The Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha has directed that his free education programme for primary and secondary schools in the state begins with immediate effect.
The governor, who is expected to swear-in the newly appointed commissioners, acting chairman, Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers and three others, said those who had paid for the current school year to report to their principals/headmasters for refund of such fees.
He also ordered principals, teachers and staff of the state school system to immediately stop collecting fees/levies from students.
The governor equally directed that the N150,000 tuition fees paid by students of the state-owned university be reversed to the old fee structure.Giving the directives over the weekend, the governor stated that unlike the former directive, he wanted the free education already declared to commence from the day he was sworn in as the 14th governor of the state.
Owelle Okorocha, who made these remarks while receiving some federal legislators at the Government House, Owerri, restated that education was compulsory in the state and that non-compliance would attract punishment for parents and guardians.
While congratulating the Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha on his emergence, Owelle Okorocha, who insisted that his administration was about the general good of the state and not party affiliations called on all elected public officials to shun party differences and pursue common goals in the state.
He revealed that he would convene a forum for both those that won and lost the 2011 elections to seek common front to reduce distractions through unnecessary court cases.
The governor reminded the federal legislators of their primary role in addressing certain germane issues of their constituencies including roads construction, erosion menace, second Niger Bridge, among others, expatiating further that their performance and connection with their respective constituencies would ensure their continuity in rendering quality legislative service to the people.
Okorocha maintained that the legislators must sustain peace and unity of the Nigerian state through close cooperation irrespective of the geographical divisions of the country, asserting that he was a firm believer in “one Nigeria”.
Earlier in a speech, Ihedioha who led the legislators said they were on the courtesy call to extend the goodwill of the House of Representatives to the governor.
He agreed that there was need for a positive synergy between the state government and the national house to deliver the much wanted dividends of democracy and pledged to work cordially with the government.
In his own contribution, Senator Osita Izunaso expressed the belief that the vexed issues of dichotomy between the Abuja and state politicians were over, pointing out that with the Okorocha administration, there would be beneficial cooperation between the groups.
In a vote of thanks by Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi, he stressed the importance of active synergy between the arms of government for the benefit of the people.
In the team were legislators from Enugu, Anambra, Ebony, Imo and Benue states.
Meanwhile, the state House of Assembly has commended the governor for being in tune with the hopes and aspirations of Imo civil servants as typified in the prompt response to the payment of salary arrears owed by the past administration.
A resolution dated June 15, signed by the Clerk of the Imo State House of Assembly, Mr. Chris Duru, stated that Resolution 351 was passed by the House during its sitting on Tuesday, June 14.