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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Obiano Failed Us — Former Appointee, Says Their Proposed Reunion Not a Gang-up Against Soludo


By Izunna Okafor, Awka

Political appointees of former Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State have dismissed the speculations that their proposed 2023 re-union is a gang-up against the incumbent Governor Chukwuma Soludo and his government.

Recall that the political appointees had recently announced a fixture of their reunion — a first-of-its-kind event scheduled to hold on Sunday, December 10, in Awka, the State capital.

The planning of the re-union, which is coming barely 20 months after the appointees left office, is being spearheaded by former Senior Special Assistant on Political Matters to Obiano, Chief Owelle Mbaso (as the Convener), with the assistance of former Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Primus Odili, and former Special Assistant on Inter-party Affairs to the Governor, Chief Ben Obi.

Be it as it may, shortly after the fixture of the proposed reunion, speculations began to emanate from different quarters, alleging that the former political appointees scheduled the event to gang up against Governor Soludo’s government for allegedly refusing to pay them their severance allowances since they left office over 20 months ago.

However, when contacted by this reporter, the Convener of the re-union and former Senior Special Assistant on Political Matters to ex-Governor Obiano, Chief Owelle Mbaso, dismissed the speculations as baseless and tissues of lies.

According to him, anyone who describes or perceives the re-union as a plot against Soludo is just making mockery of himself or herself.

“So, can’t we have a reunion or discuss our statutory rights anymore? People should know that this is not an election or campaign period and stop all these needless sensational comments and erroneous speculations,” he said.

Speaking further, Mbaso said: “Let me make it clear without fear of contradiction: Obiano failed us by not paying the severance allowances. This is not Gov. Soludo’s responsibility because we did not work under him. Although severance allowance is statutory, but we are having our reunion, and this issue will come up at some point in the reunion.

“We have created a 30-man committee that will meet with the Governor who is currently the Father of the state after the reunion and plead with him.”

Asked who and who are expected at the event, Chief Mbaso explained that all the former appointees of the former Governor, including those who have defected to other political parties, are all expected at the re-union and are all involved, adding that, although, attendance is not compulsory, it was collectively agreed by the appointees to host the reunion.

While confirming that the current Deputy Governor of the State, Dr. Onyekachukwu Ibezim, who was once an appointee of Governor Obiano, is also expected at the event, Mbaso said: “We have a platform of former appointees, Class of 2014 to 2022, that unites all. The current Deputy Governor is invited as our former colleague, because reunion is a time to meet with old colleagues.”

He also dismissed the claims that their former principal, ex-Governor Obiano had distanced and dissociated himself from the proposed reunion.

“Obiano did not distance himself from our reunion, but he has a different agenda from his appointees. Meanwhile, we are not discussing Akpokuedike at this point but our Grand reunion,” he explained.

When asked the total amount of the unpaid severance allowances, the former SSA said: “Severance allowance varies, depending on the appointee’s portfolio. Severance Allowance is statutory, but it is not Gov. Soludo’s priority to pay us because he never appointed us.

“Our former Governor failed on that and left the statutory package for Soludo. We are not blaming Soludo but rather pleading with him to look at the faces of the same appointees who toiled day and night to make him Governor.

“So, my brother, ignore those desperate sycophants who are hovering around the corridors of power with half-baked gossip, seeking for attention and claiming that we are gathering against Soludo. We are not gathering against Soludo!”

Concluding he said: “Although, we understand that government is continuum, but we are not confrontational at all to Soludo. We are only hoping and praying that our requests will get the desired attention, either before or after our Grand Reunion.”

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