Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Former Commissioner for Finance, Abia State, Dr Aham Uko, has revealed why he quit the State Executive Council, saying the Government he served was not willing to adapt to changes and innovations that would have helped in getting the state out of indebtedness.
Uko who made the revelation during a media chat in Umuahia, said he valued his integrity above any other consideration, hence, he decided to throw in the towel.
The former Commissioner said he was totally dissatisfied with the way things were done under the Government he served.
He said he decided to leave when he discovered that the administration was unwilling to follow due process.
The former Commissioner expressed disappointment that the Government rejected innovations he introduced to ensure that backlog of pension arrears were cleared.
He said he decided to quit as he discovered he was alone in the efforts to get things done the right way.
Uko who was highly revered by pensioners for consistent payment of their arrears, said he decided to resign when he noticed that the Government he was trying to help was not ready for any change.
“I resigned because I was dissatisfied with the way things were done. I did everything to correct it but I was one man in the Island without a support. I found myself in a place where everyone did not see and understand what I was seeing.
“So, out of dissatisfaction, discontentment, and disillusionment, I had to leave the stage for them.”
The former Commissioner explained how the Ikpeazu administration frustrated his genuine efforts to clear pension arrears and introduce transparency in the management of the state finances.
Dr. Uko noted that when he came on board, pensions were not paid for several months, but he initiated several modalities aimed at clearing the backlog of their arrears and followed up until some persons in government began to see him as an obstacle that must be taken away.
“I sustained payment of pensioners for upwards of 15 months uninterrupted, and they felt I came to disrupt what they were doing, or their game plan and the cabinet was dissolved.
“I guess that the essence of dissolving the cabinet was to get me off the way, but because of the pressure from the pensioners, I was brought back and retained as the Commissioner for Finance.”
The ex-Commissioner, however, said that during his ‘second missionary journey,’ he was stripped of his authorities and reduced to a mere figure head, a development he found frustrating because of his integrity.
“Because of all these, I started looking for the right time to quit because I tried to make them see reasons for them to do the right things but they refused.”
He insisted that pension and workers’ arrears could be cleared if Government is willing to do the right things.
According to Uko the major problem in the state is the unwillingness of Government to follow due process and restrict itself to financial prudence.
Uko advised the new administration in the state not to follow the old order but chart a new and the right course if it truly wants to make a difference.