A socio-cultural youth group in Imo State, Orluzurumee Youth Assembly (OYA) have approached the state High Court, Owerri division, demanding for the immediate recovery of the Eastern Palm University, Ogboko, allegedly converted to personal property by the former governor, Rochas Okorocha.
The reporters gathered that Okorocha had built the university during his administration on the lands donated by his kinsmen in 2012.
The case with suit no. HOW/585/2020, dated 18th August 2020 also instituted by one Celestine Uzoanakwe for himself and on behalf of landowners of the university, has been fixed for hearing on September 7th, 2020.
The plaintiffs, who joined the state governor, Hope Uzodinma, as the first defendant and others in the suit, also asked the court, “to set aside and nullify any agreements of whatsoever nature” regarding the ownership of the institution.
They also demanded, “an order of the court directing the first defendant (Uzodinma) to immediately take over the management, control and running of the Eastern Palm University, Ogboko for and on behalf of the people of Imo State.”
Speaking to newsmen at a press conference held in Owerri, Engr. Christian Okolie, group’s education committee chairman accused Okorocha of building the varsity with state resources, insisting that it should be forfeited to the state.
Okilie said, “what we see in all of these is the wicked machination of a governor who after building a school with public funds would deploy the instruments of state power to convert it to his private property. But this move will be vehemently resisted.”
Uzoanakwe claimed that “we were initially forced to donate the lands to the state government during Okorocha’s administration for the purpose of building the permanent site of Imo State University. But upon the completion of the school, Okorocha converted it to his personal entity and called it Eastern Palm University, Ogboko.
“This was done without our consent or any form of compensation. Okorocha also declined to sign a memorandum of understanding regarding the lands which belong to five different communities in our area.”