Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi on Saturday held its final state Executive Council (EXCO) meeting of his administration and announced the retirement of 17 permanent secretaries in the state civil service.
Umahi, who shed tears during the final moments of disengagement, said that 15 permanent secretaries would be retained.
The governor announced that the state Head of Service, Dr Rita-Mary Okoro, Senior Special Adviser on Religion and Welfare Matters, Rev Fr Abraham Nwali among other officials would be retained.
“The Special Assistant to the Governor on Airport project, Mr Frank Ngwu Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Mrs Chioma Nweze would be recommended to the new administration as consultants.
“I urge the retired permanent secretaries not to be angry but see the development as a preparation for future endeavours,” he said.
Umahi thanked the council members for their contributions to the success of his administration.
The governor said that though it was difficult, it was pertinent to accept that a moment as was being witnessed, would come.
“I thank you for the cooperation you gave me and assure you that I am still a father to you all.
“The next administration is a continuation of this present one and I will ensure that those who will not be retained will still make contributions in it,” he said.
Umahi announced that he would finally dissolve the council during the handover ceremony on May 29 and urged them to participate fully in its build-up.
“You have all done well and my joy is that I made astute engineers and administrators in all of you.
“Do not be afraid because I am still there for you and God will prosper all you invest the money I gave you into,” he said.
Dr Kelechi Igwe, the state Deputy Governor thanked the governor for his fatherly care to the EXCO members, noting that the memories would spur them further in life.
“You treated us like a father: scolding when necessary, condoning our weaknesses and bringing out the best in us.
“We will cherish the moments we shared with you and forever remember your kind-heartedness and ingenuity,” he said.
Dr Kenneth Ugbala, the Secretary to the State Government, said that words could not describe the impact of the governor in their lives and prayed for God’s continued guidance upon him.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that members of the council took turns recounting their experiences in governance and gratitude to the governor for the opportunity to serve the state.