Ex-Gov’s Allies Appointed Into Key Positions In Abia
THE new Abia state governor Dr Okezie Ikpeazu is the successor of his fellow PDP member, Chief Theodore Orji, who is now senator representing Abia Central in the Upper Chamber.
Prior to the 2015 general elections, there was clamour and agitation by the Abia South senatorial zone also known as Ukwa Ngwa section to produce the next state governor on the basis that the zone had not done so or that there had not been an Abia state governor of Abia South/Ukwa Ngwa extraction. Although this was not constitutionally provided, it was considered by many as equitable, justifiable and fair to have an Abia South indigene to succeed Orji.
While guber aspirants from Abia North and Abia Central zones that had produced the state governor objected to outright concession of the slot to Abia South, stressing South zone had also competed for the position against the North and Central zones in the previous elections, governor Orji threw his weight in favour of the South zone, insisting that he must hand over to somebody from there.
Consequently when governor Ikpeazu who hails from Abia South, resigned from Abia State Environment Protection Agency (ASEPA), and quickly joined the race for the PDP guber ticket, it was easily insinuated and widely believed that he was Orji’s anointed successor and this later come to be so.
Going by the emergence of godfatherism in Nigerian politics, rightly or wrongly, outgoing governors strive to have successors of their choice and making. In this regard, governor Ikpeazu is so believed to be former governor Orji’s choice and making. And where this became the case, Ikpeazu expectedly may not immediately begin to change the existing policies of Orji or uproot his structures including some of the appointments he made.
Recall that the same Orji’s structures and appointees worked for Ikpeazu’s victory at the polls hence for continuity at least within the first 100 days or more, Ikpeazu ought to maintain the status quo he met or inherited from Orji including contracts. This can be seen in the activities and appointments Ikpeazu has so far made. In this regard, Ikpeazu’s activities in the office so far are being traced or credited to the former governor’s ‘dictation’ even in the name of temporary continuity.
A top member of the PDP in the state who spoke on the issue said that Ikpeazu after assuming office set out executing contracts for the rehabilitation of the seven roads at Aba and some in Umuahia and Ndioji Abam -Arochukwu roads that were awarded by Orji’s administration.
Corroborating the allegation, a member of APGA said that almost all the 13 appointments made so far by governor Ikpeazu were decided by the former governor. Theses he said were either Orji’s close associates, relations and former appointees. He listed them as the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Eme Okoro who served Orji as Secretary Of Abia Elders Council, Chief Umeh Kalu who was Orji’s Commissioner for Justice and has been re- appointed to the position by Ikpeazu.
Dr Solomon Ogunji who was Environment Commissioner under Orji was recently appointed by Ikpeazu as Special Adviser on Aba Renewal , Chief Ukpai Agwu Ukpai was re- appointed by Ikpeazu to his former position as Adviser on Special Duties, while Mr Godwin Adindu was appointed Chief Press Secretary by Ikpeazu from his Media Assistant position to ex- governor Orji.
Even Ikpeazu’s Chief of Staff Mr Chijioke Nwakodo was Chief Economic Adviser to Orji. Mr Ugo Emezue who was Orji’s former Adviser on Electronic Media was appointed by Ikpeazu as Special Assistant Media, while Valentine Okpechi Orji’s Acting Director of Protocol got elevated by Ikpeazu as Substantive Director of Protocol.
The few appointments made that were not influenced by Orji, but by governor Ikpeazu were those of Hon Kalu Uduma former member of the House of Representatives for Arochukwu/Ohafia who is now Adviser on Due Process, Mr Ojo Maduekwe who is Special Assistant Media, Mr Erondi E. Erondi -Senior Special Adviser on Special Duties, and Elder John Nwangborogwu who was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff in the Deputy Governor’s Office.
Barrister Chinedum Elechi former deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly is Ikpeazu’s Adviser on Assembly Matters.
Tongues are already wagging why out of the 13 appointments so far made by Ikpeazu, six are indigenes of Abia North zone, with five from Ohafia, four from Abia south and three from Abia Central.
In the house of assembly, the positions are held thus, PDP Speaker is Martins Azubike from Isiala North constituency in Abia Central senatorial zone, deputy Speaker is Mr Cosmos Ndukwe from Bende South Constituency in Abia North, Mr Chinedum Orji of Umuahia Central constituency of Abia Central zone is the Majority Leader, Chief Whip is Tony Mezie Nwaubani of Ukwa West of Abia South zone.
The House has APGA ‘s Abraham Oba of Aba South as Minority Leader and Chibuzo Okogbue of Bende South as Minority Whip
While handing over to Ikpeazu on May 29 at the new International Conference Center, Umuahia Orji expressed joy that ultimately, he was handing over to Dr Okezie Ikpeazu from Abia South, the zone that had not produced the state governor.
He urged Ikpeazu’s Abia South kinsmen and the people of the state to give him the support and co-operation required to govern and develop the state and by so doing show proof that they Abia South in practice welcome their long agitation for Abia Governor of Abia South/ Ukwa Ngwa extraction.
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