Edo govt, Esan group bicker over citing of medical school

By The Citizen

Edo State government and a group called Esan Elders, Saturday, engaged in a war of words over allegation by the latter that the state government planned to relocate the College of Medicine in the state-owned Ambrose Ali University (AAU) from Ekpoma to Iyamoh, Edo North Senatorial District.

This was contained in a statement issued by the Esan Elders Forum, yesterday, where it decried dwindling student population at the institution. According to the group, student population has reduced from 65,000 when the present administration took over in 2008 to 25,000.

The statement, issued by the National Chairman of the Forum, Chief Julius Akpede, National Vice Chairman, Prof. Patrick Onolememen, Director of Publicity and Strategy, Lawrence Odiase and chairman Budget, Finance and Planning, Sunny Ehiagwina, also complained against the non-appointment of a substantive Vice Chancellor by the state government.

But in a reaction, yesterday, Special Adviser to Oshiomhole on Media, Kassim Afegbua, denied that the state government ever nursed the idea of relocating the College of Medicine to any other place 'not to talk of Iyamoh, the governor's home town.

'We find it very laughable and ridiculous that this is coming from persons who are enlightened. To state in clear terms: the government of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole does not have, whether immediate or remote, whether now or in the future, any plan to relocate the College of Medicine to any other location than where it is presently.'

The Esan Elders Forum said: 'The bitter truth is that no meaningful development can take place in a university where there is no substantive Vice Chancellor. The situation in the university is made worse because all the principal officers in the policy making echelon of the university -Vice Chancellor, Bursar and registrar- were merely appointed by the governor in acting capacity three years ago. Regrettably, this is one of the surest ways to kill a public university.'

It said the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) that has been training medical students of AAU was the handiwork of Esan leaders and that it would be unwise for the same school to now be relocated to a place where there are no structures