Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi has suspended the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters/Rural Development, Barr. Samuel Okoronkwo. The State’s chief executive did not give the reason for his action, it was however learnt it had to do with the lopsided selection of youths in the state for the Industrial Training Fund programme.
It was also gathered that Umahi, who directed that the most senior officer in the ministry should take over from Okoronkwo, later on Friday evening asked the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Dr. Ignatius Unah, to take charge. The most senior officer in the Local Government Ministry will consequently assist the permanent secretary.
The governor, who announced the suspension while declaring open the ITF programme in Abakaliki, also disbanded the state’s Committee on Employment.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Emma Anya quoted Umahi as saying: “The Commissioner for Local Government is hereby suspended from office effective from now. And the highest officer, a civil servant, should take over and be attending Exco until further notice.
“This administration from day one has been built on the principle of justice, equity and fairness. In some of our programmes, we do equality of Local Governments. But in this kind of empowerment, we do equality of wards, so what I expected to see here would have been for them to borrow a leaf from what we are doing to empower about 3,000 of our women and youths.”
“We are doing this and everybody is happy. We were called to build Ebonyi State where nobody will say I am from North or South or Central. I think we are succeeding. Anybody that is going to take us back to the dark ages will be resisted.”
Umahi however stressed that his administration was poised to develop the capacity of the youth to become self- reliant.