The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in Enugu State yesterday traded words over the propriety or otherwise of the redeployment of the former Deputy Governor of the state, Sunday Onyebuchi, to the civil service barely one week after his impeachment.
While the ruling party justified the action of the state government insisting that it ought to be appreciated for its “rare show of magnanimity,” the opposition party described the redeployment as a deliberate attempt to ridicule the civil service.
This is coming as the Enugu Professionals Forum (EPF) condemned what it described as a conspiracy by some people in the state and a section of the media to perpetuate falsehood against Governor Sullivan Chime and his principal aides.
The group in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Tony Agu, said the latest of the antics was demonstrated by the continued misrepresentation of facts surrounding the recent impeachment and replacement of former deputy governor, adding that it bore all the marks of a sponsored campaign of calumny against the governor and his administration.
In a statement issued by the Publicity Secretary of the APC in Enugu State, Kate Ofor, the opposition party dismissed Onyebuchi’s redeployment as a caricature, noting that the state government should have known that it was wrong to redeploy the former deputy governor to the civil service even after he was impeached for gross misconduct.
“We had thought as a senior lawyer, and former Attorney General of Enugu State, that Chime is knowledgeable enough to appreciate its trite law that impeachment is in other words is conviction. Therefore, he cannot approbate and reprobate, hence giving himself the powers to clear Onyebuchi from the conviction by this caricature appointment.
“In sum, the Enugu State chapter of the APC regards the caricature appointment of Onyebuchi as a huge joke and theatre of the absurd,” the APC noted.
But on its part, the PDP Publicity Secretary in the state, Dr. Okey Ezeh, berated the opposition party for being ignorant to the workings of government.
“The reaction of the APC to the redeployment of Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi to the civil service is typically and characteristically uninformed and full of mischief. The party appears not to know the difference between the words “appointment” and redeployment.”
“In its usual haste to misinform people, the party chose to forget or was ignorant of the fact that Mr Onyebuchi was a civil servant before his appointment to political offices and subsequent election as deputy governor.
“If it had done its homework well, it would have known that Onyebuchi never formally resigned from the civil service and that his appointment was not terminated all the while he occupied political offices. Having been relieved of his political office, is it not proper that he should return to his original service? His redeployment should actually be seen as a great act of magnanimity by the state government.
“It is strange that the party (APC) acted in such an indecent haste that it could not even wait to hear the views of Onyebuchi on his redeployment before dabbling into it,” Ezeh noted.
Meanwhile, the EPF in its statement said the “orchestration and regurgitation” of the very false claims made by Onyebuchi that Governor Chime was running a piggery and poultry in the government house, lent credence to the fact that some people were out to run down the governor.
The EPF noted that Chime’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Chukwudi Achife, had in a recent press statement clearly stated that what existed in the Government House was an Agricultural Unit that served the needs of the staff of the government house, the governor’s lodge and the deputy governor’s lodge.
Achife, the group noted, had clearly shown that the unit was neither owned by the governor nor was it being commercially operated and that not only had it existed since the government house was built but that it had also served all previous regimes.
The statement also stressed that Onyebuchi’s bold attempt to mislead the public with the false claim that as acting governor (when Chime was on medical leave), he had received a memo from the Governor’s Chief of Staff seeking the release of funds for maintenance of “piggery and poultry,” was exposed when he could not produce a copy of the memo before the panel of inquiry that tried his case.
It noted that the former deputy governor had on the contrary, openly admitted running a commercial poultry from inside his official quarters at the government in contravention of both the laws of the state and of “every notion of decency and respectability expected of highly placed public official, much less the No. 2 citizen of the state.”
The EPF further stated that those behind the misinformation were the same “disgruntled elements and perennial Chime haters” who championed and peddled false reports of Chime’s death when he went on medical leave.