Mbah and burden of chosing cabinet members

Blueprint Whatsapp

CHUKS NWEZE from Enugu writes that Governor Peter Ndubuisi Mbah, sworn in on Monday May 29, 2023, as the 5th governor of Enugu state since it was carved out from the old Enugu state and is yet to make crucial appoints into his government

The new governor has already kick-started governance by signing three executive orders and has also picked a Secretary to the State Government (SSG), in the person of Prof. Chidiebere Onyia.

By making such appointment, some Enugu indigenes affirmed that Mbah had demonstrated that he was indeed prepared to govern the state and that he has an independent mind and not being tele-guided by any godfather who dictates the tune underground.

Now that he has made his first appointment, all eyes were on him to make other appointments, especially, chosing his media team that would help project his government in good light and be able to handle crisis that might arise in the course of governance without being at loggerheads with the media or engender public  misunderstanding of his policies.

Already, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Enugu State Council has appealed to the new administration to consider journalists and media practitioners from within the council instead of picking professionals abroad in chosing members of his media team. 

The council made the appeal in a four-point communique reached at the end of their May Congress.  

The request, the communique said, was borne out of experience where past administrators preferred to choose their media team from outside the journalism profession whereas competent hands abound in the council, many of who have paid their dues in journalism practice and should be in the know as to how best to handle media related matters for a governor.

What further informed the decision of the Enugu NUJ is the argument that it is incongruous for an engineer to be appointed as the Commissioner for Health or a journalist being appointed as a Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General. Flowing from this is that only a lawyer can be appointed into the position of Commissioner of Justice and Attorney General.

At the build up to the election, Mbah’s political party the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) formed many committees which were headed by men of proven integrity like Barr. Nana Ogbodo who was made the campaign organisation’s spokesman. 

From interaction with some other members of the committee, Ogbodo discharged his functions creditably to the extent that when the opposition was going for the jugular that Governor Mbah was not qualified for the position of governor because of incongruity in his NYSC discharge certificate which is still a subject of ligation till this day, Ogbodo stood up to defend the Governor, vehemently.

As the spokesman of the campaign organisation, Ogbo defended the Governor stoutly and even when Senator-elect, Barr. Okey Ezea, prior to the governorship election insinuated that it was going to be a do or die affair between Nkanu people and Nsukka people, Nana stood out to counter the  confrontation.  

The expectations are that with the way Ogbodo discharged his duties as the campaign organisation spokesman for PDP, he could be appointed as one of the media team of the governor.

Other practitioners of the journalism profession who are likely to be considered as part of the media team are the former Chief Press Secretary to Governor Sullivan Chime, Mr. Dan Nwomeh and Senator Ike Ekweremadu’s media manager, Mr. Uche Anichukwu, who followed Mbah virtually throughout his campaign days.

In the same vein, other members of the campaign organisation who are standing by for one appointment or the other are the Director General of the Mbah Campaign Organisation, Chief Ikeje Asogwa, prominent members of the campaign organisations like USA Igwesi, Dr. Maxwell Ngene among a host of others are believed to be men that would be part of Mbah’s cabinet members.

Blueprint also learnt that other people likely to benefit directly from Mbah’s administration are some of the 60-member of the Transitional Council who drew the blueprint for his government to achieve the most cherished democracy dividends.

Expectedly, PDP stalwarts are equally to be compensated for their doggedness and loyalty to the party that eventually culminated in Mbah’s victory at the polls.

Also gathered is that primordial sentiments is going to play a major role to determine who benefits from the appointments. A native of Nkanu said,  “these days that it seems that the winner takes it all nature of appointment would manifest. Governors tend to focus more on the people from their area and zone for appointments, the people of Nkanu East local government area and indeed the entire Nkanu Land and the entire Enugu East senatorial zone, are likely going to be the area that would benefit more in appointments.”

“There are people who do not come out openly but are behind the scene making serious inputs like Chief Jim Nwobodo, the former governor of old Anambra; former Senate President, Chief Ken Nnamani and some prominent traditional rulers, though themselves will not be given appointments but might influence Mbah’s choice of cabinet members,” Chiedu Eze said.

Political analysts are of the opinion that men like Nwobodo and Nnamani are political demigods who cannot be pushed aside in the choice of chosing cabinet members for the new government.

Chief Damian Ugwu said, “Nwobodo and Nnamani are heavy weights you cannot push aside when it comes to chosing who will have what in this government.  Whether you like it or not, they are going to influence Mbah’s choice in making appointments.  

“Remember that it was Nwobodo who first announced to the world before the party primary that Mbah was the choice of Nkanu people.

“This portends that he would wield a big influence in this government.  And don’t forget that Senator Chimaroke Nnamani also will have influence in this government because Mbah served as a Commissioner band Chief of Staff in his  day,” Jude Osike, a political analyst said.

But another political analyst, Chike Nwobu said “Mbah is a man that has mind of his own and may not be bossed by anybody to choose who he will work with.”  

He recalled how Chimaroke Nnamani pushed Jim Nwobodo aside to form his government and how Chime did not allow Senator Chimaroke Nnamani to come close to his government but did what was right in his own eyes.

“Mbah is a man of his own.  He will choose his cabinet members without allowing any external influence like Chimaroke Nnamani and Sullivan Chime did in their day.  He said that it would not be business as usual meaning that he is focused and knows what he wants and what he would do.

“True, it is not easy to choose cabinet members but Mbah, I know from his campaign days will do things the way he wants it without being influenced by party hierarchy and hangers-on, the so-called godfathers,” Nwobu said.

Some people had expected that Mbah would have made key appointments like Chief Press Secretary, and Chief of Staff as he did in the area of SSG as but more than week after, he is yet to make such appointments probably because he is faced with array of heads to choose from.

“I don’t know why he has not chosen his Chief Press Secretary as many of the governors have done. Maybe he is taking his time not to make mistake or probably he wants to invite the media before making open his Press Secretary and the Chief of Staff as Ugwuanyi did in his day,” a journalist with one of the national dailies said.

Be that as it may, Mbah could be bidding his time to make his choice and will likely make them public soon, but one thing is certain, some people are going to be disappointed because there is no way Mbah will give appointment to everybody.  And because he cannot choose everybody at the same time, with time, he would be making changes.