Umahi denies rift with Okorocha, says has been awarded Grand Commander of Imo



Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi has disclosed that his relationship with the outgoing Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo was cordial which had been proven by the latter awarding him the Grand Commander of Imo.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that insinuations abound of a strained relationship between both governors over the past four years.

Umahi made the declaration late on Monday in Abakaliki during a media chat with representatives of media houses across the country, to showcase his performances in four years and projections for his second tenure.

The governor noted that contrary to insinuations of a strained relationship between them, his relationship with the outgoing Imo governor was cordial.

“Okorocha is our leader, a great son of Igboland and we are in very good terms,” he said.

Umahi also noted that he would support the re-election of Mr Francis Nwifuru as the Speaker of the state House of Assembly if the members support his re-election.

“This Speaker is God send to the state as people should not pry into such matter because it concerns another arm of government.

“The House members will take care of themselves as the Speaker has worked so hard to emerge.

“It will be in the best interest of the House that he emerges because he not only attracts things to it but is very knowledgeable in legislative matters,” he said.

He noted that the Permanent Secretaries designate who perform poorly within two months in office would be retired from the state civil service, while those who perform creditably will be retained.

“The opposition petitioned me before the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) for not appointing permanent secretaries and I saw it as a folly.

“We have appointed 21 new permanent secretaries to complement the existing five and trained them for 10 days on physical fitness, morals and ways of doing business among other areas,” he said.

He noted that the permanent secretaries were selected from grade level 14 and above with emphasis on those who have from four years to stay in the civil service.

“I, however, offered a waiver to the Accountant General of the state and the Director of Works in the Ministry of Works who have one year in service because their experience is still needed,” he said.

The governor reeled his achievements in his first tenure in office in the areas of education, health, economic empowerment, youth development and sports, commerce and solid minerals among others.

“We will pay attention to human empowerment in the second tenure and embark on developmental projects such as an airport, Olympic-size Stadium, dualisation of Abakaliki-Enugu and Afikpo federal roads, among others,” he said.

Sen. Emmanuel Onwe, Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, noted that the media chat afforded the governor the opportunity of showcasing his giant strides in office and projections for the next four years. (NAN)