By Ifeanyi Maduako
When Chief Rochas Okorocha became the governor of Imo State in 2011, he appointed Dr (Mrs) Uche Ejiogu as the Executive Chairman of the Imo State Universal Basic Education Board (IMSUBEB). Before the expiration of Okorocha’s first tenure of four years, Dr Uche Ejiogu was removed as the IMSUBEB chairman. She was replaced with Mrs Getrude Oduka.
Dr Uche Ejiogu was made a Commissioner for Education. She had a brief stint as commissioner before resigning to contest election into the Imo State House of Assembly. She succeeded, and represented Ihitte Uboma State Constituency between 2015 and 2019. Mrs Getrude Oduka, her successor, was also removed after about two years on the seat as chairman of IMSUBEB.
She was replaced with a certain man (I cannot recall the name again now). The man was on the seat for about three months before he was removed and replaced with a certain then serving Magistrate, one Barrister Juliet. She was the last chairman of IMSUBEB during Okorocha’s regime. Therefore, in Okorocha’s regime of eight years, he appointed four chairmen of IMSUBEB and their respective board members.
When Chief Emeka Ihedioha became the governor of Imo State on May 29 2019, he sacked the last board members appointed by Okorocha. I visited IMSUBEB at that period in time and saw a court order purportedly served on the board from the then immediate past chairman whom I had earlier said was a magistrate as I was told. The court order was purportedly a restraining action against the Ihedioha’s government from either probing her tenure or sacking them from office. The court order was conspicuously pasted all over the notice board and entrance of the IMSUBEB building. I glanced through it and observed that it was served through a substituted means as ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction. I did not have the patience or time to study the court order thoroughly to get exactly what it was meant for, but I knew that it was a restraining order.
What later became of the court order is what I do not know till date. Whether Ihedioha’s government ignored or obeyed the court order is what I cannot tell with certainty.
However, what I know for sure is that Ihedioha appointed his own IMSUBEB board chairman and members in July, 2019. It was headed by Prof Obioma Iheduru. Ihedioha was removed from office by a powerful pronouncement from the Supreme Court of Nigeria on January14, 2020. Prof Iheduru and his board members, having realized that the governor who appointed them had been sacked by the apex court in the land, voluntarily handed over the mantle of leadership of the board to the most senior director to steer the affairs of the board in acting capacity pending when the new governor would appoint a substantive board chairman and members. Even Ihedioha’s board members stopped going to IMSUBEB immediately he was removed by the Supreme Court because by commonsense and logic, they knew that their jobs had come to an end.