*fingers Deputy Governor on his travails.
By Emmanuel Iriogbe, Abuja
The last may not have been heard of the purported removal of the Chairman of Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo state, Alhaji Yakubu Musa as he has threatened to take the state governor, Godwin Obaseki to court.
This is as he has accused the deputy governor, Phillip Shuaibu as the brain behind his present travails.
In a release made available to PenPushers online News, entitled; “MY PURPORTED REMOVAL FROM OFFICE AS EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN ETSAKO WEST LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA BY THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF EDO STATE, HIS EXCELLENCY MR GODWIN OBASEKI” Yakson debunked allegations cited by the governor for his removal from office.
According to him; “My attention has been drawn to the unfortunate statements credited to His Excellency, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, the Executive Governor of Edo State, in the Nigeria Observer of Thursday 24thOctober, 2019 during the illegal swearing-in of the Vice Chairman to take over the affairs of Etsako West Local Government, where he proclaimed my removal from office on trump up allegations of fraudulent activities and incapacity to manage the affairs of the Local Government by my humble self.
“Much as it is not in my character to join issues with those that declared themselves as my adversaries in the media space, it has become expedient to rescind this posture in the wake of the baseless, unfair and deliberate attempt to smear my hard earned personality and reputation orchestrated by political expediency to get rid of me because of their concerns over my likely political disposition in the struggle for them to retain relevance and emerge victorious at all cost in the forthcoming APC primaries next year”
Whiling addressing the reasons adduced for his purported sack from office, disclosed that the malicious act of the Governor, was at the clear instance of his Deputy, Philip Shaibu, who he said has never hidden his discontentment at his emergence as Chairman of the Local Government Area, against his preferred candidate Alhaji Inusa Imonofi, the Vice Chairman, who has been sworn-in, in his stead.
Musa further said the the general public should discountenance Governor Obaseki’s statement statement alleging that his decision to sack him from office is predicated upon the recommendation of a State Panel of Inquiry to the effect that I was involved in a N46m fraud that occurred in the Local Government and that he lacked the capacity to manage the affairs of the Local Government.
These claims he said were not only spurious, unfortunate but unfounded and least expected from a man of Obaseki’s standing.
“In order to put things in proper perspective, it is pertinent to raise the following questions so that the general public will have a clear understanding of the true situation and judge for themselves if the Governor has acted in good fate;
i. How on earth can the state Government, through its kangaroo Panel of Inquiry indict me of fraud in a matter that I brought to the fore, after my attention was drawn to it by officers of the Finance and Treasury department of the Local Government?
ii. How can I be indicted for fraud, when the actual culprits- Mr. Danjuma Saliu Abdulahiand his girlfriend, who have confessed to the crime and have been arraigned at the High Court, Auchi were actually arrested at the Government House Security post and their case referred to the State Criminal Investigation Department of the State Police Command at my instance?
iii. How can the State Governor say that I employed the chief culprit of the fraud, Mr. Danjuma Saliu Abdulahi, when indeed my administration neither sought for approval to employ anybody nor employed anyone under any guise in an already over staffed Local Government? Is it that the Governor is ill-informed on this matter or the statement was to give credence to his malicious attempt to tie me to the fraud at all cost?
iv. How can I be accused of fraud, when the Local Government at my instance communicated the Information Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) on our findings in this regard and demanded that the agency make a refund of the lost sums,since it was in-charge of generating the Local Government payrolls and uploading of staff salaries through relevant bank schedules, which copies were never given to the Local Government.
v. How can I be said to be incompetent in the management of the affairs of the Local Government, when upon the expository I immediately informed the then Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Barr. Jimoh Ijegbai, who requested that I stay action in reporting the matter to the Governor, with a view to allow the Ministry investigate and report their findings to His Excellency since a State Government Agency (ICTA) is in the middle of the storm.
vi. How can the Governor and his kangaroo Panel of Inquiry allege that the fraud was possible because I was negligent in the performance of my duties, when indeed it is not within my official purview to assign schedule of duties to staff of the Local Government? Is it that His Excellency, the Executive Governor, is ignorant of this fact or he choose to play to the gallery of his prodigies in their struggle to append my name to the crime?
vii. How can I be accused of bloating the salaries of the Local Government to the extent that it is more than that of Oredo Local Government, when Etsako West had over 800 staff strength as against Oredo’s over 600 staff strength? Is there anyway Etsako West Local Government wage bill could have been less than that of Oredo Local Government in this regard, especially when the state owned ICTA is in-charge of salary preparation and payment, as well as the agency considered as fraud proof?
viii. How can it be said that I was negligent of my duties when at my instance the Executive Committee of the Local Government constituted a Panel of Inquiry to investigate the fraud, in line with the provisions of Chapter 8 of the Financial Memorandum?
ix. Is it not out of place for the Governor to assent to the recommendation for my suspension from office by Barr. Jimoh Ijegbai, the then Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs and a known prodigy of the Deputy Governor, without recourse to at worst a query that would have enable me explain myself?
x. Would the Governor take responsibility for a similar case at the state level, when there are designated officers entrusted with the responsibility to supervise the activities of the respective Ministries, Departments and Agencies under his leadership? Would such act translate to incompetence and the Governor described as negligent and culpable?
xi. Why would the kangaroo Panel find it convenient to recommend my sack from office, but shield the Managing Director of the ICTA, an appointee of the Governor for the fraud perpetuated by a staff of the Local Government in connivance with one BayodeLucky, a staff of the ICTA?
xii. Is it normal for a Panel of Inquiry to investigate a matter of this nature without availing me the fundamental right of fair hearing before concluding and recommending my sack from office?
In the light of the fore-going, it is instructional to state as follow;
i. that my resolve to abide by the initial unjustified two months suspension order, though clearly misplaced, was geared towards allowing the state government actually investigate the matter because a clear conscience fears no accusation.
ii. that the State Government did not constitute a Panel of Inquiry within the two months suspension to ascertain the veracity of my involvement or otherwise, but decided to do that after the two months had elapsed. This is an indication that the Panel of Inquiry only became necessary for them to accomplish the wish of my adversaries in the face of nothing to indict nor suspend me from office ab-initio.
iii. that the outcome of the State Government of Inquiry was programmed to indict me ab-inito, hence I was neither informed of the existence of the Panel of inquiry, nor invited to appear before it or given fair hearing.
iv. that the action of the State Governor is, apart from massaging the ego of his Deputy, geared towards concealing the inadequacies of the over glorified Information Communication Technology Agency (ICTA), where the fraud was perfected, from public knowledge and condemnation. Who knows how many other Local Government funds have been lost through the criminal activities within the agency?
v. that the action of the State Government is glaringly connected to their worries over my perceived affiliation to the National Chairman of our great party (APC), His Excellency, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, hence the caption of their news item “RE: 46M FRAUD; OSHIOMHOLE’S LGA CHAIRMAN REMOVED, VICE-CHAIRMAN SWORN-IN”. Every sane mind would wonder the rationale behind their attempt to smear the good name of the APC National Chairman in a salary fraud that occurred in Etsako West Local Government, being his home. If not for their deformative tendencies, it will only have been normal to tag the news “PHILIP SHAIBU’S LGA CHAIRMAN REMOVED…..” since Shaibu is from the same Local Government and being the state deputy governor”
While disclosing of his intention to seek legal redress, Musa said; “I am not ignorant of my fundamental rights to seek redress in a competent court of jurisdiction to redeem my image, reclaim my mandate to the people of Etsako West Local Government Area, who willingly voted me to serve them for three years tenure’