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Gov. Obaseki yet to appoint commissioners 9 months after inauguration

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State is yet to appoint commissioners nine months into his second tenure in the state.

This development is reportedly generating mixed reactions in the state.

Governor Obaseki was sworn in for a second term, on November 12, 2020, but nine months after, he is yet to appoint commissioners and other aides.

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Following the squabble between him and his predecessor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Governor Obaseki, who was first elected in 2016 on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the build to the 2020 governorship election in the state.

He was disqualified during the screening of governorship aspirants for the 2020 governorship election over discrepancies in his certificate in APC.

So far, the governor has only appointed the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and his Chief of Staff.

Shortly after he was sworn in, the governor said he would only appoint people who were ready to serve and work with him.

A 15-man committee was constituted by the governor to screen political nominees for his cabinet. In the end, 129 commissioners, 113 and 576 Senior Special Assistants (SSAs) and Special Assistants (SAs) nominees were screened respectively.

Residents and political observers are of the view that the absence of commissioners and other aides is affecting governance in the state.

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While some were blaming the governor for the development, others said the delay was a result of the infighting in the PDP. The fight is between the governor’s camp and old members of the party.

Speaking on the development, a resident, Dada Ayokhai, described the situation as ‘unfortunate’, saying it was negatively affecting governance in the state.

“It is really unfortunate that some state governors have suddenly taken the issue of appointment of commissioners as a personal matter which they have absolute power to decide on whether they are needed or not.

“The governor has been awarding contracts without state executive approval and this is a criminal offence according to the constitution,” he said.

Also speaking, another resident, Tony Abolo, said the development has become a disgrace to the state.

“People were thinking the delay was to enable him to assemble good hands but it is long overdue. This was how we waited for President Buhari for several months and by the time he gathered his appointees, it was nonsense,” he said.

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bright Omorogieva, said appointing commissioners and other aides was a constitutional matter.

In the words of Omorogieva, “It is not good not to appoint commissioners and other aides after almost one year in office. He needs more hands to be able to work.

“If the governor has issues with his party, he should discuss with the leaders and constitute a cabinet. I am an APC member. I think he should listen to leaders to get good advisers,” the party chieftain said.

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On his part, the Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Chris Nehikhare, said there was no cause for alarm and that the Governor Obaseki-led government was on course.

He said the cabinet would be formed as soon as reforms being put in place take effect.

A member of the PDP, who craved not to be named, said most party members are not happy with the development.

“We have no option but to wait for him. We all work for him so it is also good for us to also participate in the governance of the state,” he said.