Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha, yesterday suspended the state Accountant General, Stella Udogwu, for allegedly not paying October to November salaries to workers in the state. Okorocha was quoted to have sodirected by his Chief Press Secretary Sam Onwuemeodo, at the 40th Year Anniversary of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, at the Hero’s Square in Owerri.
Okorocha did not stop at that, he called for the arrest of the bank managers of the banks where the money meant for salaries was said to have been lodged. He ordered that the interests so far generated by the money be recovered.
According to the statement, “The governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha has suspended the Accountant-General of the State, Mrs. Stella Udogwu and ordered the arrest of the Branch-Managers the banks over the non-payment of the November Salaries of the Local Government Workers in the State. The suspension of the Accountant-General is with immediate effect.
“The governor had before now directed that the October and November Salaries of Workers in the State workforce should be paid at the same time in October. And the governor had believed that the directive was carried out accordingly.
“Only to be told by the Leadership of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, when he attended the event to mark the 40th Year Anniversary of the Union at the Hero’s Square Owerri on November 30, 2018, that the Workers have not been paid the November Salary.
“The governor who was shocked to hear that announced the immediate suspension of the Accountant-General and ordered for the arrest of the Branch-Managers of Banks said to be where the money for the salaries of the Local Government employees for the months of October and November were lodged.
“The governor therefore ordered that the November and December Salaries should now be paid on December 3, 2018, since December 1st and 2nd are not working days, and equally announced N10,000 each for the workers as their Christmas bonus and N2.5m as car allowance for each of the Local Government Directors of Administration and General Services. Okorocha among other things said that, “From today hence forth, there won’t be any need for any Local Government Worker to try to convert to the Ministry to be able to get to level 17 or become a Permanent Secretary.”
He added: “Today, I have officially lifted the embargo on Local Government Staff getting to level 17. Hence forth, Staff of the Local Government Civil Commission will be promoted to level 17 when they are due for it” I had released the salaries of every Worker in Imo State since the second week of October and so if Local Government Workers are been owed, then somebody must take responsibility of it and will be dealt with according to law.
“This is a criminal act aimed at disgracing this government. What they do is that, they take the money and put in the bank and collect the interest.
“An acting Accountant-General will be appointed with immediate effect and the Secretary to the State Government should direct anybody next to her to act immediately. Your salary must be released and your December Salary shall be paid immediately.
“All the interests from the salary kept in the bank must be collected and shared to the Local Government Workers who are the owners of the money. I order for the immediate arrest of the Branch-Managers of the banks(Names withheld) with immediate effect.
“N2.5million has been approved for each of the Directors of Administration and General Services as vehicle allowance. They could use it to buy their vehicles themselves or the ministry can coordinate it for them.
“The treasurers will only be given the same when the government finishes the investigation and discover that they are not guilty of the salary fraud.”
2023: Presidency Should Return To South — El-Rufai
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has insisted that the North has no justification to remain in power after the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s second tenure.
El-Rufai maintained that the Presidency should rightly return to the Southern part of Nigeria.
He said though the constitution of the All Progressives Congress, APC, does not make provision for rotation but in the interest of justice, equity and fair play, Presidency should go to other regions of the country.
The Kaduna governor said: “The general political consensus in Nigeria is that the Presidency should rotate between the North and the South. It is not written but everyone understands it.
“In some of the parties, like the PDP, it is even written down in their constitution but it was breached in 2015. I think that every politician of honour should understand and abide by that consensus except there is an extenuating circumstance compelling it to be set aside. What could this be?
“President Yar’Adua died in office and it was compulsory for Jonathan to continue but when 2011 election came, there were many people who insisted that Jonathan should step aside for a northerner to complete the tenure of Yar’Adua but I opposed it because I didn’t think it was proper for an incumbent that got there not by his own design should be stopped from contesting when the constitution has not barred him from running.
“In the APC, we deliberately omitted rotational Presidency in our constitution and the emergence of a presidential candidate does not take into account zoning and that was why in 2015, Rochas Okorocha from the East contested, Sam Nda-Isaiah contested, Buhari, Kwankwaso and others contested.”
El-Rufai a chieftain of APC, added that presidential candidates are chosen on the basis of merit and general acceptance.
“I can say that as distinct from the PDP, APC has no rotational Presidency but candidates are selected strictly on the basis of political merit and the general acceptability of the candidate.
“I want to say that those of us from Northern Nigeria honour agreements. We do not violate unwritten political agreements and I will be the last person to lead in violating that agreement. I may have a personal view but that should be the basis. I don’t care where you come from but I look for merit.
“But as a group, the Northern APC will have to sit down and endorse someone, most likely someone from the South, because after eight years of Buhari, I don’t think the Presidency should remain in the north unless there is some extenuating circumstances. But all things being equal, we will honour our agreement and we keep our words,” he said.
JUST IN: Declare Kalu’s Seat Vacant — Abia PDP Chieftain Tells Senate
A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia, Chief Charles Ike, has charged the Senate leadership to declare the Abia North Senatorial seat vacant due to the incarceration of Sen. Orji Kalu.
Ike gave the charge in a statement he issued in Umuahia on Saturday, saying that the people of Abia North Senatorial District were no longer comfortable being “totally eclipsed” in the Senate. “I hereby call on the Senate leadership to quickly declare Kalu’s seat vacant to enable the district to elect a capable replacement,” he said.
He said that the area had set a machinery in motion for Kalu’s recall and that the process would soon commence in earnest.
Ike also spoke on the recent defection of Chief Bourdex Ogba, the Senatorial Candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) for Abia North in the 2019 poll, to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He described Ogba’s defection as an act of “political indiscipline”.
He expressed disbelief that Ogba, who dumped APC for APGA, ahead of the 2019 elections, could “so quickly return to pick the same broom he said was not sweeping well”.
He alleged that Ogba’s return to APC was initiated to position himself for the senatorial ticket of the party in the event that the Senate eventually called for a byelection for Kalu’s replacement.
He alleged that Ogba had made four defections in recent time, having moved from PDP to APGA ahead of the 2015 general elections and later to APC and APGA before his latest return to APC.
Ike said: “His jumping from party to party smacks of political indiscipline and his desperation to go to Senate but you know that a rolling stone gathers no moss.
“Unfortunately, too, he lacks the political discipline to be trusted with any public office in Abia north.
“How can you trust a man whose only political antecedent is jumping from one party to another?”
The PDP chieftain further took an exception to a comment credited to Ogba, when he visited the APC national secretariat, where he was quoted to have asked the Senate not to declare Kalu’s seat vacant.
Ike argued that the comment was at variance with the wishes of the people of Abia north who, he said, were earnestly yearning to have a replacement for Kalu.
It would be recalled that Kalu of APC was jailed in December by a Federal High Court for 12 years, having been convicted for a N7.2 billion fraud, when he was Abia governor (1999 to 2003).
Although, Kalu has appealed the High Court verdict, Ike said that his continued incarceration left Abia north without a voice in the Senate.
Senate Declares Bayelsa Governor, Deputy’s Seats Vacant
The President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan has declared vacant the Bayelsa Central and Bayelsa West seats vacated by present Governor and Deputy Governor of the state, Sen. Douye Diri and Sen. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, respectively.
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu made the disclosure on Friday while addressing the first regular meeting of Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) in Abuja.
“In the case of Bayelsa State, both the Governor and Deputy Governor were serving Senators. Consequently, the Commission yesterday Thursday 20th February 2020 received two communications from the Senate President declaring the seats for Bayelsa Central and Bayelsa West Senatorial Districts vacant.
“The Commission will soon meet to determine the dates for bye-elections in the two Senatorial Districts,” the INEC boss stated.
Recall that Diri and Ewhrudjakpo were sworn in as governor and deputy respectively after the Supreme Court invalidated the election of David Lyon and Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo over certificate forgery.