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Ebonyi governor rejects resignation, sacks SSG

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Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State

Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State yesterday sacked the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Bernard Odoh.

He also announced the rejection of his resignation, which he tendered on Monday.

In the letter, Odoh had disclosed that he resigned because he was not given a free hand to perform his duties.

Although, Umahi had earlier accepted his resignation, he rescinded the acceptance when community leaders from Ezza paid him a solidarity visit.

The Commissioner for Water Resources, Euphemia Nwali, led the leaders on the visit.

Umahi maintained that the reason for rejecting Odoh’s resignation was because it was done during a public holiday.

Further to the earlier acceptance of the SSG’s resignation, the Commissioner for Information, Emmanuel Onwe, had announced Hyginus Nwokwu as his replacement.

But Umahi disclosed that Odoh’s resignation and Nwokpu’s appointment had both become null and void since they were done during the holiday.

The governor explained that the state government was investigating Odoh for meddling in a murder investigation in his area.

He explained: “When it (the resignation) happened, senior members of my cabinet came together and said let’s accept it and wish him well.

“But I knelt down and said Lord, my heart is clean before this young man, and if I be called of God, let us leave the matter before God.

“Initially he denied that there was a problem, but towards the end of our discussion, he said he would like to make one or two comments. I told him to make the explanations when we meet. But, he switched off his phone till Monday,” when he tendered his resignation.

On the former SSG’s accusation that the state civil service is neglected, Umahi said Odoh’s is far from the situation on ground.

“Go and check, if we are not the first in the payment of civil servants in the state, we probably would be the second. Go and find out, I challenge people all the time on this because we have the data.”

“It was in this state that the gratuities of retired civil servants were never paid until we came on board. Now we have paid 40 per cent of the gratuities to them. No civil servants is being owed salaries and allowances,” the governor said.

“On Saturday, I called Odoh and told him that we were investigating a murder case and invited him to discuss the matter, to which he agreed.”

According to the governor, the embattled SSG later sent him a text message, stating that he was going to resign after a meeting with him, due to ill health, the agreement of which he never kept.

“So, by the powers conferred on me as the governor of the state, I hereby announce the sack of Prof. Odoh as SSG. He is also to be thoroughly investigated for meddling in the murder case,” the governor said.

However, the governor has re-announced the appointment of Nwokpu as the new SSG and ordered him to be sworn in immediately.

The Commissioner for Water Resources, Euphemia Nwali, who led Ezza community leaders on the visit said, they were not in support of the former SSG’s action.

“He didn’t consult any stakeholder, or anybody in Ezzaland before carrying out the action. We view his deed as a betrayal,” she added.

Attempts to get Odoh’s reaction were unsuccessful, as his phones were switched off.


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David UmahiebonyiSSG
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