By Ifeoma Ofurum
The Imo State House of Assembly has urged Governor Rochas Okorocha to do everything to forstall any plan to downgrade the Alvan Ikoku Federal University of Education to its former status.
This followed a motion sponsored by Hon. Uche Oguwuike, representing Ikeduru, and seconded by Hon. Mike Iheanaetu, representing Aboh Mbaise.
Presenting the motion on the floor of the House, Hon. Oguwuike said that the institution, which was established in 1963 as Advanced Teachers Training College (ATTC) by the then government of Eastern Nigeria to produce needed teachers, was later upgraded to a college of Education through Edict No. 11of May 1973 and began to award the National Certificate of Education (NCE).
According to him, the institution was later affiliated to the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) which enabled it to run degree programmes.
He wondered why the institution would be downgraded by the present administration after it had passed through all these processes and been thoroughly upgraded by the past administration to a university, with Prof. Sadiq Abubakar as vice chancellor, and commended by Prof. Peter Okebukola, the former secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC).
Oguwuike noted the federal government silence over the issue and the protests of staff and students.
Contributing Hon. Iheanaetu described the action as inhuman, stressing that mischievous hands were behind it, warning that no one should play on the intelligence of the Igbo.
Also contributing, the member representing Isu, Hon. Ngozi Obiefule, blamed former president Goodluck Jonathan for effecting the upgrading barely two weeks to the end of his tenure.
President Jonathan had upgraded four colleges of education to federal universities, namely Alvan Ikoku Federal University of Education Owerri, Adeyemi Federal University of Education, Ondo, Federal University of Education Kano and Federal University of Education Zaria.