palpable tension mounts in the Imo State civil service with top civil servants steadily appealing to the Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma to restore as a matter of urgency the seniority in the service as approved by the civil service rules or watch hopelessly to witness the state total collapse of the service like packs of cards.
Facts available to us indicate that the short-lived administration of Emeka Ihedioha really circumvented the seniority order in a clear bid to impose his inlaw from Ikeduru, Dr Chibuzor Iwuagwu as Head of Service (HOS) over and above other Permanent Secretaries and his contemporaries against civil service rules and regulations.
Investigations revealed that through a letter dated 27th May 2019, with reference No SGI/S.0061/S.3/125, signed by the then Secretary to Government of Imo State, Hon (Chief) Mark Uchendu under Rochas Okorocha, Dr C.C Iwuagwu who was barely 7th in the hierarchy ranking of the service, was after all appointed Head of Service by Emeka Ihedioha above others.
It was also discovered that apart from Arma Eluwa, Barrister A.C Otuokere, CC Aharanwa and Mrs S.N Udokwu, all of whom have now retired, there were Barrister Chris Duru, Barr R.O Ucheoma and Mr Ifeanyi John Uzoma in that order of seniority whereas C.C Iwuagwu the 4th in the order was obviously and unduly imposed on his seniors
In a seperate memo written in February 2020 with reference No SGI/S.0061/S.3/126 and signed by Chief Cosmas Iwu thus placing Iwuagwu far above Dr Duru, Barr Ucheoma Raymond and Ifeanyi Uzoma who are conspicuously his seniors in the service.Though it was later discovered that neither the governor,Senator Hope Uzodinma nor the SSG,Cosmus Iwu were aware of the obvious injustice meted out on these senior civil servants.
Some top civil servants who spoke to our reporter on condition of anonymity observed that for a Governor who has severally said he will return seniority to civil service appears not ready to match his words with action. The action of confirming Dr C.C Iwuagwu as Head of Service was therefore a total disservice and under-serving hence their call for an immediate reversal or risk destroying the Imo civil service permanently.
One of them said that if the Governor as a matter of urgency does not address the obvious injustice done by Emeka Ihedioha in his bid to appropriate the civil service, the civil service will collapse like the 8 storey building at Yar’Adua Drive in Owerri.
One if the directors(namewitheld) who also spoke to our reporter affirmed that seniority in service is synonymous with experience and as respected as appointment in civil service “whoever merits the appointment should get it, even if it is one month to retirement age”.
The Director while speaking further stated that since the creation of Imo State, seniority has always been respected and maintained in the appointments of Heads of Service (HOS) except during ex-governor Achike Udenwa’s regime, when one Mr Bonny Onwu from Orlu was appointed far and above Dr (Mrs) Agatha Ndukwu, who was his senior in service and this created crisis in the service and dented the image of Udenwa’s administration throughout his eight years two term tenures that was bloody and crisis ridden.
This was however corrected by Ohakim who latter appointed Mrs Ndukwu from Mbaise and returned seniority in the service until Ihedioha came on board and imposed his inlaw from Ikeduru, Dr C.C Iwuagwu as Head of Service.
He further averred that the current Head of Service is not a seasoned administrator which is why there is sustained confusion in the list of civil servants in the state. They are in charge of processing names of retirees and have continued to falter thereby having bloated pensioners and ghost pensioners in an unending verification.
“A seasoned Head of Service would have addressed all these injustices, the present Head of Service, Dr C.C Iwuagwu cannot extricate himself from blames and indictment over the prevailing mess in the service as consultants make use of list from the Head of Service”,he stated.