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Intense Lobby for Deputy Gov’s Position Begins in Enugu

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IMAGE: Sullivan Chime, Enugu State governor »


Barely 24 hours after the removal of Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi as the Deputy Governor of Enugu State by members of the House of Assembly, intense lobbying for the position has commenced within government circles in the state.

THISDAY checks revealed that Governor Sullivan Chime would likely forward the name of Onyebuchi’s replacement to the House of Assembly before the end of this week.

It reliably gathered that a state executive council meeting was held on Tuesday, moments after the deputy governor was removed. Another one will also be held before the weekend.

Inside sources said the development might not be unconnected with the search for a new deputy governor.

It was however gathered that the governor who is at the moment keeping the name to himself, had made it clear that the person must come from either Nkanu East or Nkanu West local government area.

The former deputy governor hail from Nara in Nkanu East council.
Meanwhile, three names have been touted as the likely persons appearing on the list from where the governor will pick his new deputy.

They include two Special Advisers to the governor, Uche Nwabodo, Special Adviser on PDI, and Rita Mbah, Adviser on Inter-Governmental Affairs. Also, the Vice-Chairman of Nkanu East local government, Uche Ogbu, is said to be on the list.

While Nwobodo hails from the same Nara community with the former deputy governor, where his father, a former chairman of the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC), Igwe Abel Nwobodo, is the present traditional ruler, Mbah on her part hails from Oruku in the same Nkanu East council.

Mbah has since her appointment remained a loyal and committed appointee of the governor as she has continued to serve as a link between the federal, state and local government area as they relate to the state government.

Though, taciturn, Mbah who is one of the vibrant stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in her council, has continued to bring her wealth of experience from the private sector to bear  in the discharge of her duties.

The third contender, Ogbu is also said to be highly favoured in the jostle for the deputy governorship of the state as sources said his candidacy is being pushed by an influential state government official who equally ensured his emergence as the council’s vice-chairman in the first place.

Members of the state House of Assembly had on Tuesday impeached Onyebuchi following the adoption of the report of the seven-man investigative panel, which found him guilty of gross misconduct bordering on abuse of office and disobedience to lawful directives of the governor.

Meanwhile, more reactions yesterday continued to trail the impeachment of the Onyebuchi as a group, Enugu Professionals Forum (EPF), has expressed satisfaction with the procedures followed by relevant authorities in ousting him from office.

This came as other groups and notable stakeholders in the state equally agreed with his removal.

The professionals, in a statement signed by the Secretary-General, Nebechi Ugo, said it was satisfied that all the parties in the matter were accorded fair hearing while other necessary procedures undertaken from the day the impeachment proceedings were commenced by the House of Assembly to the eventual impeachment, were religiously observed.

The group described Onyebuchi’s post-impeachment remarks faulting the investigative panel’s report as the ranting of a loser, saying that the three arms of government involved showed due diligence and respect for the rule of law in conducting the processes leading to Tuesday’s action.

“The EPF monitored the case of the impeachment of the deputy governor very closely, right from the beginning till the end and we’re satisfied and impressed with the fact that all due processes as prescribed by law were followed by the concerned authorities. Indeed all the arms of government involved in the matter showed exemplary maturity and due regard for rule of law in all their actions.”

On the threat by the former deputy governor to go to court to challenge his impeachment, the group said that “He has every right to do so but such efforts will end up in vain. We say so because all constitutional provisions were adhered to. So, what is he going to rely on? It’s nothing but a futile academic exercise.”

The forum also flayed what it described as the “condemnable conduct of the former deputy governor throughout the trial because we watched as he sought to employ blackmail and undue sentiments in his defence rather than addressing the charges against him directly.”

It noted that Onyebuchi’s public comments on the matter and constant reference to extraneous issues while still appearing before the panel were contemptuous and designed to cast doubts on the integrity of the members.
The group said: “Onyebuchi actually went very low with his predictable and well-worn tactic of trying to whip up undue sentiments and name-calling instead of addressing the unambiguous charges level led against him.

The EPF said the panel’s report vindicated its earlier submission that the answers given by the former deputy governor in  response to charges levelled against him by the state House of Assembly, were untenable and utterly dismissive because “they were full of falsehood and inaccuracies that could only have been designed to deceive the public.”

It further pointed out that the fact that Onyebuchi’s case was being championed by opposition elements and party in the state was a confirmation of the well-known fact that the actions he undertook that led to his impeachment were all part of a larger conspiracy against the government.

Also speaking in the same vein, the Lagos-based Regeneration Group advised Onyebuchi to pay more attention to his health rather than dissipate energy trying to sow seeds of discord and exonerate himself from blame in a matter he brought unto himself.

In a statement issued by Mr. Hillary Ogili, the group enjoined Chime to disregard the feeble attempts by his impeached deputy and his sponsors and focus on his visible transformation of the state.

“My advice to Governor Chime,” said Ogili, “is to ignore the tactics by his former deputy to distract him. He (Chime) should focus on his remarkable transformation of the state and not allow angry bad losers to distract him.
“The ex-deputy governor has said that he will go to court, and that he will pursue his senatorial ambition. These are his inalienable rights. We will advise him to pursue these goals instead of being used by other forces to attack the government and his former boss.

“We also advise him that since he has slumped twice in public functions, it is better for him to pay more attention to his health and the looming axe of EFCC dangling over his head than to be used by some people who want to use him to pursue their selfish goals.”

Chief Nnaemeka Ozougwu, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party  (PDP) in the state and Mr. Edmund Ogbodo, a public affairs analyst also added their voices to the matter, faulting Onyebuchi for his indecorous language and attitude.

According to Ozougwu, “I was greatly amused when I read him (Onyebuchi) saying that he was not surprised with the findings of the panel. How could he have been surprised when he knew that he committed those offences for which he was removed?

“My honest advice to the governor (Chime) is that he should not join issues with his former deputy. That’s what he and his sponsors would want to see happen. Like I said last time, I’m an Nkanu man like him (Onyebuchi) but how many of the known names in our place have come out to plead for him? The reason is because our people won’t back you when you go out of the way to disobey lawfully-given directives of your boss.

“If he says that he did not commit any offence, why did he run to people like former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani to ask him to plead with Chime to forgive him? Why ask for pardon if he knew he did not commit any offence? Or will he deny that he went to him (Nnamani) to beg him to intervene on his behalf?”   

Article Credit: Thisdaylive

Updated 4 Years ago

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Tags:     Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi     Governor Sullivan Chime     Uche Nwabodo     Rita Mbah     Uche Ogbu     EPF