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Intrigues as Onwenu resists handover


*Smooth change of baton at BPP
* Onaiyekan opposes appointments based on politics

INTRIGUES, power play and ethnic and religious sentiments have trailed the sacking of heads of about 26 agencies. Some directors in some of the affected bodies have been bickering over seniority.

In one of such agencies, the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD), the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Jummai Alhassan had to intervene to avert an impending riot by workers when the former Director General, Lady Onyeka Onwenu, refused to hand over to the next most senior officer.

A source at the NCWD said Onwenu arrived at the office on Tuesday and convened a management meeting, claiming her appointment was still valid until officially served with a letter to the contrary.

But the minister, Alhassan in a letter on Tuesday afternoon, directed Onwenu, to avoid controversy and hand over to the most senior ranking officer who happened to be Abdulmalik Dauda.

Speaking to The Guardian, Dauda said: “She maltreated me for more than a year and I didn’t take action so I believe she was not comfortable to face me and hand over. She refused to hand over appropriately, directly to me but she has sent a copy. The correct thing would have been to sit down, sign together.”

But in her response, through text messages, Onwenu alleged plans by the Hausa/Fulani workers at the centre to harm her.

Onwenu, in a text message to the minister’s Special Assistant(SA) by 6:38 p.m., said all management staff were in her office for the hand-over but that the alleged planner of the riot, a former acting director general, who she alleged had tried to destabilise the centre since she assumed office was there with thugs.

Meanwhile, Catholic Archbisop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan has condemned situations where appointments into government agencies would be made based on political considerations which invariably lead to intrigues and suspicions.

The intrigues and power play have emerged even as Minister of Information and Culture , Lai Mohammed told a
a journalist who protested that he restricted his press conference on Monday to matters of insurgency rather than commenting on reasons why those under him were sacked, Mohammed said: “I called this press conference and I have a message to give you, on insurgency. If you want to talk about those who were sacked, you call me. I called you this morning.”

But right in Mohammed’s ministry, some executive directors at a prominent television station were said to be resisting the handover to one of their own who is a journalist.

In the Bureau of Public Enterprises, there were similar undercurrents among directors over who should take over.

It was gathered that where the dividing lines among directors were not so prominent, ethnic and religious cards were being thrown in by some to upstage others.

But elsewhere, such as the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) it has been largely a peaceful transition .