Probe panels and Investigation committees set up by new state Governors make startling revelations in Imo, Gombe, Ogun, Oyo, Kwara and Adamawa

By Victor Ugborgu

Few weeks ago, the Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, ridiculed Ahmed Lawan, Senate President, for “sacrificing competence on the altar of mediocrity” by withdrawing the appointment of Festus Adedayo as his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity hours after the appointment was announced. Adedayo was abruptly removed after supporters of the All Progressives Congress, APC, kicked against the appointment. Their grouse was that the
celebrated newspaper columnist has, at different occasions written articles considered dangerous to the presidency of President Muhammad Buhari who is the head of the Executive arm of government and should not be allowed to work with the head of the parliament who is seen as a stooge of the Buhari

Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, CUPP spokesman, condemned the development. In a statement which he issued soon after the Senate President nullified Adedayo’s appointment,Ugochinere said:  “It is surprising, to say the least, that the head of another arm of government the Senate President Ahmed Lawan succumbed to the pressure from Aso Rock and quickly withdrew Adedayo’s nomination just for not being a stooge of the Executive arm of government. Opposition political parties view this development as primitive, show of intolerance and sacrifice of competence on the altar of Halleluiah politics. Senator Lawan has, by this singular act, proved Nigerians right that the Senate under his leadership will be an annex of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led executive arm of government”, Ugochinyere said.

Although the CUPP might view Lawan’s action as naïve and capable of
sending wrong signals to Nigerians; the truth is that the senate president might have taken the action to take charge of his new position. Lawan is not the only political office holder that has renounced decisions in the present political dispensation. The floodgate of policy reversals since the swearing-in of newly elected governors continued in states where the opposition party defeated the incumbent.

Many Nigerians see it as an act of vendetta, while others believe it
is a manifestation of all that went wrong with the former
administrations in the affected states. Newly sworn in governors have
also rescinded actions of their predecessors.

The situation appears most pronounced in Imo state. A few days after he was sworn in as Governor,on the ticket of the Peoples’ Democratic Party,  PDP, as replacement of  Rochas Okorocha  of the All Progressives Congress, APC,Emeka Ihedioha, reversed the status of the newly converted Imo State
University of Agriculture and Technology, Umuagwo, to its earlier
polytechnic status.

Rochas Okorocha, immediate past governor of the state had at the twilight of his eight year tortuous administration elevated the polytechnic to a university status. He also appointed a Vice Chancellor. Okorocha also announced the immediate relocation of Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo, to Ehime Mbano Local Government Area, saying the relocation was sequel to the elevation of the polytechnic to Imo State University of Agriculture and Environmental Science by the National Universities Commission, NUC.

He added that the relocated polytechnic would have campuses at the site of Ahiara Polytechnic, Ahiara; and another campus at the site of the Imo State University of Medical Sciences pending their recognition by the NUC. “Following the establishment of Imo State University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences on the premises of the Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo, with campus at Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala, the Imo State Polytechnic is hereby relocated to Ehime Mbano with a campus at the site of Ahiara Polytechnic, Ahiara; and another campus at the site of the Imo State University of Medical Sciences, pending their recognition. The Imo State Polytechnic campus,Orlu, is named Bishop Shanahan Polytechnic, Orlu, with a campus at the site of Mbonu Ojike Polytechnic, Arondizuogu”, Okorocha said.

But in a statement issued by Uche Onyeagucha, Secretary to the state
government,the governor reversed the institution to its original status and ordered for the reopening at its initial location. Ihedioha then appointed an acting rector, following the retirement of Wance Madu.

Governor Ihedioha had earlier approved the constitution of a Committee
headed by Okey Anyanwu to review appointments, recruitments made by
his predecessor, Rochas Okorocha. Other members of the committee included Chukwuma Nwachukwu, Ngozi Onyirioha, Chima Nmeregini, Bismarck Eziohuru,  Justin Amafili and Donatus Ibe.

The committee was charged with the responsibility of evaluating the recent appointments of Head of Service, Permanent Secretaries, Solicitor General, Accountant-General, and Heads of Extra-Ministerial Departments.

The committee was also charged to examine all staff recruitment, command
promotions, transfers and secondments of officers without following due process – from 2015 to date, applying the Public Service Rules and
Regulations. The committee was also “to review all extensions of service period of retired officers and contract appointments. To investigate cases of
officers who were unduly suspended or retired – from 2015 to date”,
the statement added.

The state government observed with dismay that some past Commissioners
and appointees were still occupying houses at the Commissioners Quarters at Concorde Avenue and other government premises. Not only that, the out gone Imo House of Assembly, in a bid to stabilize the government of Ihedioha  passed a resolution mandating the State Governor, to set up a panel of inquiry to probe the activities of  Okorocha while he held sway as governor for eight years.

The House, during plenary presided over by Chinedu Offor,  the Speaker,  also sacked the 27 elected Chairmen in the Local Government Areas, as well as their Councillors. The sacked Chairmen were directed to hand over to the Directors of Administration in each Council Area with immediate effect. The House also cancelled all appointments made by the former governor into Boards, Agencies and inter-ministerial Departments in the twilight of his administration. Members of the assembly said such appointments were hurriedly done to put landmines on the path of the new administration.

In a motion sponsored by Mike Iheanetu, member representing Aboh Mbaise state constituency, the lawmakers also asked for a review of all land allocations, land transactions as well as take inventory of all government assets, property and determine all government assets looted and infrastructures vandalised by officials of the former administration. The House also resolved to suspend the establishment of all tertiary institutions, as well as review all ownership structure and allocation of funds for their construction.

Among the resolutions passed by the House at the plenary were reviews
of projects undertaken by the former administration, assesson-going
projects, incurred debts and value and determine which of them to be
terminated; reviewed or continue. The panel will also review all
debts and financial obligations, determine whether they were duly
incurred and whether recoveries could be made using relevant agencies.

The Lawmakers also resolved to invite anti-graft agencies where criminal infractions are involved or determined. The House said that their action was necessitated by the fact that a lot of illegalities took place at the twilight of the immediate past administration all with a view to setting up a booby trap for the new administration.

The State House of Assembly therefore passed a motion directing Governor Ihedioha to suspend all board appointments, including the promotion of Permanent Secretaries made by the last administration, from March 2019. The assembly also suspended indefinitely, the 27 local government council chairmen and their councillors.

It is on record that after the defeat of Uche Nwosu, his preferred candidate in the governorship election, Okorocha was overwhelmed with rage and started initiating actions in several fronts, culminating in a bazaar of all manner of appointments, promotions and transactions. He hurriedly constituted the boards of some statutory commissions, agencies and parastatals, appointed and sworn-in many permanent secretaries.

Two days to handover, Okorocha took actions that led to the swearing- inof  11 Permanent Secretaries.These were Donald .N. Igbo, Edith Chioma Ekenze, Elias Amuche Anyanwu, Justus Oguoma,  Reginald Oguike,  Benjamin Nnamadu,  Patricia Atuechi Elebiri, George Ejiogu,  Patricia Uche Ezeonyeachi,  Ngozi Bernadine and Meg Obi. New Accountant-General and new Head of Service,Ngozi Ama Eluma. He claimed that he kept N42.5billion for his successor,Ihedioha explaining that N8.1billion of the money was meant for the payment of salaries and Capital Projects, while N5.2billion was for Pension Arrears.

He also stated that N7.6billion was meant for the renovation of schools, while N21.6billion was mapped out for rural roads, totalling N42.5billion.
The most dramatic was when he announced the establishment of six new
universities, four polytechnics and two colleges of education.

But Ihedioha reversed the trend and restored the people’s confidence in
government. The action began with the demolition of the famous Akachi
tower which was commissioned by the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof.
Yemi Osinbajo, only a few weeks earlier.

In Ogun state, the house of assembly took the administration of IbikunleAmosun by storm. In one swoop, the house passed a bill (Nullification of Irregularities (amendment) Law, 2019) and three resolutions reversing all
appointments, employments and financial agreements made by the administration ofAmosunbetween February 9, and May 28, 2019.  The bill was an amendment to the one passed at the inception of Amosun’s regime reversing all irregularities by his predecessor.

The legislators argued that the last minute appointments, upgrading
and employment by the last administration did not follow due process,
lacked merit and were said to be lopsided. Many indigenes of the state
believe that the former speaker of the Ogun state house of assembly
could not have taken the action as a vendetta or an attempt to curry
favor with the new administration having been known as Amosun’s

Amosun recruited and inducted 1,000 fresh employees into the civil
service in the state; appointed 110 Principals and 151 Vice Principals
for secondary schools. Amosun also promoted and swore in 21 Permanent
Secretaries; appointed management and Governing Councils for Moshood Abiola University of Science and Technology (MAUSTECH) and Ogun State Polytechnic, Ipokia, even though the two institutions were yet to take off.

Before he left office, the former governor promoted 75 Baales (village heads) to
Coronet Obas, claiming that the promotion was in compliance with subsections (1) and (2) of section 25 of Chiefs laws of Ogun State. Expectations are that PrinceDapoAbiodun, the new governor will review what Amosun did.

In Oyo state, Governor Seyi Makinde reversed the promotion of all the
new permanent secretaries in the state’s civil service. All transactions either contractual or in terms of promotions done between March 11, and May 28 would be properly scrutinized because of the “obvious mischief that had been introduced into governance within that period”.

Abiola Ajimobi, former governor had approved funds for new projects
and elevated many civil servants. He had approved full subvention for
all the state owned tertiary institutions which he suspended over the
years as a result of alleged lack of financial resources.

Ajimobi also elevated 11 Directors to Permanent Secretaries which was
allegedly backdated to February 2019; and also approved appointment of
supervisory councillors for all local government areas. However, in one swoop, all were swept away. Makinde alleged that local government areas were directed to spend all money in their care.

Governor InuwaYahaya of Gombe state also suspended all appointments,
contracts and all allocations by past government and local government
councils made as from March 10, 2019. He said there were lots of
irregularities perpetrated by the last administration and he would take steps to redress them and hold culprits and illegal beneficiaries accountable.

Few days to the end of his second tenure, Governor Dankwambo took decisions and approved appointments. Two months to the end of his tenure,  Dankwambo employed hundreds of teachers at SUBEB, civil servants and some academic and non-academic staff at the newly established Gombe State University of
Science and Technology, Kumo, which admitted about 500 students amidst
condemnation that Gombe cannot afford to run two state universities.
Dankwambo also paid backlog of salaries and allowances to
commissioners and hundreds of his political aides.

In Adamawa last minute approvals and financial dealings pitched Ahmed Umar Fintiri, the new governor against Jibrilla Bindow,immediate past governor. To emerge victorious, Fintiri polled a total of 376,552 votes to beat Bindow, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who secured 336,386 votes, amounting to a margin of 40,166.

Fintiri, while receiving the report of his transition committee vowed to step on toes over the debt profile of the state.“Posterity will not forgive us if we fail to ask the right questions about how a state that received a combined income of N332 billion is hopelessly neck deep in debt and has to take overdrafts to pay salary in the last four years,” he said. Fintiri had also on different occasion’s alleged arbitrary allocation of plots and approvals for people to build shops
on the fence of Government Girls College Yola and Jimeta Modern Market. He
told those who received the allocations to suspend construction work.

In Kwara state, the last minutes appointments by Abdulfattah Ahmed of the PDP have been reversed. The appointment of Prof. Kenneth S. Adeyemi as Ag. VC for the KwaraState University, Malete, and sending of the incumbent Vice
Chancellor, Prof. Abdulrasheed Na’allah on terminal leave when his tenure was to end in July had raised eyebrows.

Also, the Kwara State House of Assembly recently passed many bills including the law prohibiting the in-coming governor from dissolving elected Local government chairmen, Kwara United Management Bill, confirmation of chairman of Kwara State Independent Electoral Commission, inauguration
of House of Assembly Commission, confirmation of nominees for Kwara
State Civil Service Commission, Kwara State Fiscal Responsibility Commission, bill for the Establishment of Kwara State Bureau of Hospital Management. According to political pundits, “it is a matter of time for the new
governor to reverse all these dubious appointments”.

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