The Chief of Staff,
RE – ISSUES ON LEADERSHIP FOR ANAMBRA STATE CAMPAIGNS RAISED IN YOUR TEXT MESSAGE OF 13TH JANUARY 2015.
Your message on the above subject received via phone text message in the late hours of Tuesday 13th January came as a shock to me. It fuelled the speculation that either the Chief of Staff has failed to understand the peculiar difficulties I have been operating under which appear to be designed specifically to make me fail or is feigning ignorance of the circumstances as a member of the State Exco. I have quietly borne this burden alone, however I give glory to God who prompted you to send the text message on 13th January thereby creating an opportunity for me to express these issues that are threatening the Office of the Special Adviser (Political) to HE.
Most respectfully Sir, I crave your indulgence to make this lengthy reply to your text message as the volume of the issues I wish to raise cannot be contained in a mere text message.
1. At the inception of this administration, I was appointed a Special Adviser to the Governor, His Excellency Chief Willie Obiano on Political Matters (SA, Political) which is a mandate to advise and report to him directly.
Understandably, he also appointed other Senior Special Assistants and Special Assistants (SSAs & SAs) on Political Matters. In a similar vein, they are scheduled to report directly to His Excellency. There was never a time these other appointees in the political realm reported to me as their leader nor was I ever expectant that they would do so. Instead, they properly report to the Government through Your Honour, the Chief of Staff as the dictates of their appointments demand. You may also recall that at Exco a decision was taken that all SSAs and SAs should not report to the Commissioner but to the Chief of Staff and it is only His Excellency and the Chief of Staff who can give them specific assignments and roles to play in the Government.
In the office of the Special Adviser (Political), there is no supporting staff of secretary, clerk or administrative assistants nor office equipment to enable me to perform maximally. The Office is designed to be a one-man show whose only business is the ‘ear’ of the Governor when and as required by him or as he directs. Sir, I therefore see no reason why [should agree that there is a ‘gapping hole’ in my leadership of SSAs and SAs as the Special Adviser (Political).
2. Your Honour, I wish to point out the gradual diminution and shrinking of the duties and services of the Special Adviser (Political) to His Excellency. You may recall that a pre-election Political Committee was set up at the State Exco. Not only were my opinions not sought on such significant political issues but I was totally excluded from the membership of the Committee, instead the Honourable Commissioner for Utilities, Prince Chinedu Emeka was made to chair a Committee directly within my portfolio.
Before then Your Honour, Political Liaison Officers were appointed at the Local Government level. Suffice it to say that the manner in which they were selected of which you were aware was in total disregard to the Office of the Special Adviser (Political) to His Excellency and these are officers that I am meant to work in tandem with so as to ensure that our great Party APGA is in total control in the State even to the last level at the grassroots. I have also been made to understand as events unfolded that they were mandated not to report to me. So, what team does the Special Adviser (Political) to His Excellency have? What team is he expected to lead in the campaigns?
Again Your Honour, you are aware that for the past 10 months I have sought audience with His Excellency, the executive Governor of Anambra State to dialogue and brief him on my areas of coverage. He has not obliged me, instead he would prefer to call me out in meetings not to listen to me but to chastise me.
Till date, the Government is yet to release my schedule of duties as promised to all political appointees while others have received theirs.
3. Your Honour, the text message I received from you alludes to my absence at public functions as one of the pointers to my lack of ‘leadership’ to my team. You may not be aware that at Government public functions I have been treated with ignominy and humiliation. A case in point is the Flag-off of the Flyover at Arroma Junction. I was there on time, got seated only to be told after a long while to vacate the seat for a Commissioner and by then there were no other seats left. I had to stand behind in the crowd until a traditional ruler offered to stand while I take his seat. Of course, I refused and stood until the function ended. If you were in my shoes Your Honour, how would you feel being treated like this by a Government that you helped to enthrone, would you still be encouraged to attend public functions where you will be humiliated and dehumanised? This aspect I have taken as an irony of life which I must not allow to consume me.
4. Your Honour, you may recall that a meeting was convened by His Excellency at the Lodge as a result of rumours and false allegations against me concerning the political activities and stakeholders in my Local Government Area, His Excellency said he had no more jobs for me. Also recall that I debunked all those hearsays right there in the presence of all and you were then mandated to investigate the allegations and come up with a report that would settle all the issues at stake. Till date Your Honour, the report is still being awaited by all in my LGA and elections are fast approaching and this may have repercussions on the fortunes of our great Party in the Local Government.
Ostensibly, I wonder if the allegations and non-release of the awaited report was intentional so as to justify my exclusion from all primaries of our great Party as I was neither a part of the planning nor implementation of the processes. However, kindly note that all the SSAs and SAs I was supposed to provide ‘leadership’ to were all assigned various tasks as these political processes were going on!
Your Honour, you can now see clearly the difficulty I am experiencing in leading or participating in campaigns in the State. The SSAs and SAs are more conversant with the candidates that are being projected and the processes that brought them to fore while the Political Adviser (HE) is left out in the cold. All I have gotten is my inclusion into the President’s Campaign Team which I do really appreciate as I believe it’s a result of the hard work and political wisdom of His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano in supporting the President’s re-election bid. That notwithstanding, it again appears as a move calculated to edge me out of the State political machinery and activities reaffirming my suspicions that I have been adjudged as being good to serve in campaigns but not for benefits accruing from winning the elections.
5. Your Honour, you rightly observed that I travel for medicals. However, recall Sir that my absence from the State at all instances (twice so far and which is supposed to be every four months for two years) were health-related for my eyes and I sought permission for all my trips. Interestingly however, I had to sell one of my car to one of the SSA’s to be able to afford the last trip underlining the importance of the check-ups. Again, it speaks volumes of the level of treatment being meted out to the Director Genera I of the campaign that enthroned this administration.
6. Your Honour, I have taken pains to explain all these to you so that you can rightly judge if I deserve the negative impressions and judgement which has been my lot in recent times and which formed the bedrock of your observations and consequently your text message. This is a Government I helped to travail until it was given birth to. As the DG of Willie Obiano Campaign only God knows the degree of hard work I put in, the enmity and insults I incurred not just in the State where the Labour Unions put up scurrilous write ups against me because they said I was trying to enthrone a continuum of a labour-unfriendly government but also nationally if you may recall the debates especially the one of Channels TV between Charles Amilo and I, and of course globally where I was taken to the cleaners in the social media all because I was the Director General of the Campaign. I hurt friends, kinsmen and professional colleagues to ensure that I deliver my candidate. I also guaranteed directly for the former Governor contributions totalling N2.75b from friends and associates who needed my imprimatur before they can assist the erstwhile Governor with loans/funds for the election. I also contributed seven vans to the campaign. We won. What did a man who put in so much get? What was my reward for all these? Humiliation. Dehumanisation. Side-lining. Neglect.
7. Your Honour, I was demoted from the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism to Special Adviser (Political) now without a defined schedule of duties with those under me being given the leverage to ignore me and take over the roles I should play. Here I am, the one that all and sundry have trampled upon and I have not complained because of my faith in God believing and trusting that the righteous shall not go unrewarded and where there is life, there is hope. I thought that my plight would be appreciated by people with discernment and understanding, instead I am now ‘forced’ to bare my wounds, slights and hurts so that all may see.
8. Having considered all the above, I find myself at a total loss at deciphering what leadership I am expected to give and to who – people who have been given schedule of duties while I have none? Appointees who are mandated to ignore me and to perform their duties without recourse to the Special Adviser (Political)?
Your Honour, I believe you are now in a better position to straighten out all the above issues so that all the appointees in the Political Matters Unit will perform their duties better which would go on to yield a bountiful harvest for our great Party in this election year.
9. Your Honour, for the records I would wish you to know that ab-initio I was not a member of APGA, rather I was a POP top ranking member in Anambra State and founding member too. My stint with APGA came as a result of my being loaned to work as Peter Obi’s Director of Operations/Communications during his 2010 re-election campaign bid after obtaining clearance from the Presidency. Thereafter, I returned to POP and was made State Deputy Chairman until July 2012. It was the success of that assignment that engendered my appointment as a Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism in the last lap of his administration and the subsequent insistence that I manage the Willie Obiano Governorship campaign as the Director General.
Maybe this my background is the reason why I have been totally excluded from APGA/Party events in this administration as opposed to what used to be my role in the past within the Party (even as a Commissioner). Otherwise how can –
a. Liaison Officers be appointed without my input and knowledge?
b. A political support group Join Jonathan Journey (JJJ) be formed by the Party without my knowledge?
c. I be excluded from all political meetings so far called in the State since the inception of this administration?
d. Three political APGA rallies be held in the State without my input or knowledge?
e. Party primaries held in the State and even in my ward/LGA consciously and totally excluding any input from me?
f. APGA convention held and hosted in the State without my knowledge and input?
g. Political LG tours undertaken in the State without my being carried along?
Your Honour, these are but some of my experiences which when juxtaposed with your text message will help you understand my predicaments. No officer can command an army which does not know or acknowledge him. One cannot lead an election campaign for candidates which do know him or which he was not of the process that brought up their candidature. Maybe that is the reason why our great Party APGA knowing that I led the campaigns as Director General that produced the present Governor feel that I cannot lead in campaigns for lesser offices. I believe that our great Party is entitled to that opinion. I remain,
Chief (Barr.) Joemartins Uzodike FCAI FCIPR
Special Adviser (Political) to His Excellency