Events in Imo State in recent times give little room for comfort. Often, the worries arise mainly because of the style of governance of Governor Rochas Okorocha. The governor has, for some time now, been galloping from one controversy to another.
The way he has been running the affairs of the state gives him away as someone who either cherishes controversies or deliberately courts them. The danger is that governance loses credibility when a governor elected by the people embarks on a flight of fancy. The most recent case in point of Governor Okorocha’s exuberant and flip-flop policy is his ambitious plan to set up two universities before the end of his tenure.
This is in addition to the existing state university in Owerri. His dream universities come by the names, Loyola Jesuit University to be sited in Ngor-Okpala Local Government Area and Imo European University to be located at the governor’s country home in Ideato South Local Council of the state. These new universities are coming after the governor’s bid to relocate the existing Imo State University (IMSU) to his Ogboko home town was greeted with fierce disapproval.
The Governor has set up a committee to decide the permanent site of IMSU within Owerri zone even though a permanent site for the university already exists. This, again, is another recipe for confusion. Ordinarily, there is nothing wrong with the Chief Executive of a state desiring to set up new institutions of higher learning. But there is everything wrong when a vision is not in sync with realities on ground. In his plan, the Governor did not offer any constructive idea of how the new institutions would be financed and sustained during and beyond his tenure, especially given the lean resources of the State.
Besides, it is a well known fact that the governor, in the guise of relocating IMSU, has already built some structures in his home town in the name of Imo State University. What happens to those structures now? Who inherits them and for what purpose? We even wonder why the governor should come up with the idea of three state-owned universities when the existing IMSU is suffering from poor funding. Academic and non-academic staff of the University are still spoiling for war with government over unpaid salaries and allowances. How then can the government conveniently fund other universities in addition? We are not convinced that Governor Okorocha actually wants to establish any new university.
The pronouncement may just be another antic aimed at diverting attention. But whatever his intent, we urge him to concentrate on the existing Imo State university and get it to compete favourably with other universities in the land. That is the sensible thing to do rather than toying with the idea of multiple state universities that will never come to be. Since governance is for public good, we advise the governor to shun actions that will polarize the state along zonal or clannish lines. Governor Okorocha needs reminding that in politics, it is advisable for political leaders to know the difference between what they think is right and what would not work, not necessary in the short term, but in the long run. The plan for these new universities is simply self-serving.
To embark on projects with no enduring benefits amounts to scoring cheap political points. If the governor wants to bequeath a worthy legacy, we advise him to carefully select projects and goals that are achievable and are dear to the hearts of the people of Imo State. It needs reiterating that many political office holders fail in office because they either wittingly or unwittingly, allow their virtues to become their vices.
We urge Governor Okorocha to rethink and begin to give Imo citizens a say in the decisions he makes. To continue to slam critical issues like a kick in the stomach does not bode well for the state. It makes governance look like a fraud.
Culled from The Sun