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Rochas, political brand, damaged at IMSU




Nearly six years ago, Owelle Ndigbo Rochas Okorocha prevailed over incumbent governor Ikedi Ohakim in a contest for the Imo state government house. Imo Rescue Mission he called his political machine. He campaingned the “Imo must be better”. Afterwards, I read in a newspaper of a certain prophet (a non-Igbo) predicting that Rochas will be elected president of Nigeria in 2019 if he runs with Fashola or some other person from the Western Nigeria. Governor Rochas build roads, declared free education for indigene of the state, erected modern structures for schools, paid teachers’ salaries and inspired them to deliver as professionals, revamped moribund establishments in agriculture, hospitality and tourism, and provided beautify and dignity for the state.

And the neighbouring Abia State wishes their governor was like Rochas. Then he felt that he could take Ndigbo with him into an emerging APC driven mostly by Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba interests. Should the people prefer to dump him for leaving the party they were comfortable with, he would fail in his bid for a second term as governor. He still took the risk but the people re-elected him because they had seen his good work. As leader of APC in Igboland, he then took it upon himself to ensure the election of APC presidential candidate Buhari and other APC candidates as senators, reps and state legislators. Lately he succeeded in creating an APC senator from the Southeast in the person of Ben Uwajumogu.

The multiple construction and political projects amidst the slump in national revenue soon weighed down on Governor Rochas’ funding of the various institutions owned by the Imo state government. In the but in which I rode from Ikeja to church in Ajah, Lagos were two fellow passengers, females, one an Imo State University (IMSU) graduate, the other, a graduate of Federal University of Technology, Owerri who said four of his sisters graduated from IMSU, the IMSU graduate was saying things too terrible to be true of IMSU and in was shouting “sentimental”! “sentimental exaggeration,” trying to convince them that they must have over reacted in presentation of the issue, but the more I protested the more the two ladies gave examples of the University’s hellish activations. The saddest part of it is that they saw Rochas’ hands in the whole mess as if the Owelle Ndigbo had unmasked himself as a satanic principality.

According to them the merciless exploitation of students by their lecturers- unprecedented corruption has become the badge of IMSU. At each exam time, a lecturer who has hardly even bordered to deliver thirty percent of the course content would tell the class that they know what to do, if they wanted to pass the course. Of course, the students already know what he means- he is just careful to remind them that the money-for-marks trade is still the order of the day. The class rep goes round the class to collect from each student a large sum of money the lecturer has demanded, and brings it to him.

If any student failed to pay, their names are submitted to the don, and that is the beginning of carry over for such students, except they eventually find a way to pay. One way the girls can escape is by meeting the don at a place of his choice where he will satisfy his lust on their bodies. When a lecturer supervises a students’ final year project, he expects a special gift from the student. And the student is afraid when a lecturer doesn’t collect bribe from him or her. When a hard working and bright student gets a decent grade, peers ask, “which lecturer did you sort”? The tragedy of the sex-for-marks culture is that young ladies in the school who think they can satisfy the lecturers’ ungodly demands hardly bother with real studies at all, and they don’t have to. But, occasionally they loss on every side.

Some girls lamented to my fellow passengers that they all had slept with that son of a bitch, yet none of them received a pass mark. I asked the IMSU graduate: “Why don’t you report the threats to somebody who can come to your rescue? “There is nobody to come to our rescue”, she replied. “The VC who was trying to save us was kicked out. Apart from the lecturers, we are also in bondage to the cultists who rob or rape fellow students. The lecturers are also cultists and when you report an attack by cultist students, the lecturers and the admin will say you were attacked because you too are a cultist. You have to be a fiery child of God in that school to overcome the institutionalised obstacles to completion of your degree in the minimum of four years”. Rochas has done so well as governor until lately. Will he allow his name to continue to be sullied at a University from which people are moving to every part of Nigeria? Will he not take steps to restore his political base? I wonder o!

Franklin works in strategy and communication firm

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