FACE-OFF Enugu Deputy Gov, Chime’s Chief Of Staff At War

Barely 12 days after Enugu State Governor Sullivan Chime left for medical checks abroad, the cold war between him and his deputy Chief Sunday Onyebuchi has extended to his Chief of Staff Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo who is said to be running the government on behalf of the chief executive.

Onyebuchi has been sidelined and totally schemed out things according to Government House sources and his seems poised to explode now that he understands that he has nothing to lose with just one year to the end of Chime’s administration and the obvious fact that he cannot succeed his principal who is seeking a seat in the senate and also zoned the governorship position to Enugu North further confirms his political irrelevance.

According to our source the deputy governor who has been holding back for long trying to avoid open confrontation with the COS has directed his staff not to take any further directives from the COS who has been dishing out orders and signing most confidential documents on behalf of the governor. “The deputy governor took it in good stride during Chime’s first medical trip abroad where he spent four months but this time he (deputy governor) is not ready to work under the shadow of a powerful COS” reveals our source. He added, “he has directed all his personal staff not to take any instructions or orders emanating from the office of the COS (Mrs. Nwobodo). He in fact he is just waiting for the mandatory 21 days stipulated by the constitution to elapse before he starts acting. Chime left without a written letter to the Speaker of the House of Assembly empowering his deputy to act on his behalf. This was the same thing he did the last time he traveled abroad for same reason of health.

“Stakeholders in the State are frowning at his attitude which is not democratic in any sense. And the stakeholders seem to have prevailed upon the House of Assembly to act as stipulated by the constitution. That suggests that if Chime does not return 21 days after his travelled abroad on the 8th of February then the House will direct his deputy to take over the mantle of leadership until he returns. “

Meanwhile the deputy governor (Onyebuchi) has instructed that the COS should be barred from performing all functions and duties of the governor since she is not the elected holder of that office. Observers however opine that perhaps it is pay back time for Onyebuchi who is still angered by the fact that the COS directed for his farm inside the Government House to be closed down due to the stench oozing out from the poultry. That incident pitched the governor against his deputy who felt that the COS was actually acting a script written by his principal.

National Weekender learnt the COS (Mrs. Nwobodo) has vowed that she will continue to carry out her state functions as directed by the governor before his trip abroad. According to one of her aides who wants to remain anonymous, “not even the speaker of the House of Assembly or the House can stop the COS because the House is working very closely with the governor. That was why nothing happened during the first trip of the governor despite all the ranting of the deputy governor who does not know the difference between his right and his left. If he knows how can he set up a poultry with 3000 chickens inside the Government House? Is such a man sound? Is he sane? The COS has decided to ignore his noise and assume he is a toothless bulldog. She will continue to run the state until His Excellency returns and nothing will happen.”

Recall that accusing fingers were pointed at Mrs. Nwobodo by the kinsmen of Enugu State First Lady during the controversy between her husband and her over her alleged solitary confinement in the Government House by her husband who argued that he was actually protecting his wife from public shame as a result of her ailment. The family of the First Lady said Mrs. Nwobodo is one of the reasons why their daughter took ill as she quarreled severally with her husband over the COS who she suspects is having an affair with the governor. This allegation has since been cleared by the governor who said it is a wrong imagination and accusation. He added that Mrs. Nwobodo should rather be praised for ensuring the smooth running of his administration.

It is yet to be seen what will be the eventual outcome of the face-off between Onyebuchi and Mrs. Nwobodo but that will depend on how long Chime will stay abroad. He did not tell anyone when he is due back but his aides say he will be back in a matter of days. Already he has spent  14 days abroad as the deputy relies on the House of Assembly to act based on constitutional provision which says after 21 days and the governor fails to send a written letter to the House, the latter can take a decision to direct the deputy governor to act.

About Desmond Ekwueme

desmond.ekwueme@nationalweekender.net

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