered the transfer of students of the EPU in the Ideato South Local Government Area of the state to other universities for the continuation of their studies, which would cost him over N113m.
Okorocha stated these in Abuja while hosting a delegation from the New Nigeria Group and old students of the Rochas Foundation College led by Alhaji Odi Mohammed and Adamu Suleiman.
The guests came to congratulate him on the conferment of the Maga Alherin Hausa (the great giver of the Hausa) by the Emir of Daura, Alhaji Umar Farouk, in recognition of his contributions to the education of indigent children in northern parts of the country.
Okorocha was at the weekend turbaned at the palace of the Emir in Daura, hometown of the President, Major General Muhamamadu Buhari (retd).
The PUNCH reported that the Imo State Government had announced that the State Executive Council had adopted the White Paper recommending that the university be retrieved from Okorocha, claiming that it was built with the resources of the state.
But Okorocha kicked when Uzodimma reportedly renamed the EPU as the Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe University, Ogboko, saying it remained his own.
Okorocha said, “My concern right now is what is happening in Imo State about the closure of the Eastern Palm University, which is the university I built for the Rochas Foundation College students, because it costs me a fortune annually to train these children in the university.
“That is why we decided to build a university called the Eastern Palm University to take these children as students. Now, there are about 325 students in that school in different fields of studies; 90 per cent of them, over 280, are all on scholarships of the Rochas Foundation.
“The institution has been closed; the children are not going to school. This is the only thing that scares me. Other than that, I’m fine with any political persecution; it is expected. But it gets me worried when it touches on the lives of these poor children.
“We have children from all over this country, from the South-west, North, South-east, North-central, South-south and everywhere at the Eastern Palm University. But for some political reasons, it has been closed. I would have been very happy if they can persecute me and take everything that I have, but leave that university to exist, because right now, I don’t know what to do with 325 students.
“I have just managed to speak with some universities to transfer the students and that will see me paying N350,000 on each of the students to go back to different universities since their university has been closed by the Imo State Government. That’s the only one that is an issue to me; other than that, I’m used to political persecution.”
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Print Media, Modestus Nwamkpa, who confirmed the closure of the Rochas Foundation College on Tuesday, said Governor Hope Uzodimma was committed to recovering the properties of the state allegedly looted by Okorocha and his family members.
Nwamkpa said the governor was only implementing the recommendations in various White papers by committees set up by the state government.
The governor’s aide said, “Yes, it is true (sealing off of the school). Governor Hope Uzodimma is committed to recovering all the stolen properties of the state. This is not a personal war; it is just the implementation of the recommendations of the White papers of the various committees set up by the government.”
But Okorocha’s spokesman, Sam Onwuemeodo, said the governor was jolted by his principal’s enormous political capacity.
Onwuemeodo said, “This is the fourth time the Imo State Government has announced that they are sealing that place. The EFCC had also announced that they had sealed it, but the truth is that Uzodimma should wake up. There is hunger in the state.
“This is just the renewal of his war against Okorocha after Okorocha and other strong APC chieftains in Imo State visited the APC national secretariat. Each time Uzodimma realises that the people are not happy with his style of governance, he uses Okorocha’s name to distract the people but the truth is that poverty and hunger pervade the atmosphere.
“He should be humble enough to consult Okorocha on how to govern the state.”