Looking Beyond The N458m Contract Scam: Who Replaces Jude Agbaso/By John Mgbe



I have scaled down my participation in discussing Imo politics for the reason that I was shell shocked and disorientated as a result of the signals emanating from the Executive and Legislative arms of Imo State political bureaucracy in the past weeks. I want to presume that whoever is reading this topic is fully aware of the N458m contract scam which has pitted the Deputy Governor, Sir Jude Agbaso and  Mr.Dina, the Managing Director of J-PROS International Nig. Ltd., a company that is supposed to be handling contract works on some major roads in Imo State on one hand and the Imo State legislature on the other hand. Since I am yet to recover from the shock of the contract scam, I do not intend to delve into it here and now.

No matter how the episode is resolved, it is a classic case of a misplaced confidence and a betrayal of trust by those who are directly or remotely involved in that show of shame. It rankles; it is massively provocative that in spite of the fact that yours sincerely who was in the forefront in the “Struggle for Regime Change” has yet to receive a bottle of soft drink or even an executive handshake, some of our leaders are busy paying off billions to some foreign contractors who were in their comfort zones while we were struggling in the valley of Gethsemane and Golgotha to sack Chief Ohakim and entrench a new regime. We paraded ourselves as volunteers who were fighting to liberate our people from the shackles of Ohakimocracy but little did we know that at the end of the day we would be the monkey that would work while some others would be the baboons that must eat. It is sad that after all our efforts, it appears that we have simply entrenched a new face of George Orwell’s Republic (Republic of Animalism) where some animals are more equal than others. I will discuss the contract scam when I fully gather energy to so do but today my topic is targeted on the ongoing search for a replacement to Sir Jude Agbaso, the outgoing Deputy Governor.

In spite of how this matter is resolved in the long run, I don’t know how many people that will be ready to still see Sir Jude Agbaso as Deputy Governor of IMO State. In his usual unpredictable disposition, Governor Okorocha may wake up one morning and swiftly give orders that the impeachment move should screech to a halt and Jude Agbaso should take back his job. If that happens tomorrow, I will not be surprised because Imo State is a place where nothing shocks; we are a people with a seared and convoluted conscience.


In this viewpoint, I want to do a sort of rejoinder on the issue that has been raised in respect of those who have been shortlisted as possible substitutes for Jude Agbaso. Some of the names that have been circulated include:

1.     Nick Opara Ndudu, the incumbent Commissioner for Works

2.     Uche Onyeagocha

3.     Prince Eze Madumere

4.     Sir. Jude Ejiogu

5.     Barrister Soronnadi Njoku

6.     Chief P. C. Onuoha

7.     Mrs. Dan Dozie


Nick Oparandudu

He is the incumbent Commissioner for Works. He is a pretender to the throne. I don’t think he has gathered enough clout to be appointed to the job of a Deputy Governor. He is eminently qualified for the job but I feel that he will not make it.


Uche Onyeagocha

He is a staunch member of All Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and one of the hardcore opponents of Owelle Rochas Okorocha’s 2011 Governorship initiative. He is anti-Governor Okorocha and the two cannot bond well. He is independent minded and is not likely to be loyal to Governor Okorocha in the long run. In fact, they are two parallel lines that cannot meet.Again, it is impolitic and provocative for Governor Okorocha to go outside the mainstream APGA to pick a deputy Governor from ACN, a political party that dragged him to the Supreme Court in a bid to truncate his governorship victory. There will be reprisal attacks from the APGA politicians who are waiting for the job.


Governor Okorocha’s romance with All Progressive Congress (APC) is not enough reason to consider Onyeagocha for the job. If the ACN people are sincere in the APC merger with Okorocha’s faction of APGA, the party should withdraw their petition against Okorocha’s victory in the Governorship election of 2011. If the ACN does not apply to the courts that they have settled out of court with Okorocha, it will be a big joke to be appointing ACN politicians to political offices. Governor Okorocha is incurring the wrath of those who made him Governor if he continues to appoint ACN members to appointive positions. In the long run, there may be a backlash.

I am vehement that until the ACN withdraws their suits against Governor Okorocha in the Court of Appeal Owerri and the Supreme Court, their members should not be considered for any political jobs in this administration. So, the bottom-line of my thesis is that Barr. Uche Onyeagocha should not be considered for the deputy Governor’s job. As a person, he is fully qualified to be governor or even President of Nigeria but this is Imo politics.


Prince Eze Mmadumere

He is the incumbent Chief of Staff (CoS) to the Governor. He was also the CoS to the Rochas Foundation Business Empire. I don’t think that he is a fit and proper person to be Deputy Governor. Imo State government cannot be run like Rochas Foundation Business Empire. Even now he sees himself as Chief of Staff of Rochas Foundation. Those who have condemned Martin Agbaso for presenting his younger brother Jude Agbaso, as Deputy Governor must also condemn any move to make Prince Eze Madumere the Deputy Governor. He is too close to Governor Okorocha to be effective as Deputy Governor.

During the 2011 electioneering, Comrade Keneth Emelu, the incumbent Commissioner for Youths and Sports called me one day and said that he would want to introduce me to the Chief of Staff of Rochas Foundation i.e. Prince Madumere. I said Ok, fine. He took me to the office and explained to him how I had made great efforts in supporting Governor Okorocha’s 2011 governorship project. In fact we met him at the verandah, not in the office. After all the talk by Comrade Emelu, Prince Madumere simply said Ok. I then asked for his phone number. He said it was not necessary; continue to talk with your friend, Emelu. There was no sign of elation on his face. He did not even take us into his office. This was a time when journalists had shunned Owelle Okorocha for sundry reasons. If Eze Madumere could treat me with such indifference and disdain at the electioneering period, what will he do if he becomes Deputy Governor? This is why I have kept away from his office since he became Chief of Staff. In fact, by my own assessment, he is proud. However, I have read many texts praising him as a humble and kind person. It would appear that mine was a case of hatred at first sight.I wish him well.

In fact when his people organized a reception for him recently, Governor Okorocha said “Ndi Mbieri, I did not make him Chief of Staff because I love you. I made it for myself.”. So, the difference between Governor Okorocha and Prince Madumere is the difference between six and one-half of a dozen. So, I don’t endorse him for the job.


Chief P.C. Onuoha:

He does not fit into the template at all. The people of Mbaise nation have made up their mind on 2015. So, it is not advisable to give the job to an Mbaise person. Governor Okorocha should forget the three Local Government Areas in Mbaise clan. Above all, Chief P. C. Onuoha is not capable of winning votes. Both the man and his younger brother are all top shots in Okorocha’s administration. What did they do for Okorocha that some of us did not do in 2011? I wrote several viewpoints in support of Dr. Ada Okwuonu who was then under persecution by the Government House. I advised Ohakim not to run as Governor but to use his incumbency to make Ada Okwuonu Governor. I received several hostile text messages from those who wondered why I was recommending an Mbaise for Governorship. In fact some asked whether I was a genuine Igbo man. I was shocked. Today, I don’t know if the mood has changed. I was told by several callers that Mbaise could be good for Deputy Governor’s duty if so, the governor can make him deputy governor. I was shocked that a genuine comment I made in favour of Mbaise nation could attract such hostility on me.


So in the case of Chief P.C. Onuoha, I don’t support his nomination for Deputy Governorship. Since both him and his younger brother are already eating from the Governor, He should look for another Mbaise person for the job if it is now zoned to Mbaise nation. I am not aware of any special feats they performed in the 2011 election that qualifies them for such special considerations in Okorocha’s Administration. In fact, I still see him as a hard-core PDP man.


Mr. Dan Dozie:

I don’t know much about this fellow; so I have no opinion on him.


Sir Jude Ejiogu:

He is the incumbent Chairman of the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) Imo State. I feel reluctant to say that my dossier on him since his name was mentioned as a likely successor to Sir Jude Agbaso shows that he may not be the best candidate for the job of a Deputy Governor. My investigation shows that Sir Jude Ejiogu has been exhibiting the traits of clannishness since he assumed office as Chairman of Local Government Service Commission. A profile of the promotions made since his tenure shows that he is a clannish bigot who favours only Owerri zone. This is not the forum to discuss this issue extensively, it will be discussed elsewhere. But I urge him to do an introspection of his activities as they affect Staff promotion and related activities and grade himself. Can he in conscience vouch that he has been evenhanded and fair in his approach to staff promotions? As far as he is concerned, the only zone that matters is Owerri zone I will give him the benefit of doubt and appeal to him to stop thinking that other zones are blind or fools. I am watching his activities on staff affairs with keen interest and I am thoroughly dissatisfied with my observations. I do not think he is a fit and proper person to be appointed Deputy Governor. Although I do not wish to go in details now, suffice it to ask whether it is fair that in a State with 27 Local Government areas, Owerri zone is producing a majority of the Directors of Administration and General Duties (DAGS). Can he tell us how many of these DAGS come from each of the three zones of Imo State? How many of the Heads of Personnel Management come from each of the three zones? Can the promotions made since he became chairman stand the test of seniority in the workplace as well as compliance with federal character requirements? I ask him to give a breakdown of the promotions made since his tenure. In order to give him the benefit of fair hearing, we are waiting. If he fails to defend his action then one may state one’s side of the story. In summary, I am of the opinion that he does not seem to be the best candidate for the job of a Deputy Governor.

Barrister Soronnadi Njoku

This is the man for the job. No matter from which angle you look at it, Barrister Soronnadi Njoku is eminently qualified to wear the crown. Those who know the role he played in the heady days of the contentious supplementary election, have been wondering why anybody should stand in his way to the office of a Deputy Governor. As far as this job of a Deputy Governor is concerned, he will simply bow and take his seat. He hails from Ngor Okpala Local Government Area. On account of his role in the May 6 2011 supplementary election, the only way to show gratefulness to him is to give him the crown of the Deputy Governor. He has won all the cases against the Governor’s victory in the 2011 elections. He won in the Tribunal, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. He is a man of uncommon simplicity and humility. He is perhaps the only Commissioner in Okorocha’s Administration that has picked all my phone calls to enquire about critical issues of State as they affect his ministry. Often, he even calls back to know who called. He is a Chip of the old block having served as Commissioner in Chief Udenwa’s Administration (May 29th 1999 – May 29th 2007). Barrister Soronnadi is an asset to Okorocha’s Administration. Although he does not know me, I am in a position to State that he has exhibited immense charm, candour and perspicacity as Commissioner for about nine years. He is a round peg in a round hole. Gentlemen, let’s toast the appointment of Barrister Soronnadi (SAN in waiting) as Deputy Governor – Designate to replace Sir Jude Agbaso.

Recommendation: All the names considered so far are already on the payroll of Imo State Government. I want to advise Governor Okorocha to also think of giving the job to an outsider who can act as a bridge between the Administration and the larger society. In this wise, I nominate Chief Paddy Obinna as a fit and proper person to replace Sir Jude Agbaso. He is a man of impeccable and unimpeachable antecedents. Above all, he hails from the same Emekuku with the Agbasos. His appointment will reassure the Owerri North/Emekuku and the Agbaso political dignity that the Administration is not set to humiliate or dehumanize them. In the area of culture, paddy has powerful antecedents. It is a case of by one and take two – as Deputy Governor, he will also double as commissioner for culture. This will also make for political peace and calm in the political arena since Owerri North will still occupy the office.

Some people have even favoured Speaker Ben Uwajimogu as a likely successor to Sir Jude Agbaso. This choice is legally right but morally wrong. It was the Owerri zone that facilitated Governor Okorochas victory in that election. The Okigwe zone contributed nothing to it. So, the office of Deputy Governor must reside in Owerri zone. Okorocha should learn from the mistakes of Chief Ohakim. The Iwu’s appointed him Governor and he could not even give the Iwu’s the senatorial slot hence he failed woefully in the election. Somebody appointed you a Governor and you gave him the secretary to the Government and later abandoned the family. Too bad! The 2007 Governorship election in IMO State was won by Chief Martin Agbaso,the elder brother to the outgoing Deputy Governor of Imo State,Sir Jude Agbaso. But some people in the corridors of power shoved him aside and appointed Chief Ohakim as governor.

It is unfortunate that there was nobody to give Jude Agbaso any useful advice on the futility of chasing the wind.The best option for him was to resign like former U.S President, Richard Nixon during the WaterGate Scandal .He could have emulated Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State who in spite of all his political challenges, remained silent, stoic and taciturn. The examples of Governor Peter Obi and President Richard Nixon of U.S will be discussed elsewhere. Even if he is left off the hook now, he has dragged the name of the Agbaso political dynasty to the mud and I feel sad about this turn of events. We are watching events unfold.





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