asks those accusing former Finance Commissioner, Oriaku, of graft to prove case
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA-Special Adviser to Abia Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu on Media and Publicity, Enyinnaya Apollos has attributed the delay in the constitution of the full State cabinet to the ongoing legislative recess of the House of Assembly.
He said that the list of Commissioners-nominee is likely to be made available to the House for screening upon its resumption soon.
It will be recalled that since kicking off his second term on May 29, 2019, Ikpeazu only appointed two Commissioners, one for Information and the other for Justice.
Apollos also urged those accusing the former commissioner of finance, Obinna Oriaku of financial improprieties to direct their allegation to the anti-graft agencies in the country and also prove their case.
The Governor’s spokesman who was reacting to insinuations that Oriaku and another former aide of the governor on Special Duties, Erondu Junoir Erondu were at daggers-drawn over who becomes the next Chief of Staff to Ikpeazu said that his principal was not particularly interested in anyone.
He also refuted claims in some quarters that some powerful individuals within the government were arm twisting Ikpeazu, saying that the Governor was fully in charge of State affairs.
It was learnt that while Oriaku’s name may have been penciled down for the position of the Chief of Staff, some powerful persons around the governor are opposed to that decision and had sworn to kick against it.
This is already seen in a statement issued last week by a coalition of youths under the aegis of Abia Youths Vanguard who accused the former commissioner of corruptly enriching himself through award of contracts to a private company alleged to his while he heldsway in the office.
In the statement titled: ‘The leaking bucket; A case of Obinna Oriaku “our angelic” former Commissioner for Finance’ signed by Mr Emmanuel Ukwa on behalf of the group, the youths demanded that Mr Oriaku among others should tell Abians why “despite his claim of doing a good job that salaries are owed in Ministries and the higher institutions where a company; LLOYDANT BUSINESS SERVICES LTD allegedly own by the former commissioner, is illegally operating”
While they insisted that the former commissioner should have no place in the present government of Abia State, the group called on Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for purge Abia government of all forms of corruption through his appointments, by ensuring that the State funds are entrusted in the hands of prudent citizens who will properly manage and ensure that workers and pensioners are not owned, and government projects are executed accordingly.
Reacting to the allegations and other issues however, Apollos asked those behind it to take their matter to the appropriate places.
He assured the people that the governor would not spare anyone who is found culpable.
He also justified the jostling for positions by the Governor’s former aides, saying it was normal in any democracy.
“It is normal everywhere for people to jostle for positions. It is a normal thing so long as the positions are still vacant. Those who think they are fit and competent will lobby for it. It is a normal thing. But it still boils down to the Governor to make that. And I think that one of the major reasons why the Governor is yet to constitute his cabinet is because the State House of Assembly is still on recess. I am sure that by the time they resume, the list of Governor’s cabinet members would have been ready.
On the Governor not being in charge
“There is nothing like that. The governor is fully in charge of the government and the governance of the state. There is nothing like not being in charge and there is no former aide. How can a former aide move the governor’s hands? The governor has made some appointments and he is also going to make more appointments. Did anybody move his hand to make the appointments he made?
On Chief of Staff position
“Anybody is free to aspire or lobby for any position. It is still at the governor’s position to decide who works at whatever position the governor wants. Anybody is free to aspire to become anything. It is unfortunate that anybody will be thinking to lobby against may be what the governor wants. But like I said people are free to lobby or talk to people on what they want. The buck stops at the table of the governor to decide who he wants to appoint and when he wants to appoint the person.
On Allegations of Frauds
“The issue is an allegation raised by some persons. Those who raised this allegation should approach anti-graft agencies. If any body is found culpable, the governor will not shield anybody. If Obinna Oriaku is guilty of the things alleged, let him go and prove it and let those who are alleging also come up with their facts and approach the anti-graft agencies and say this and that. And Obinna would be called for question by those agencies. It is not enough for anybody to go the media and allege. It is for those who are alleging to prove. Then, Obinna, I think, he is available for him to answer. If he is found guilty, I can assure you that the governor will not for any reason shield him or intervene. There is no intervention. How can anybody ask the governor to intervene if at all there is any case of fraud? You want the governor to intervene to shield a fraudster or something? The governor will not and cannot do that.
“So, it is an allegation which some people are holding. They are free. Since they have made their publications in the papers, they are free to go extra mile, getting involved the anti-graft agencies to say this and that and if it is proven that Obinna is guilty as accused, he should go in and answer for himself. After all, today, Obinna is not a government official in Abia State. He is a former Commissioner. So, the governor cannot be shielding a former Commissioner or former government official.
Is the governor interested in him?
“I don’t know. I am not the governor. The governor has made appointments. In the ones he has so far made, people can see those he is interested in working with. So, if he has not called anybody for appointment, it means that the governor is not interested in the person. So, not until he is called, then anybody can say the governor is interested in him. There is nothing like the governor being interested in any particular person. There is nothing like being interested in any particular person.”