In Imo State, Governor Rochas Okorocha has appointed his sister as the Commissioner for Happiness and Couples’ Fulfilment.
At a ceremony in Owerri, the state capital, on Monday, Mr. Okorocha administered the oath of office to Ogechi Ololo (Nee Okorocha) and 27 others in a cabinet reshuffle.
Mrs. Ololo is expected to keep her initial appointment as the Deputy Chief Of Staff (Domestic and International Matters).
Mrs. Ololo is the first commissioner at the newly-created Ministry of Happiness and Couples’ Fulfilment.
“I want to remind all of you that this appointment is not business as usual,” Mr. Okorocha admonished the new appointee according to details of the event circulated by Sam Onwuemeodo, the chief press secretary to the governor.
“We shall not tolerate any sharp practice or corruption of any type. Neither shall we accept indolence or laziness.
“You have been called to duty to help us achieve our vision in the Rescue Mission Project,” the governor added.
The appointments come weeks after the governor was criticised for mounting statues for South African President Jacob Zuma and other controversial personalities on the continent.
It was not immediately clear if there’s any anti-nepotism law in Imo State which the appointment could breach, but critics say they’re hardly surprised.
“Governor Rochas Okorocha has brought government and governance to great height of public nuisance and ridicule,” said Cyril Njoku, a blogger based in Owerri.
Mr. Njoku told PREMIUM TIMES he was at the ceremony on Monday, and the announcement made him put together a few instances of Mr. Okorocha appointing family members to government position.
“His Son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, is the Chief of Staff. His wife, Nkechi Rochas Okorocha, is the Chairman of Imo Amnesty Committee with a huge budget.
“His father-in-law and the current Minister of State for Education, Anthony Anwuka, was the former Secretary to Imo State Government,” Mr. Njoku said.
Reached for comments Tuesday morning, Mr. Onwuemedo told PREMIUM TIMES there was no immediate reaction to the allegations, promising to get back with a reponse later.
The 27 other commissioners sworn-in and their portfolios are:
Nnamdi Obiaraeri, Information; Ugochi Nnana–Okoro, Agric. and Food Security; Gertrude Oduka, Primary and Secondary Education; Jones Uzoka, Niger Delta Affairs; Uchendu Chijioke Mark, Public Utilities; Gerald Okolie, Rural Development and Cyril Okafor, Tourism.
Others include: Emmanuel Umunnakwe Ojinere, Trade and Investment; Lasbery Anyanwu, Transport; Onwueyiagwu Valentine, Youth Development; Ngozi Njoku, Gender and Social Development; Josephine Udoji, Works; Achilike Nwawuike, Internal Resources and Pension Matters; Emenalo Chizoba, Tertiary Education; Nwamerenini Chukwuka, Labour; Iyke Njoku, Planning, Budget and Statistics; Emma Ibediro, Local Government; Obinna Mbata, Finance; Martin Ohiri, Sports; Mgbeanulu Obinna, Environment and Natural Resources; Emma Buka Iwuanyanwu, Science and Technology and Vocational Education; Angela Uwakwem, Health.
The rest are: Joy Mbawuike, Informal Sector and Market Development; Tony Umezuruike, Housing; Chidi Nwaturuocha, Public Safety; Hon Dr. Ernest Nwigbo, Inter-Government Affairs & Donor Agencies; Hon Duru Okechukwu, CGC and Traditional Affairs; Emeka Benjamin, Special Duties and Kingsley Uju, Supervisory Commissioner Ministry of Land and Chairman Bureau for Land.
All the new appointees are to work as if their appointments would only last for a few weeks, Mr. Onwuemeodo said.