Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State may sack some of his aides for allegedly working against his administration’s political interest, ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The Commissioner for Information in the state, Chikamnayo Eze, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.
He said the state government observed “with dismay” that some of the governor’s aides, including members of his media team, were engaging in “subversive activities” against the government.
The information commissioner said the “subversive activities” were committed either by the actions and or inactions of the aides.
“Consequently, the government has approved a thorough investigation of the activities of all aides of the governor to ensure that normalcy is quickly restored,” Mr Eze said.
“Beginning from Monday 15 August, we shall conduct local government by local government audit of the activities of all political appointees to weed out redundant and unpatriotic office holders,” he said.
Mr Eze did not respond to calls and a text message seeking comments from him on the issue.
But a member of the governor’s media team, who asked not to be named, told PREMIUM TIMES, Wednesday morning, that Mr Ikpeazu was disturbed that some of his social media managers and political aides were supporting candidates from opposition political parties.
He said some of the aides and social media managers are wearing clothes and caps bearing photographs of opposition candidates, saying the action suggests they were no longer working for the governor.
“Since the emergence of the Young Progressive Party and defections of people to different political parties (in the state), it seems that some of our members that are supposed to be working for the governor through the commissioner for information are misbehaving,” he said.
“They are not working according to agreement. You can’t be working in the governor’s media team and also supporting another party,” the source added.
Asked if support for the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, was part of the governor’s grievance, the source said Mr Ikpeazu was only disturbed by actions that could threaten the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Uchenna Ikonne, in 2023 general elections.
“If you are found culpable, it is either they sack you or you resign by yourself and support whoever you want to support. They won’t be paying you monthly salaries and you are supporting another person,” he stated.
Mr Ikpeazu, who would be exiting office as the state governor in 2023, is a member of the PDP.
The governorship candidate of the party in the state, Mr Ikonne, was reportedly picked by the governor as his preferred successor.
Mr Ikonne, 66-year-old professor of optometry, hails from Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area of the state.
He served as a Rector of Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, between 2014 and 2015, and was later appointed Vice-chancellor of Abia State University, Uturu, in 2015.