Two weeks in Ebonyi, we could not but join numerous political appointees, who lavishly celebrated their investitures either as commissioner or special adviser to the governor of the state, Chief Dave Umahi. This was a follow up to the swearing- in of these designates Tuesday, first day of July. Political pundits believed that the appointments, were realignments meant to tally with oodles of party’s tenets against earlier appointment of non party faithful. I believe that this current appointments has calmed the fraying nerves.
Every leader hurries to operate the government at his whims aware of politicians’ uncanny pestering. The president, Mohammadu Buhari is not isulated from this problem equally at the moment. Indeed, in Ebonyi his Excellency Dave Umahi has set aside other considerations to appoint Professor Aja Kpuru Aja as the Chief Press Secretary. I was gripped, totally amazed at the mention of that renowned historian in a job, I would prefer to call, “job for the boys”. Aside from this, such position is technical and should be a special preserve of media practitioners. Though, I have not heard from the allottee a short while ago. I assumed he has faded from the scene, even before the curtain was drawn.
Logics would have justified that offer: the governor’s zeal to stock the leadership with men of high profile or work entirely with fresh blood that has not been soaked in political corruption.. I dey laughoo.
What about the Prof? Did he ever consult or did he play omniscience? Did he understand the role of a chief press secretary? Per chance, Prof considers using the platform to launch himself into the corridors of power. May be, he has chosen to strike the ball from the wrong flank. After all, Kpuru Aja could be right. Is the taste of the pudding no longer in the eating? At the last count, I understand that Prof has allegedly recovered from this hypnosis and escaped into oblivion.
Thank God! Such voluntary exit was easy for that university teacher. While the leave-taking was easy for Aja, it was a herculean task for the Caretaker Committee Chairmen of the 13 Local Government Areas of the state and their Development Centres’ counterparts. Engineer Umahi had earlier announced the retaining of these chairmen and coordinators. Many, particularly the gullible amongst them went into jamboree. Wise ones however, bluntly rejected the offer; believing there could be more to that than meet the eye. They knew the governor who they had worked against cannot be so generous to allow them transmute to his administration.
Could the rejection of such appointment been viewed with suspicion? Why would one spit-off honey from a taste bud; many had asked? Certainly, those who rejected the offer would have sensed that governor Umahi might be treading on the path of vendetta. There were palpable fears that the appointments will turn out to be a bait to trap them all. The first open signal was that; those who turned –in their resignation got it rejected and were asked to go to the governor personally, if it must be granted. Speculators suggested that the appointments has two significance: to keep these grass root politicians in his camp, while the election tribunal lasts or aid the just concluded probe by Ebonyi State House of Assembly (EBSHA) headed by Umahi’s hatchet-man Hon. Odefa Obasi Odefa.
This is coming few weeks after the pronouncement of that re-employment, the real reason for those controversial appointments and the suspicion therein has become an open secret. The result of the probe has been published in local tabloids. The State’s House Assembly Committee chaired by the Deputy Speaker would have made the work of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) easier. The ad hoc group has indicted many of the council chairmen of financial impropriety. Correct! This perhaps would justify any supposed punishment that will be given them. Opinions are rift that what has taken place is not probity but alleged vengeance for working against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the last election. Poor politicians! They are prone to retaliation from opposing party faithful.
In the beginning, I had thought that the governor was under the tutelage of 48 laws of power following the appointment of the State Secretary (SSG) Prof. Benard Odoh. I viewed that governor Umahi was retreating from putting too much trust in friends. His knowledge of these rules reverberated when he seems to conceal his intentions from party men.
I guess the party’s bigwigs had intervened at each point. Otherwise, the engineer would have continued to construct his laws of power even in the selection of his commissioners. The governor’s actions are no co-incidents. They are meant to put him at a vantage point capable of designing for him, a political dynasty beyond this generation. Engineer Umahi, indeed has kept many in suspended fear. He’s also cultivating an air of unpredictability. This however, is believed to have given him a sense of control ahead of any contemporary.
Of all the bluff is that made recently by Dr. Peter Mbam, General Manager Ebonyi State Community and Social Development Project. This “mother of all rejections” came to limelight at the dissolution of captains of all the government agencies and parastatals. Why would the gentleman who has served in this capacity for more than a dozen of years reject to be relieved of his job? Many have however, recommended that by the Act establishing the agency that there are due process since, it is an agency with the World Bank as a collaborator.
Whether, the sack is done in good fate or not is a different issue all together. Fragment of allegations; hold that both staffers and management of the agency are being owed six months salary. But the agency’s complex has been ordered sealed. The silence of the graveyard has been the lot of number 3 Amagu Street, Location of the agency and staffers have deserted the place.
It is no gainsaying reiterating former president of Uganda Idi Amin Dada’s philosophy: that when there’s a change of government, few heads must roll. However, we can only suggest decorum against any Gestapo action. After election; it is important to note that both those who voted for or against should be protected. Aside this, there must be a demonstration to prove those that voted against, what they should have missed, if they had not voted –in the incumbent.