By Martin Opara
The saying that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones does not seem to hold water and means nothing to the Auditors General of local governments in Imo State, Barr. Osita Nwosu and his Deputy, Dominic Edomobi as the duo have regrettably resorted to washing their dirty linens in the public, by hauling accusations and counter accusations at themselves.
Reports available to our news desk indicate that Edomobi, who was employed as Auditor II in 1991, was Director of Audit, (local government) when Barr. Nwosu was brought from his duty post as Treasurer of Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area and made the Auditor General for Local Governments by former Governor Okorocha contrary to laid down rules and procedure of the civil service.
According to our source, who pleaded anonymity, “Edomobi is aggrieved because he was the right person to occupy the position of Auditor General for local government then since he was the most senior and the first indigenous officer of the office to have reached the post of Director, since it was created in 1989”.
The source further stated that Nwosu’s elevation to the position of Auditor General from that of Treasurer of Ohaji/Egbema LGA was considered by many as unethical and irregular because, Section 126 (1) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, states that, “the Auditor General of a state shall be appointed by the governor of the state, on the recommendation of the civil service commission, subject to confirmation by the state legislature. In this case, Barr. Nwosu was neither a staff of the office of the Auditor General, nor a staff of the civil service commission rather, a staff of the unified local government system”.
He accused Nwosu “of consistently falsifying his records of service, at will, because, he left his previous duty post to Audit Department without presenting his record of service. This scenario was also replicated when he transferred his services from the Ministry of Commerce and Industries to the local government system. Having perfected this type of movement, he presents any date suitable to him as his date of first employment. Hence he now claims 1989 as his date of first appointment, instead of 20th March 1979, as recorded in the Ministry of Commerce and industries, from where he was transferred to the local government system”. He insisted that Nwosu’s continued stay in service under any guise, is suppressive, restricting and distracting other peoples’ career progression in the civil service.
He recalled that a petition written by some well meaning and concerned people and addressed to the Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly,copied to the governor, did not receive desired attention, because Barr. Nwosu, suppressed it through the instrumentality of the then principal secretary, Dr. Pascal Obi.
The source accused Nwosu of masterminding the undue and wrongful sack of Edomobi from service so that, the coast will be clear for him. “But God in his way of perfecting justice and fairness, used former Governor Emeka Ihedioha to recall him and rectify all anomalies”.
Another source who also pleaded anonymity drew Governor Uzodinma’s attention to the Secretary to the state government’s letter with reference No. SGI/S.0082/V/T/2/X of 11th December 2019 and the Civil Service Commission letter No. CSC/SS. 304/T.5/175 of 13th December 2019 which called for Barr. Nwosu’s retirement from the state civil service with effect from 20th March 2014. They also urged the governor to probe Nwosu’s activities as Head of Salary Verification committee, because salaries were fraudulently padded.
However, responding to the allegations against Nwosu, a source close to him, described the accusations “as baseless and senseless emissions from the warped imagination of disgruntled enemies of progress”.
He stated that, “allegations that Barr. Nwosu has been in service for 41 years is false, frivolous and laughable. For the records, Auditors General retire from service on the attainment of 60 years of age and not after 35 years of service as ignorantly peddled in some quarters. Nwosu would retire from service in June 2020. Governor Uzodinma, however graciously granted him extension of service as reward for his credible, meritorious service, performance, dedication and commitment to duty”.
He accused Edomobi who he said was retired in 2016 after being in service for 35 years of peddling and sponsoring false reports and publications against Nwosu, in his desperate plot to occupy a position he does not deserve”.
According to him, “Edomobi was wrongfully and illegally re-instated by the immediate past administration under questionable circumstances, for political reasons. He is a man of clay feet, who should first remove the mud in his eyes, to enable him have clear vision before talking about the grain in other peoples’ eye”.
He recalled that, “Edomobi was employed on 3rd March 1979, as a Clerical officer on grade level 04 in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. He later secured admission and came back after his studies, to resume work as Auditor II on salary grade level 08 in the office of the Auditor General.
The source further accused Edomobi of falsifying his date of birth. “The birth certificate with which he got his first appointment in 1979, is different from the one he used for his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). “He falsified his date of birth through an affidavit he swore few months after his youth service in 1990 and reduced same to 7th August 1962. We have it on good authority that Edomobi is between 63 and 65 years old and had been in service for 35 years as at March 2014”.