With the announcement of the List of Special Assistants in the State, a lot of questions were raised seeking clarity to some of the Portfolios that were created.
In this interview with IMO STATE BLOG, Chief of Staff to the Imo State Government, Prince Eze Madumere provides answers.
Q: Governor Rochas Okorocha recently inaugurated Special Assistants in the State. Some of the portfolios were not quite clear. First on the list is, IGBO AFFAIRS. Could you please explain the relevance of the IGBO AFFAIRS Portfolio?
A: The Igbo Affairs portfolio was created to oversee traditional affairs in the State. For instance, most of our youth have lost touch with the Igbo Culture. What seems to interest them these days are Channel O DSTV and the likes . The Governor would like to bring focus back to the Igbo Culture. We want all the Tertiary institutions especially Primary and Secondary schools in the State to focus more on Igbo Languages . He has also said that no Traditional Ruler would receive any dignitary speaking English; be it on a Courtsey call visit or at a major Function. We need to revert to our Culture. The office of the Special Assistant , Igbo Affairs will follow up on these things. Thats basically what we are trying to do; to refocus our attention back to our Culture.
Q: A lot of Imolites had concerns over the appointment of Uche Ogbuagu as Chief Comedian of the State. Could you also explain this Portfolio and the selection of Mr.Ogbuagu for the position?
A: Uche Ogbuagu is basically the Chief Master of Ceremony for the State. His office will be responsible for Entertainment activities in the State. There is always a State Function. The State holds events almost every weekend. Instead of flying in Comedians from out of State, we chose to create an office. Besides, Uche Ogbuagu needs little or no introduction. This is his Profession and he has made a name for himself. In the past few days following his appointment, he has been able to attract some investment opportunities in the State
Q:What does the Office of the Special Assistant, Non Formal sector entail?
A: The Special Assistant in this in this position is like an appeasant. For instance, if there are issues that arise from Okada Riders, Keke NAPEP riders, Mechanics to name a few, this office will serve as a middle person to mediate these issues.
Q: We have Pastor Frank Onwumere listed as Special Assistant, Productivity and Studio Documnetary. What is his office responsible for?
A: For clarification, the office is for Electronic Media. He would handle Video Productions and Television tapings at the Government House.
Q:There was a Particular portfolio that caught my attention; the office of International Donor Agencies. Where does that come in?
A:Yes. In Imo State, we have what is called the Millenium Development Gold , there are about 15 world bank assisted development projects in Imo State and these projects are not well coordinated.
We found the need to have someone who would handle the funds from Donor Angecies . Some of these funds will go to Agriculture, and granting sub-loans to small business owners in the Villages.
The Special Assistant in this office will be report to my office (Chief of Staff) and the Governor on that aspect.
Q: What is the role of the Technical assistant?
A:We have two of them; one is a Senior Technical Assistant, one is a Techical Assistant. They fall under my office. Their job is this to review the Proposals submitted to the State Government.
When Technical issues are minuited to my office; they will dissect it first before submitting it to my desk. I will then draft an Executive Memo and pass it on to the Governor.
Prof. Okoronta will develop speeches for the Governor.
Q: What would the Office of the Special Assistant, MDG – (Millenium Development Goal) be responsible for in the State, specifically?. For those who are not familiar with this project, could you please enlighten the readers.
A:The Millenium Development Goal is one of the agencies funded by the World Bank. It was an agreement that was reached by the United Nations that developing Countries like Nigeria would have a timeline to eradicate poverty in their countries.
The Goals of the Millenium Development are to Reduce Child Mortality , Fight Malaria, HIV / Aids and other diseases, Improve Maternal Health, Ensure Envirommental Sustanaibility, Develop a Global partnership for Development, Poverty Eradication as I mentioned earlier, to Promote Gender Equality and Women Empowerment and achieve Universal Primary Education.
For example, this year, the State would be receiving N2 Billion but the State would have to match the funds bringing it to N4 Billion. There must be a synergy between the Senior Special Assistant to the Presidency on MDG and the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor in Imo State to coordinate the fulfillment of these projects.
Q: We would like to understand what the Inter Party and Intra Party Office was created to acheive. Its quite confusing.
A: Okay. Its quite Easy. Alhaji Abubakar Ozor is Inter Party. In Imo State, we have about 21 Political Parties that are functional. His job would be to reach out to these Parties. Irrespective of the fact that the State is governed by the APGA Party, there is need to form Unity. All parties should be able to have an Understanding. Periodically, they will meetings with the Governor. We would have a symposium and a network between them and INEC.
For Intra Party, Mr. B.B Ibekwe, would be responsible for affairs within the APGA Party. Just as there are crisis within families, he would be responsible to ensure that there are no conflicts amongst the APGA Party members. If there is a Congress, he would be responsible. That is what we mean by INTRA Party.
Q:Out of curiousity Sir, are Engr. Mrs. Angelina Nwole and Barr. Patricia Nwole related?
A: No. It was purely a coincidence. They are not even from the same place. There are from two different families .
Q:Many in Diaspora are curious to know about Mr. Nnanyerugo Onaji who was appointed the Special Assistant of Diaspora Affairs.
A: He is an indigene of Ikeduru and lives in New York. He is a U.S Attorney and practices in the City of New York. As Special Assistant on Diaspora, He would coordinate Diaspora affairs concerning the Imo Indigenes resident in the United States and Canada.
Q:What informed the creation of the office of Lagos Affairs?.
A:We have a liason office in Lagos and Abuja. So they are responsible to coordinate all the affairs in Lagos and Abuja respectively for the State.
Q: I had an extensive interview with Ms.Sylvanus and at the time that we spoke, it did not appear that she had a clear understanding of what her job description entailed. In other words, she had not been fully briefed on the job description at hand. Respectfully Sir, how could she not have been briefed prior to her appointment?
A: Okay. Let me tell you. All the appointments we make are surprises. We dont believe in lists. We received over 5,000 CV’s ; reviewed them and made our selection so that could explain why she could not give you details on her Office at the time of your Interview.
I had an Orientation with all the Special Assistants yesterday (Sunday) and they have all been fully briefed.
Q: So, prior to her selection as Special Assistant, Ms.Sylvanus was found capable of handling that Office?
JOI JOHN: One part that touched me in our Interview was when she questioned why people did not speculate the supposed romantic involvement with His Excellency when she was out campaigning for him. According to her, she was there from the onset when His Excellency declared his intentions to run for the Gubernatoriol Electioins and has been there every step of the way with the Campaign team.
COS:I agree with her 100 percent, Nkiru has always been there with us. She is close to me as well. Her relationship with my Principal, His Excellency is like a Father and Daughter. She is very close to the entire family so it is pure blackmail. When you are in certain positions, you have to get used to it.
Q:With the creations of these jobs; are they paid positions or Honorary?
A:The Special Assistants are paid posititons because their offices support the Governor on a daily basis. The Special Advisers who were sworn in earlier are Honorary.
Q: Lastly Sir, the creation of these jobs opened wounds because of the 10,000 youths who were laid off in June . Considering that these Special Assistants are likely to be paid 10 times more than these youths would have earned, were all those portfolios necessary?
A: You see, every position that the Governor nominated and approved are very necessary for His office to function. The only way we can fulfil the agenda of the rescue mission is to have these offices created. The jobs of the Youths would be addressed.
JOI JOHN: Thank you for taking out the time from your busy schedule to clarify these issues. We wish His Excellency, Gov. Rochas Okorocha and the Rescue Mission team, great success.
COS: Don’t mention. This is a Grassroot oriented administration and we owe it to the people . Keep up the good work.