Bayelsa State Government has condemned in strong terms the former President of Ijaw National Congress (JNC), Professor Kimse Okoko, for instituting a law suit against the state government over the establishment of the University of Africa, Toru-Ora.
The professor of Political Science had in his suit claimed that Dickson was using state resources to set up a university he would later claim ownership.
But in a statement signed by the Honourable Commissioner of Information and Orientation, Hon. Jonathan Obuebite, yesterday and made available to newsmen in Yenagoa, the state capital, the government condemned the suit as “most reprehensible, mischievous and highly unpatriotic”.
He denied such speculation as contained in Okoko’s suit, saying that the setting up of the institution was a deliberate attempt by the state government to invest in education as a strategic means to development in Bayelsa State.
“The action of Professor Okoko is frivolous and a calculated attempt to peddle falsehood and a clear incitement against the government”, he noted.
He further stated: “For the avoidance of doubt, as we have severally stated, the establishment of the University of Africa, Toru-Orua was facilitated by the instrumentality of the state. It is a fee paying institution and its operations, not ownership, is based on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model and strategic collaborations with partnering universities and international institutions that will offer world class education which will further attract related investments to the state.
“Already, the university which was conceived as a first rate institution of learning has attracted so many partners from all around the world based on our high standard and expectation and the need to have such robust resources and intellectual enterprise to run it successfully. Just yesterday, the governor received a new set of partners who came on a courtesy visit to his office”, he stated.
The state government attributed Okoko’s action, which he further described as “cheap propaganda” to the failure of his candidate in the last governorship election, adding that nothing will deter him from achieving his administration’s objective on the establishment of the university.
“Obviously, Prof. Okoko is still smarting from the humiliating defeat of his candidate in the last governorship election but this will not in any way deter us from cleaning up the terrible mess left behind by him and his ilk. For the record, our government has made more investment in education more than any other in the state. It is even sad to note that with all the benefits and privileges the likes of Prof. Okoko had gotten from the state, he would be antagonizing the state on such frivolous grounds. Indeed, one would have expected that he would play the role of a respected elder statesman to support the development of the state instead of playing cheap politics and making mockery of the state he once plundered as Chairman and Pro-Chancellor of Niger Delta University (NDU)”.
“In any case, government is presently examining his activities in NDU. Government is also interested in the circumstances leading to the acquisition of the biggest energy plant in the state acquired by Prof. Okoko’ son”, the commissioner claimed in the statement.
Hon. Jonathan Obuebite
Commissioner of Information & Orientation