RECOVERY CONTINUES: "EASTERN PALM UNIVERSITY, OGBOKO BELONGS TO IMO STATE NOT ROCHAS"~ NJOKU COMMITTEE

By Ogu Bundu Nwadike, M.A

It won't be wrong for anybody to describe this period in Imo State as a period characterized by the recovery of moveable and immovable properties stolen from the Government and people of Imo State by the immediate past governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha. I call it "Operation Recover All Recoverables". And from all indications, the recovery continues!

The latest stolen property that will soon be recovered is the Eastern Palm University located in Ogboko community in Ideato South LGA. The Committee that was set up by the governor of Imo State, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha CON, KSC, led by Prof. Jude Njoku, to enquire about the ownership status of the university, on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 submitted its report to the governor.

And the summary of its recommendations on the ownership of Eastern Palm University, Ogboko was that the institution belongs to Imo State and not Rochas Okorocha, and as such should be recovered by Gov. Ihedioha.

The Committee stated that it found out that the large expanse of land on which the school sits was bought and paid for with the money of Imo State. It stated further that the construction of the university was also done with money belonging to Imo State and Imo people.

The Committee discovered that somehow along the lines, there was a supposed law from the Imo State House of Assembly (IMHA) which suddenly allocated 10% ownership of university to Imo State and 90% to some invisible private owners led by the ex-governor Rochas Okorocha.

The Committee found out that the university ab initio was registered by the National Universities Commission (NUC) as the 2nd university belonging to Imo State. It  therefore recommended that the Eastern Palm University, Ogboko be retained as a Campus of the Imo State University.

Gov. Ihedioha thanked the Committee for a job well done, saying that they only reconfirmed what Imo State Government and Imo people had all the while known and confirmed. He promised to act on the recommendations of the Committee soon.

It's now clear that the ex-governor Rochas Okorocha had looted a whole university belonging to Imo State, renamed it Eastern Palm University, and located in his village, in his town and in his LGA.

It's also certain now that in this era of "Operation Recover All Recoverables", the Imo State Government led by Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha is set to recover the university for Imo people. There's no looking back. There's no going back. No retreat. No surrender. Truly, the recovery continues!

My worry is that in spite of all the evidence of concupiscence and improprieties perpetrated by Ex-governor Rochas Okorocha, some Imo people still express support for him. Should Gov. Ihedioha have kept quiet and carried on as if it's business as usual? Should Gov. Ihedioha have been silent as if all things were bright and beautiful?

Are stolen government property not been discovered and recovered from Rochas, his wife, his children, his family, his friends, his aides and his agents? Should Gov. Ihedioha have swept the looting by Rochas and Company under the carpet?

Let it be known that Gov. Ihedioha and his wonderful team cannot alone recover all that Rochas and Company looted from Imo State in eight years. They alone cannot rebuild Imo State. Imo people must stand up and demand for the return of all that Rochas and Company looted from the State.

Truth be told, I feel appalled that Imo people can still afford to wake up and retire to bed daily to relax and rest, leaving only Gov. Ihedioha and Hon. Jasper Ndubuaku Committee alone to be toiling and troubling over the money and property of Imo State Government and Imo people that were looted by the ex-governor, his family, friends, aides and agents.

In other climes, the crimes against Imo State and Imo people by Rochas and Company would have been rated worse than the Otokoto saga, with the culprits summarily brought to book accordingly. But this generation of Imo people and youths leave the recovery of all recoverables only in the hands of Gov. Ihedioha and his aides. What a pity!

Fortunately, the recovery of both moveable and immoveable property belonging to Imo State Government and Imo people continues with remarkable success to prove that the immediate past regime was populated and operated by thieves.

However, it would get easier and better if all Imolites will call a spade by its name and join Gov. Ihedioha in recovering all recoverables looted by Rochas and Company. Imo people must continue to report the places where the stolen government properties are hidden.

Doing so will be a good contribution to the RebuildImo Project. Continually demanding that Rochas and Company return whatever public money or properties in their custody till now will be recorded as a good contribution to the rebuiding of Imo State.

Eastern Palm University has been recovered, other looted properties are set to be recovered too. What remains is the continued support of Ndimo, who should add their legs and hands, ears, eyes and voices to ensure that things belonging to entire Imo people aren't converted to private ownership by an individual, Rochas Okorocha, his extended family and his few stooges, friends, aides and agents. This is the time! Imo must be rebuilt!

*Nwadike is the Special Assistant on Research to the Governor of Imo State.

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