[COLUMN] THE FIRING SPIRIT!

By Franklyn Isong

This may be an injury time for the appointees of Governor Udom Emmanuel few days to the end of the administration. Akwa Ibom people were however shocked to read news of sack of the Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Sufficiency, Dr. Uduak Udo-inyang, and suspension of the chairman, Local Government Service Commission, Sir Valentine Attah, by the governor on the social media, few days ago.

The development has sent strong signals that even 24 hours to the end of this administration, anything can still happen o! The governor is active and alive to ensure wrongdoing by his aide(s) is rewarded with immediate sack from the government.

I wouldn’t say, I am delighted over someone’s down fall. I do not celebrate such. Truth is, the governor has woken up. This is better late than never.

I have known Uduak Udo-inyang for decades but, I did not know he was the commissioner-in-charge of the Agriculture and Food Sufficiency in Akwa Ibom state. You can imagine my reactions when I saw his pictures trending on social media as the sacked commissioner.

“Those whose palm-kernels were cracked for them by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble,” Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart. THIS PROVERB MEANS THAT A MAN WHO HAS FOUND SUCCESS AND OVERCOME OBSTACLES WITH THE HELP OF DIVINE INTERVENTION SHOULD DISPLAY HUMILITY.

The above proverb is simply my summary about the suspended chairman of Local Government Service Commission, Valentine Attah.

For the sake of this piece, this is an abridged profile of Val Attah:
In January 1999, he came into limelight under Victor Attah’s administration as a Permanent Secretary; in January 2000 through the state government, he was made the South-South Zonal Advisor of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); in 2005 he was made the Dean, College of Permanent Secretaries in the State; in January 2013, Godswill Akpabio appointed him as the chairman, Akwa Ibom Hospitals Management Board; and in September 2016, Udom Emmanuel appointed him as the Chairman, Local Government Service Commission.

You can see that Val Attah had practically served three successive administrations in the State. It is not that he is the most qualified in the entire population of the State. He was just favoured by God. Val Attah had his ‘palm-kernels cracked for him by a benevolence spirit.’ But he was not humbled. He operated like an emperor in his empire and within the government.

Yes! Emperor, I said! How else would one explains his actions as chairman of the commission? Over the years, I had followed activities of the commission and I think the governor was just too kind. He would have outrightly dissolved the commission and reconstitute it with men and women of proven integrity. Such a commission needs people of honour and with the fear of God.
I am going to wait for the outcome of the committee set up by the governor to investigate the suspended chairman. I don’t want to preempt the committee’s findings and report.

But, trust me, the embattled chairman has so many questions to answer on his running of the commission. Like I said, I have much to talk about the activities of the Local Government Service Commission under Val Attah, but I will rather wait for the government’s committee.

I am not after the job of anybody here. Get me right! If we must move forward as a people and as a State, appointees of government must allow their activities to conform with the policy trust of their appointor, in this case – the State Governor. I will revisit this matter in future.

Meanwhile, this is an injury time for Governor Emmanuel and his appointees. I want to place on record, that the governor has every right to hire and fire any of his appointees whose actions or inactions are against the progress of his government, even 24 hours to the end of his administration.

I rest my case for now!

• Franklyn Isong is a public affairs commentator and conscience of the society

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