A suspended national President of the Imo State University Alumni Association, Mr. Ferdinand Akano has been petitioned to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission by members of the Association over accusations bordering on financial recklessness, extortion and abuse of office.
Akano, who was until his suspension, the Chairman of Lagos Chapter of the IMSU Alumni Association and National President of the Association has also been stopped by the Lagos Chapter in his bid to defy the suspension slammed on him by the Board of Trustees of the Association and go ahead to re-contest for the Chairmanship of the Chapter. However, in an apparent desperation, he went ahead to conduct a parallel election which returned him as the Lagos State Chairman of the Association, outside the authentic Chairman, Mr. Anukanti, who was elected alongside other members of the Association.
Investigations reveal that the Isu born Prince of the popular Akano royal dynasty was suspended by the Board of Trustees over allegations that he failed to account for over 25 Million Naira allegedly collected as an illegal Alumni Development Levy, from graduating students of the University, against a White Paper issued by the Ikedi Ohakim administration outlawing the collection of such fees from graduating students of the University. The Board also queried him over a suspicious 30% kickback which he said he was giving to the management of the university for helping to collect the levy from graduating students of the University.
Some members of the Association also accuse him of colluding with one Chief Henry Ike who had originally initiated the collection of the “extortive alumni Development Levy”, to allegedly access several millions of Naira frozen by EFCC order in 2009 in a new generation bank in Owerri. The said Mr. Henry Ike had used an unregistered Association of Imo State University Alumni to collect the levies running into millions of Naira before the EFCC and a visitation panel set up by the State Government waded in and stopped further collection of the levy.
The Board had also accused the suspended President of deceiving other members of the National Executive Council of the Association to appoint him as the Alumni representative to the Governing Council of the University, as against the University Law which stipulates that the Alumni Association selects its representative to the Governing Council through election. The Board also set up an Investigative Panel to investigate the allegations against him and report back to them. However, Mr. Akano refused to honor several invitations extended to him by the Committee, boasting that he enjoys the confidence of the governor and members of his kitchen cabinet, hence, he is untouchable.
Meanwhile, the national executive Council of the Association has disclaimed a purported convention of the Association of Nigerian Universities Alumni (ANUA) said to be scheduled to hold in Imo State University. The acting President of the Association, through a statement said the Imo State University Alumni Association is neither a member of the said ANUA nor was anytime it was discussed or agreed by NEC members to be part of the Association or to host any such convention. Investigations further show that the said ANUA was registered at the CAC barely two months ago, precisely, on the 20th of August, 2020 with IT number, 150336.
In a related development, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Imo State University Alumni Association, Prince Chinedu Obi, who is also the National Organizing Secretary of the IPAC, had disclaimed an accusation by Akano, that he was fighting him because of his affinity with the current government in the State as; “diversionary and baseless.”
According to Obi, “Imo State University Alumni Association is a non-partisan and non-profit organization recognized by law by virtue of its registration with the CAC. We support our members in different areas of responsible undertaking they may have chosen. The governor of the State at any time is the grand-patron of the Association and it we would be happy to have a national President that enjoys a good affinity with the governor.
However, I am sure that the governor of Imo State is a man that believes in rule of law and transparency and would not encourage acts of criminality and mismanagement of public funds by any of his followers or associates as Akano would want us to believe that he is to him. Akano, would be a good ambassador of the governor and our university, if he takes steps to clear his name of the allegations against him, instead of running from pillar to post, with tales aimed to blackmail and divert attention.”
Also suspended by the Board of Trustees of the Association are Dr. Anayo Uhiara and Mr. Ugochukwu Okorozo. Uhiara, a staff of the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, also faced similar controversies when he was the Chairman of ASUP in Poly Nekede, as he was reportedly removed unceremoniously and sanctioned. Okorozo, who was the national PRO affixes the title of ‘Dr.’ to his name, but independent investigations by this medium confirms that he is neither a medical doctor nor is there any evidence of his completion of a doctoral degree in any university in Nigeria. Both were suspended by the Board for insurbodination and being accessory to acts of impropriety in the Association. Their suspensions are yet to be lifted.
When contacted on phone, Comrade Ferdnand Akano denied the allegation, describing same as mere distraction of which he won’t succumb to.He challenged anyone accusing him of such to make his or her facts public.Better still, our reporter should go to the IMSU bursary unit to verify if such money was approved to him.