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Saturday, 19 March 2016

24 Hours After Sack: Jude Ejiogu Opens Up: I Never Failed Okorocha


Was Ex SSG Victim of Power Play?


Former Secretary to Imo State Government, Sir Jude Ejiogu has  said the Governor's decision to relive him of his duties was not because he failed.

He gave a run – down of various positions he served the State government and proved his mettle.

In a face book post, Ejiogu wrote in part “Convincingly, I know that the Governor's decision to relieve me of my position was not as a result of failure, incompetence, mediocrity or negligence of duty on my part, but it was a sound desire to give another Imolite the privilege to contribute his or her quota aimed at developing our dear state, the Eastern Heartland”

He said he is leaving the government “a happy person with my head held high”.
The former SGI added “There is no doubt that my greatest joy has been to serve the people of Imo State to the best of my abilities, and for His Excellency, the Governor to have given me such opportunity to showcase my experience and expertise is indeed priceless
However, Details were still sketchy to INNONEWS.COM last night why the former Secretary to Imo State Government, Sir Jude Ejiogu was suddenly sacked by Governor Rochas Okorocha late Friday (yesterday).

A statement by the Principal Secretary to the Governor, Paschal Obi aired repeatedly on state run media, ORIENT, said the sack is with immediate effect.

Ejiogu was instructed to hand over all government property in his possession to a permanent secretary in Government House, Owerri.

Before he was relieved of his duties, Ejiogu was one of the powerful forces in Okorocha’s government having served in various capacities since the rescue mission government came on board in 2011.

He headed the Imo State Board of Internal Revenue where he championed a radical move to increase the revenue base of the State.  Banks in Imo State will easily recall how Ejiogu led an aggressive campaign to ensure they complied with payment of taxes after shutting down operations in protest of such exorbitant tax rates imposed by State government.

The ex banker  was later appointed Special Adviser to the Governor on Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and later Chairman, Local Government Service Commission.

 Ejiogu warmed himself into the heart of Rochas as he effectively served as a link between the administration and the people of Imo East Senatorial zone (Owerri zone) who have consistently lamented over marginalization in the power alchemy of Imo State.

The zone has never produced the governor of Imo State since the return of democracy in 1999 and Ejiogu never hesitated to serve as the bridge between the Okorocha government and the people of Owerri zone. It was the zone that contributed significantly to Okorocha’s second term victory.

The Emekuku born politician later rose to become Chief of Staff to the Governor doubling the position as Commissioner, for Special Duties.

When Okorocha won re- election in 2015, he was elevated to the powerful position of Secretary to Imo State Government after Anthony Anwuka, Okorocha’s in- law vacated the seat for a ministerial appointment.

Before his sack last Friday, Ejiogu was rumored to be interested in succeeding Okorocha as governor of Imo State in 2019, a rumour which he never denied nor confirmed.  At a public event in Owerri last week, Ejiogu was openly hailed by large crowd of supporters which ostensibly sent signals that he is in the race for 2019 guber.

 Pundits said if he really nursed such an ambition, Okorocha aided him by announcing early this month that he has listed Ejiogu and four others for consideration as his likely successors in 2019.   

Others the Governor reportedly mentioned include his Deputy, Eze Madumere, a former Commissioner, Lady (Mrs) Ugochi Nnanna Okoro, businessman cum politician, Chief Jerry Chukwueke. The Governor  said that he will present his wish- list of nominees to the public and the media to scrutinize before he makes up his mind on whom to choose.

Okorocha however put a proviso: none of the nominees will be above 50 years.

Based on Okorocha’s postulation, some political analysts contended that Ejiogu may have been removed from office since his name featured prominently on the wish list of the governor.

Aside Eze Madumere, the Deputy Governor, other nominees of the governor at one time served in Okorocha’s government and have been shown the exit door ostensibly to prepare for their onerous task ahead.

“ Keeping him on the saddle as Secretary to the State Government (SSG) will  be giving him undue advantage over other nominees on Okorocha’s wish- list since other nominees are out of government” said Chuks Opara, a political analyst 

However, another dimension popped up last night on why he was sacked. 

There were reports of a battle of supremacy war that was said to be raging on among contending forces in Government House, Owerri.

Since 2014 even before Ejiogu’s elevation from Chief of Staff to Secretary to the State Government, there have been unconfirmed reports in the media that he and the Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere were entangled in a supremacy war that bordered on who succeeds Rochas Okorocha

This online newspaper had reported on May 27, 2014, that the cold war began when Okorocha indicated interest to vie for the presidency in 2015.

(READ Below: Okorocha's Second Term Ambition: Deputy Governor, Chief Of Staff In Fresh Rift Over Running Mate Slot)

 In an open letter to Governor Rochas Okorocha titled “ Before The Whirlwind Blows” written by Chief Raymond Onuoha, a senior citizen of Imo State and published by this online newspaper on Saturday April 12, 2014 (Google Before The Whirlwind Blows) and other local tabloids in Imo State, Onuoha wrote “

“There has been a cold war between your Deputy, Eze Madumere and Your Chief of Staff, Jude Ejiogu.

“This has been severally reported in the local media. 

The bone of contention is the seat you occupy. Because they feel rightly or wrongly that you want to go for the presidency,they have intensified quite campaigns to suceeed you as Imo State Governor. 

This has created disharmony among your aides.

“It may interest you to know that the altercations has divided your government. Some of your aides have pitched tent either with Madumere’s camp or that of your Chief of Staff.   

Despite Okorocha’s inability to win the APC presidential primaries in 2015 which forced him to re- contest for  a second term, the cold war between the duo was said to have raged on. The former SSG at no time responded to these allegations thus fueling more speculations about the feud  may have been a key factor that led to his sack.

" He lost concentration of his job. He focused more on his ambition and the recent event where he was hailed when the governor was present might have fetched him the sledge hammer" said Rufus Igwe, a political commentator..

Okorocha's Second Term Ambition: Deputy Governor, Chief Of Staff In Fresh Rift Over Running Mate Slot  (PUBLISHED MAY 27, 2014)

Despite keeping an eye on the Vice Presidential ticket of the All Progressive Congress, APC with the option of vying for the Governorship of the State for a second term, a cold war is brewing again in Government House, Owerri, over who runs as Okorocha’s running mate in the coming elections.

It will be recalled that Okorocha’s Deputy and core loyalist, Eze Madumere and his Chief Of Staff, Jude Ejiogu have been widely reported to be involved in a battle of supremacy.

The intensity of the cold war then was who will succeed Governor Okorocha as Governor in 2015, following strong indications that Okorocha was bent on contesting the APC presidential primaries. 

A ceasefire however ensued when the Governor ostensibly sensing that the APC was bent on fielding a Northern candidate and someone from the South West as Vice Presidential candidate decided to soft pedal and opt to run for a second term as Governor of Imo State.

Despite his renewed his desire to vie for the VP slot of the APC in recent times, Okorocha is believed to have concluded plans to run for a second term as Governor and will only drop the ambition if current political polemics in the APC favours his Vice Presidential  bid.

With this posturing, this blog learnt that a fresh war has began between the current Deputy Governor and the Chief of staff over who will be Rochas running mate in 2015 guber polls.

The Chief Of Staff, Ejiogu, is speculated to be interested in the slot having allegedly surrendered his ambition to represent Owerri Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives to Okorocha’s in – law and Chairman, Owerri North LGA, Engr. Chuks Ololo.

A group, Owerri Federal Constituency Political Movement led by Ejiogu’s protege, Barr. Umezuruike, believed to have the backing of the Chief of Staff had embarked on quiet campaigns to drum support for the APC and the Chief of Staff within Owerri Federal Constituency. At such political outings, the group was silent on the ambition of the Chief of Staff but never failed to highlight his (Ejiogu’) political prowess

Though, some aides loyal to the Chief of Staff have denied any rift  between their boss and the Deputy Governor or anybody for that matter, his body language tend to suggest that he has a  political ambition.

In 2011, he was member of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, where he lost vied for the Reps seat but was defeated by Chief Gibson Njemanze (Oyiga) at the party’s primaries.

Oyiga served in Okorocha’s government as Mayor of Owerri but resigned after 6 months.


Ejiogu has warmed himself to the heart his boss, becoming a clearing house, thus reducing the potency of the Deputy Governor who has been a long standing friend and ally of Governor Okorocha.

Eze Madumere is known to have served Rochas for more than 18 years, having served as his Chief of Staff before his elevation to Deputy Governor of Imo State after Jude Agbaso was impeached for corruption charges by the Imo State House of Assembly.

Government House sources however claimed that all is well with the duo as they are working closely to ensure the success of the rescue mission administration, but did not rule out any possibility of political rift as the 2015 elections draws near.

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