Education Commissioner—Onwuliri Visits Imo State University
By Barr Ekene Bob-Ekechukwu
Yesterday being Tuesday August, 27 2019, the Honourable Commissioner for Education, Prof. (Noble Lady) Viola Adaku Onwuliri was in Imo State University on an official visit. She was warmly recieved by the Vice-Chancellor (VC), Principal Officers and Directors of the University. In a meeting with the University Management at the Senate Building, the Commissioner informed them of the government’s resolve to clean the rot generated in the system during Rochas Okorocha’s administration and to develop the University in line with the Rebuild Imo Agenda of Gov Emeka Ihedioha.
She however frowned at the report of, the existence of illegal satellite campuses, National Youth Service Corp posting racketeering, sexual harrasment of female students by lecturers, indecent dressing on campus, cultism, extortion and other vices which she said were inimical to the Rebuild Imo Agenda of the administration.
She charged the Management to ensure that such vices were eradicated from the system so that the University can make progress. She also informed the Management of the Governor’s approval for the remaining part of Okigwe road Secretariat to be allocated to the University in order to expand it’s premises to create a more conducive environment for learning. Finally, she provided a hotline for public complaints stressing that government was ready to carry everyone along in the plan to develop the University.
In addition, she notified them on the government’s plan to construct another access road to the University. She reminded them that during her time as Minister of State for Education, she attracted grants of N1.5bn and N1.2bn for the University and Federal University of Technology Owerri, respectively. She said that her acceptance to serve as Commissioner after serving as Minister was driven by her passion to rescue the sector which was almost ruined by the last administration. Stating that she had rejected Okorocha’s offer to serve in his Cabinet as Education Commissioner even before she became a Minister. The Commissioner pledged to do more for the University in her new position with the cooperation of the Management.
In her response, the VC expressed her gratitude to the Commissioner for finding time to pay the University a visit. She informed the Commissioner that the University had been starved of funds since Okorocha’s government stopped releasing the statutory subventions over 3 years ago. She said that the University also lacked basic amenities and was in dire need of male hostels. She thanked the Governor for allocating the remaining part of Okigwe road Secretariat to the University, the plan to construct a new access road and for graciously approving the payment of 100% salaries from the 68% paid by Okorocha’s government. She promised to tackle the vices mentioned by the Commissioner, while still pledging the loyalty of the University Management to the Rebuild Imo Agenda of Gov Ihedioha.
Thereafter, the Commissioner also paid a visit to the Student Union Government (SUG) Executives where she was recieved by the President, Comrade Oguike Arinze Collins and members of his Cabinet. She informed them that she was there to familiarize with the SUG and reiterated the resolve of government to provide a conducive learning environment for students. She told them that the government of Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha was passionate about raising the fallen standard of education in the University. She also pledged that the government would soon provide decent accomodation for Youth Corpers and automatic employment for the best serving Corper.
In their response, the students thanked the Commissioner for making out time in her busy schedule to visit them. They complained of lack of basic amenities in the University which has adversely affected academic activities. They informed the Commissioner that the roof of the badly constructed SUG Secretariat donated by Hon Uche Nwosu was leaking and requires urgent repairs. They also decried instances of extortion and sexual harrasment of female students by Lecturers, pleading with the government to look in to the matter. When asked about the “Free Education ” programme of the last administration, they students stated that there was no free education in the University.
They said non-indigenes studying Law and Medicine in the University paid N190,000 and N180,000 as school fees, respectively. While on admission, indigenes paid N70,000 as Acceptance Fee, another N10,000 undisclosed fee and N19,500 paid annually as “Ancillary Fees”. They students said they were more interested in quality education and not a spurious free education programme which lowered the standard of education in the University. Therefore, they pleaded with the Governor to do everything possible to restore the quality of education for which the University was known.
By Barr Ekene Bob-Ekechukwu