2015: Intrigues Stall Confirmation Of 4 Abia Commissioner Nominees

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THE Abia State axis of Eastern Nigeria, an oil producer, is still locked in a seeming vicious power politics as backstage schemes for 2015, Nigeria’s election year, gather steam.

To this end, thuye expected confirmation of four nominees for various commi9ssionership portfolio by the state House of Assembly, has been stalled by political intrigues and what some others see as a sheer act of ”vendetta” Those affected were part  of the 23 nominees presented to the legislative arm of the state government by Governor Theodore Orji.

The House screened and confirmed 19 of the 23 nominees. nThe delayed four are all past commissioners who are being perceived by some lawmakers as political rivals vis-a-vis their 2015 game plan.

The four nominees whose clearance are still pending are Eze Chikamnayo, (former Commissioner for Information and Strategy), Dr Sampson Orji, (former Commissioner of Commerce and Industry), Umeh Kalu, a lawyer (former Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice) and Solomon Adaelu, an engineer, former Commissioner for Corporative and Poverty Alleviation.

AkanimoReports had reported that Ikedi Ezekwesiri (PDP-Umunneochi Constituency) and Agwu U Agwu (PDP-Arochukwu Constituency) refused to introduce Chikamnayo, and Orji from their constituencies for screening when both were invited on September, 17 at the assembly plenary on the grounds that they did not have the mandate of their constituency to do so.

The case of Adaelu who had his screening later became first glaring instance of legislative vendetta as his failed in-law, Ikechukwu Nwabeke (PDP- Osisioma North) displayed obvious premeditated intention to inflict political harm on the nominee due to obvious family difference.
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Nwabeke was married to the younger sister to Adaelu, before the marriage that produced three issues ended in fiasco a few months back. 

But the undercurrent of the recent screening of commissioner nominees adopted by Abia lawmakers which left many pundits guessing became clearer when Umeh kalu absent on the day he was first invited came up for his screening on September, 25.

Before now, the method of screening of commissioners by Abia lawmakers had been `take a bow’ due to the claim by the lawmakers that Abia government was under the headship of one PDP leader who is Governor Orji.

Kalu, hail from Ohafia same area with Mba Ukaha and Ude Oko Chukwu, the speaker of the assembly and is widely noted to have robust relationship with Gov. Orji and his family.

After the introduction of Kalu by Ukaha who pleaded that the nominee be allowed to take a bow due to his political pedigree, the speaker objected to the plea, and added that the house would like to tap from his wealth of experience as a former commissioner. 

However, the Speaker was unable to hide his interest by series of questions he threw at Kalu, a conduct that made observers at the session likened to the behaviour of Okochukwu to that of Ikechukwu Nwabeke in the case of Adaelu.

”For the speaker to literally abdicate his role of the moderator and joined forces with five other lawmakers including two lawyers/members armed with questions to miss up Kalu during executive session held by the lawmakers that preceded the plenary reveals the politics behind the screening exercise’’, a source told Akanimo reporter.

It was learnt that Kalu was grilled for almost two and half hours, a treatment that left political associates and relative of the nominee asking each other if the screening was a civil war.

Another highly placed politician who did not want his name said that what played out during the screening of Umeh Kalu was obvious political rivalry between Okochukwu and the nominee over who gets what during the 2015 general elections. 

”Okochukwu is either nursing the ambition to go to House of Representatives or be made the deputy governor in 2015 and he (Okochukwu) felt that with the robust relationship Umeh Kalu enjoys with the powers that be he (Kalu) might be a stumbling block for his ambition.

”It was clearly because of this motive that the speaker took time out to ambush Kalu’’, he said.

”It was the same interest that played out in the case of Ikedi Ezekwesiri and Eze Chikamnayo as the latter fears that Chikamnayo would play a spoiler role for him in 2015’’, he said.

Our source, a staunch member of PDP noted that if care was not taken the kind of politics witness during the screening might pave way for political crisis not only between the state governors and lawmakers, among the assembly members themselves.

It was gathered that Abia Deputy Speaker, Asiforo Okere, who played spotless role while his colleagues  berserk in the euphoria of legislative superiority during the screening, was opposed toOctober, 7, 2013 adjournment of the house.

The long adjournment according to our source was targeted at orchestrating psychological trauma already faced by the nominees whose confirmation was hung in the balance. 

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