Concerned academics in the state which includes former chief executives of both federal and state universities have slammed the outgoing Governor Rochas Okorocha for hurriedly establishing four new universities and polytechnics less than four weeks to the end of his administration.
They described it as a reckless and irresponsible act aimed at creating disharmony between the incoming administration and the host communities who might believe that the proposed institutions are their own dividend of democracy and would feel offended, if the incoming administration decides either to suspend or revert them to their original status.
They said that the current educational fiasco is a clear manifestation of the level of the irresponsibility and recklessness of the leadership and members of the state House of Assembly.
In a joint press conference in Owerri, former vice-chancellor, Federal University of Technology Owerri, Prof. Jude Njoku; former vice-chancellors of Imo State University, Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie, Prof. Chuka Okonkwo, Prof. Obioma Iheduru; former vice-chancellor of Tansian University, Umunya, Prof. P A Ogbonna and former director of admission, Imo State University.
They noted that “from the architectural, infrastructural and equipment perspective, none of the newly-created institutions meets the basic requirements of a university or polytechnic campus. They can at best provide spaces for good secondary schools if and when properly furnished and equipped.”
“The NUC is legally bound to license any state university so long as the state House of Assembly has passed a bill. However, we were made to understand that the granting of approval by the NUC does not imply that the institution can admit and run any programme and award certificates. Indeed such institution cannot admit any student through the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board. The approval was granted based on this understanding.
“Armed with this development, Governor Okorocha and his team returned to Imo State and with the active connivance of the state House of Assembly, three bills for the establishment of other additional universities were passed and assented to by the governor. With these they returned to NUC for approval and this was granted them.”
They said that it was an irresponsible act for a governor who had not been able to fund the Imo State University for eight years to establish four new universities and polytechnics.