nday The impeached Deputy Governor of Enugu State, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi, has reacted to his redeployment to the State Civil Service by Governor Sullivan Chime, saying it was intended to either insult or humiliate him.
He confirmed that a letter of redeployment was delivered to his residence on Tuesday posting him to the office of the Secretary to State Government, SSG, as Deputy Director and directing him to handover to the new Deputy Governor on or before Monday, September 8, 2014.
The former deputy was impeached by the State House of Assembly over a week ago for rearing chickens in Government House and refusing to represent Gov. Chime at public functions, an act the lawmakers considered to be gross misconduct.
But Onyebuchi, who spoke with newsmen in Enugu yesterday, described his purported redeployment as a joke, saying if those behind it had checked the records, they would have known that he had formally resigned from the civil service before he was picked as running mate to Mr. Chime in 2007.
According to him, “When I got the information, I felt it was a joke or something just intended to insult and humiliate me. I can’t imagine what they intend to achieve by this. After serving as deputy governor for seven years and three months, I will go back to office as a civil servant on Level 15.
“I know they have not forgotten that I left the civil service as Permanent Secretary and before I became commissioner.
“While I was serving as a commissioner, I took a leave of absence that enabled me serve out my appointment as a commissioner. Preparatory to my nomination to run for election as deputy governor in 2007, I formally disengaged from the State Public Service both as civil servant and as a commissioner and that is what made me eligible to contest election because it is known that you cannot contest election while holding a public office in Nigeria.
“We all know that you cannot ask for leave of absence to join a political party and you can also not ask for a leave of absence to contest election because to contest election you must belong to a political party. So, I never applied for a leave of absence to contest election as a Deputy Governor because that will be against the law”.
Speaking on how the reinstatement issue came about, Onyebuchi said: “Having left office as a deputy governor, I never applied to anybody for a reinstatement as a civil servant because I have disengaged from the civil service. They tend to forget that if I did not resign before my nomination that means that my name was still in the nominal roll of the civil service and that will also mean that I was not qualified to contest the election.
“But they are aware that I contested election in 2007 and also contested in 2011 and if I was still a civil servant, either on leave of absence or in whatever capacity, it means that the ticket and the platform under which I contested with my boss, the governor, was faulty and invalid but I do not believe it was so because the opposition and those who lost the election would have used it as basis to appeal against our election. So it is very clear that the report of my posting or redeployment is either a joke or something intended to make mischief, either by a way of insult or humiliation”.
“It is not a question of whether I rejected the posting, there is no basis for it having disengaged from the service formally before I was nominated.
“So I want to put the record straight that I am not rejecting posting because there was no civil service appointment to go back to and there is nothing I forgot in the civil service that I want to go and pick up”, he added.