By Henry Ekpe
Despite the insecurity in Imo State which has occupied the State Government and set the Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma and the citizens on edge, the business of Governance which is the welfare and security of the masses must go on.
For some weeks now, the Governor sacked the Expanded State Executive Council comprising of Commissioners, Special Advisers, SAs, Senior Special Assistants, SSAs, Personal Assistants, PAs, and others.
However, some of the Commissioners were left behind, while the rest were asked to go home.
Among the SAs, too, some are still signing Press Releases, which means some of them are still in office? But many had thought the Governor sacked all of them. In the case of Commissioners, the Governor named those with their Ministries that were left behind. This made it clear for Imo people to know those among the Commissioners retained.
But in the case of the SAs, SSAs and PAs, there are no clear story of those retained, which is now causing confusion in the polity, as most of them claim they were left behind by the Governor. This situation is unethical and creates unseriousness in Government.
Amidst this “communication breakdown”, it is now difficult to know Uzodinma’s Appointees that are still in office, and those who are using their former offices to scam Imo populace, when they have been announced as sacked.
But quite unfortunately, almost all the sacked Appointees have become “Emergency Media” Men.
Those who could not speak for one day in office are now the mouth pieces of the Government in various Social Media Groups.
Those whose offices we never heard of have now run to Newspaper Houses to place Advertorials where they praise the Governor Uzodinma for giving them the opportunity to serve in their lives.
These are the usual political “Bubu Yaya” and sycophantic sophistry which most political machineries use to con State Governors to put them in office, after which they become tin gods.
The fact is that now is the time when Imo sacked Appointees are ready to commit murder, just to impress the Governor, so that they can retain their seats, yet in the last one year and half they held offices, no body heard their voices.
They are ready now to blackmail the proverbial Opposition, Individuals and Groups, so as to gain attention of the Governor.
Some of them now sleep, wake and sweep the homes of Imo APC Leaders, so that their names could be forwarded to the Governor for Appointment.
In the first place, this act or drama was what gave room to most of those who were accommodated in the sacked cabinet of Governor Uzodinma.
Pundits maintain that the dissolved Imo State Expanded Exco was hurriedly Assembled which was the reason it was made up of mainly career politicians, than Professionals and Technocrats, who can shape the State with ideal policies and projects. It was not even a “Rainbow Coalition” as the Senators Rochas Okorocha and Ifeanyi Araraume’s people were not accommodated. Not even the “Coalition Group” who triggered the “Revolution” that gave Hope Uzodinma the opportunity to be made Governor.
Political Observers maintained that Uzodinma, while battling for Imo Governorship election in Court, may have settled his mind for whatever may be the outcome.
Therefore, in January 14, 2020, it was like a shock when the entire scenario changed and he was pronounced Governor.
Sources said that because of what Uzodinma went through, and how some politicians stood behind him through thick and thin, he had no alternative than to compensate them willy nilly.
Therefore, it could pass that Uzodinma has settled the politicians who campaigned and fought with him. In order words, the dissolved State Executive Council could be said to have be Assembled based on political loyalty, and not qualification.
In that case, the new State Executive Council should be drafted with Professionalism in mind, by putting round pegs in round holes.
Most of those appointed in the last Executive were still battling to settle down in their new but strange environments they found themselves before the party was over.
Indeed, the number of Uzodinma’s Appointees were too many that even Journalists cannot keep track of how many they are/were. In all sincerity, I don’t think the Governor knew how many his Aides were except he goes through paper. It was overwhelming!
For the first time in Imo State, there are more Commissioners than the twenty seven Local Government Areas. And the Governor was even appointing more Commissioners until he dissolved his Cabinet.
Therefore, the question on the lips of Imo citizens is; who knows how many Commissioners he will appoint this time? Will he increase it or reduce the list?
That of the SAs and SSAs are shocking. Even some of the Appointees don’t know their colleagues. Some of them “discover” each other when they attend Government large functions.
This scenario caused the confusion so much so that the Governor himself observed it. Various stories about Government policies flood the media, with contradictions.
At a point, the Governor had to ban his appointees from speaking to Press, as Imo people were disturbed with legions of varieties of News, bothering on one matter.
There was no synergy, and in some Ministries, the Commissioners and their SAs fought publicly over office matters.
One particular Ministry got too hot that the Commissioner and his SA had to be thrown apart to various sectors and one sent to Government House to be put on direct gaze of the State Chief Executive every day.
Unfortunately, this over bloated cabinet which gulps millions of naira to maintain, in terms of salaries and allowances every month, is at a time the State is complaining of paucity of funds.
Therefore, Imo people expect a very manageable and effective State Executive Council whenever Governor Uzodinma unveils his new Cabinet.
The verdict of Imo people is that a compact Executive, with a sprinkle of Technocrats and Professionals will give optimum service and more resourceful which would be felt in different sectors in Imo and by the masses.
The argument is that Peoples Democratic Party, PDP used less Commissioners and Ministries, less SAs and SSAs, yet the monumental achievements recorded within that short period reverberates in the State.
Therefore, it would be assumed that Uzodinma has used these one and half years to “settle” his political Deities, and should now look deep and pick those among them that have something to offer the administration and Imo State, and ask others to go home.
It is not everybody that should be in Government. Because Uzodinma opened his administration too wide for all-comers, every member of his Team sees himself/herself as a prospective Appointee. Even those who could venture into more productive ventures hang around every day waiting when their names would be announced on the Radio.
With the problem of insecurity in Imo, what the State needs now is to open up areas that can accommodate the teeming unemployed Imo Graduates, who waste away every day.
These youths are Devil’s workshop waiting to be harvested.
It is quite unfortunate that the Imo Government pampers Elements who cannot create job opportunities for Imo Youths, but move against those who site their Businesses here.
As the Governor embarks on “Consultation” with various Local Government Areas, these regular political faces we have been seeing for decades only get to Government House to “collect” while real Entrepreneurs in the State suffer “threats to life” and plots to shut their offices.
As Uzodinma assembles his Aides, he should employ those who will tell him the truth.
For instance, Imo State Local Government Areas are “Locked down”, and the lives which PDP administration ignited in the Grass Roots have vanished.
Government is a continuum. The Imo Local Government Areas, which ought to serve as the engine room of the State is crippled.
The masses who ought to stop in their LGAs for their problems are now flood the State capital causing confusion.
Some of the people-oriented projects in the LGAs started by PDP administration are abandoned to decay.
The Governor Hope Uzodinma administration should rejig the Executive.
As for the last dissolved State Executive Council, it is difficult to pin down what they would be remembered for.