As members of the International Liaison of Mbaise indigenes (ILMI) with headquarters in the United States of America, we strongly voice our disagreement with the planned relocation of Imo State University to Governor Rochas Okorocha’s hometown in Ogboko.
The Governor seems to be following the footsteps of some of his predecessors. We all know how the original Imo State University was lost to Abia State after Senator Ike Nwachukwu had relocated it to Uturu Okigwe. It is a result of the same “relocation syndrome” that most of the existing tertiary institutions in Imo State have been moved to Orlu Zone (including the IMSU teaching hospital).
There are several arguments against the proposed relocation of Imo State University to Ogboko.
First, there needs to be an equitable spread of the tertiary institutions among the different Zones (regardless where the Governor comes from). Imo state belongs to all of us and not to a particular Zone based on a Governor’s hometown. The Governor was voted into power by Imo State indigenes and not only by the people of his home town and he should be a Governor for all of Imo State.
Second, any re-organization or relocation of a tertiary institution should be based on institutional priorities (whatever will advance the growth, health, strength and competitiveness of the institution). It is more growth-effective and productive to maintain the location of a mother tertiary institution and establish campuses in other locations than to disable the foundation of an existing institution.
It is because of misguided policies, greed, corruption and lack of planning that Nigerian tertiary institutions have been reduced to such low levels that they presentlyfail to rank high even among the African nations. What a shame! The Governor can establish a campus or campuses of the University in his home town (or anywhere he considers appropriate) without hurting the one University we have in Imo State.
Third, what prevents His Excellency the Governor from establishing a brand new University in his hometown? He has the potential to attract both private and public investors to invest in any worthwhile venture that he can initiate. With a huge reservoir of bright, creative and highly-talented students, Imo state can benefit from any new (and existing) world-class University in our land.
As members of the ILMI, in addition to voicing our strong opposition to the planned relocation of IMSU to Ogboko, we think that such a move should be resisted by the people of Mbaise (in particular) and Imo State (in general). Was the late Governor, Sam Mbakwe, not alleged to have initially proposed a site for the University to be located between Aboh Mbaise and Ngor Okpala? We expect our elected leaders and representatives from Mbaise to fight this impending abnormality and prevent an injustice in the making.
Dr. Charles O. Uzoaru, M.D.