Our reporter/ The Governor of Abia State, His Excellency Dr. Alex Otti OFR, has described the Permanent Secretaries in the State’s civil service as the engine room of government.
Governor Otti, who was sworn in on Monday May 29, 2023, as the fifth democratically elected Governor of Abia said it was as a result of this understanding that he decided to hold his first meeting as governor with the permanent secretaries.
Consequently, the governor demanded transparency in the conduct of government business from the ministries chief executives, who he directed to take charge until a new set of commissioners are appointed by the new government.
Addressing the senior civil servants on Tuesday at the Michael Okpara Auditorium, Library Road, Umuahia, Governor Otti congratulated them for their continued service to the state but warned them against undermining the new government.
“I want to congratulate all of us for the transitioning to a new administration. Every four years election happen and winners get sworn in. In most places, those who lost become opposition. So, being that we’re all winners, I believe that we won’t have opposition. But just in case there’s opposition, it is also part of governance and democracy, the governor was quoted to have said, according to a statement by his press secretary, Kazie Ukoh.
“We welcome opposition. Constructive engagement is also welcome. Disagreeing with us is part of the business. You can never know it all. If you have an opinion feel free to express it.
“I must tell you that you’re the engine room of the government and that’s why I thought that the first meeting that I will hold will be with all of you.
“I do know that a lot of you would have different political persuasions and alliances and allegiance, that is not a problem. But what will be the problem is if you begin to undermine the government that you serve and when we notice that, we will not waste time to act because this is a government that must work and anything that stands in the way, we will get it out.
“We will not witch-hunt people and we will not deal with people because of their persuasions, whether it is ethnic, religious and all that. At the end of the day, it is the interest of the state that is paramount.”
Dr. Otti, consequently, directed the permanent secretaries to begin to perform the functions of commissioners pending when a new set is appointed by the state governor.
“You will begin to function as commissioners until new commissioners are appointed. I’m sure you understand what I’m saying, that is, that government is a continuum. So ensure you take over and begin to run your different ministries and by the time new commissioners come, you will handover to them.
“I believe some of you were there yesterday when I made my inauguration speech. Everything that I said there, I mean them from A-Z. So things will begin to change.
“This is a familiarisation meeting, where I will listen to you and get to understand what you do; get to understand how you do it and any help or support you require,” he declared.
The permanent secretaries, who were led by the Head of Service of the state, Sir Onyii Nwama, to the meeting attended by the Deputy Governor of the State, Engr Ikechukwu Emetu, and some team members of the new government, congratulated Dr. Otti on his inauguration and successful assumption of office.