K.O Mbadiwe University: Why Uzodinma and Okorocha Should Be Commended – By Dr. Bolaji G. Coker

December 17, 2021
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Several months ago and precisely on the 14th of July, 2021, I wrote a viral article titled: “K. O Mbadiwe University: What Rochas Okorocha Must Do”. In that article, I analyzed what seemed to be an apparent battle between the Imo state government and Sen. Rochas Okorocha over the ownership of K. O Mbadiwe University, formerly Eastern Palm University, Ogboko.

I also stated that based on my findings, the university was never a Public Private Partnership arrangement as many were made to believe. My position was premised on the fact that the National Universities Commission (NUC) website had listed the university as a government owned higher institution. Furthermore, I remarked that the process of recovering the university was commenced by the administration of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha and completed by the present regime of His Excellency, Sen. Hope Uzodinma.

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I also pointed out that the legal battle initiated by Okorocha over the ownership of the institution was needless as, in my opinion, I believed the university would better be managed by government because of funding. In addition to that is the fact that the provision of quality and affordable education is the fundamental obligation of government.

However, I concluded by saying that both Okorocha and Uzodinma were both fighting for the common interest of the people of Imo State, howbeit from different perspectives. I went ahead to profer a win-win solution were I suggested the state government compensate Okorocha for his efforts and investments in the University.

Recently, the NUC Chairman, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed handed over the operating license of the university to Gov Uzodinma, laying to rest any contention as to the rightful owner of the university. Some political neophytes and buccaneers tried to politicize the exercise as if to say that Okorocha had been defeated and disgraced. But any right thinking person may disagree with such parochial stance.

The truth of the matter is that the history of the university can never be complete without mentioning Okorocha as the founder. Also posterity won’t fail to acknowledge the efforts made by Gov Uzodinma to resolve the ownership of the institution and ensuring that academic activities commenced in earnest without disruption. In all these, it has become crystal clear that both Okorocha and Uzodinma deserve commendations for the various roles they played in the establishment of the university.

By founding an additional university for the people of Imo State, Okorocha has clearly demonstrated that he is indeed the Grand Commander of Free Education. And I believe he would seal that legacy if he withdraws all pending litigations against the government with regards to ownership of the institution. I think Okorocha would rubbish his legacy and project himself as being selfish if he continues to fight over the ownership of the university.

On his part, Uzodinma would be viewed as an icon of peace if he takes steps to compensate Okorocha for whatever personal investments he may have made in the project. This is necessary to ensure an enabling environment for academic activities to continue in the University. It is said that the grasses suffer when two elephants fight. The continuation of conflict over ownership of the university may affect her growth and development.

The staff and students of the university may continue to suffer and the purpose of establishing the university defeated. The infrastructure would become dilapidated and the huge investments made in the university wasted. Finally, it is in the best interest of the people of Imo state for both Okorocha and the government to thread the path of peace. For without peace, there can neither be progress nor prosperity. K. O Mbadiwe University should be seen as a no victor no vanquished situation. It is for the benefit of humanity.

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