How Ukah Became Information Commissioner: Untold Story
Three months after Xclusive Magazine broke the news, Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has finally appointed Patrick Ukah as a Commissioner. Ukah was sworn in today with 12 other commissioners at the Events Centre, Asaba. (See full list below)
Ukah’s appointment as Information commissioner is a proof that governor Okowa eventually had his way. A source very close to Okowa told Xclusive Magazine on condition of anonymity that the governor had always wanted Ukah as information commissioner, but Ukah’s main sponsor, the Idumeje-Ugboko born Gabriel Ogbechie, the owner of Rain Oil who donated N50m to Okowa for his gubernatorial ambition, and Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, whom governor Okowa had only consulted after he (governor Okowa) had reached agreement with Ogbechie, were pining for Ukah as Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Urban Development portfolio.
These disparate opinions have led to several meetings and a back-and-forth telephone exchanges between governor Okowa and billionaire Ogbechie on the one hand and governor Okowa and Senator Nwoaboshi on the other hand. We were unable to ascertain why Ogbechie and Nwaoboshi desperately wanted Ukah as commissioner for Lands, but Okowa’s main argument is that Ukah with his gentle mien and eloquence in spoken English is a perfect fit for spokesperson. Ukah was a former President of the influential Hockey Federation of Nigeria and already used to dealing with the public and public pressure and criticisms. It was said that Okowa did not want such a great talent to waste by laying fallow in Lands, Survey and Urban Development ministry.
Despite Okowa’s conviction that Ukah was well suited for the position of Commissioner for Information, the buzz around the government house and indeed in Senator Nwaoboshi’s political circle was that Nwaoboshi and Ogbechie already got what they wanted in Ukah as Commissioner for Lands, Survey & Urban Development, and that Okowa was now looking towards Delta South for Commissioner for information as a political strategy to counter Urhobo opposition. What they did not know was that Okowa was merely selling a dummy to them.
The designated portfolios of new Commissioners have always been a closely guarded secret, but Okowa made it so secretive that even his closest aides did not know who will get what, and to the extent that whatever information that came out of the government house regarding who was going to get what portfolio, was mere speculation. Okowa was keeping his joker for the final moments.
The eventual swearing in and appointment of Mr Ukah as a Commissioner from Oshimili North is a vindication of the credibility of a team of investigative reporters of Xclusive Magazine, and its very reliable contacts within the influential circles of Delta State government. We first broke the news that Okowa was to Appoint Ukah as Commissioner from Oshimili North in an exclusive report way back in July 2015.
We then followed it up with another exclusive on 28 August 2015 and consistent that governor Okowa was seriously considering the Okpanam-born sports administrator for either Commissioner for Information or Lands, Survey & Urban Development. In the end, Ukah didn’t get commissioner for Lands, Survey & Urban Development, but he got the Information Commissioner. We can say with every sense of modesty, that Xclusive Magazine was right on target!
Full List of Commissioners Sworn-in Today
- Barr. Peter Mrakpor (Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice);
- Dr Nicholas Azinge (Commissioner for Health);
- Barr. Ernest Ogwezzy (Commissioner for Culture and Tourism);
- Hon. Henry Sakpra (Commissioner for Special Duties, Governor’s Office);
- Mr Mofe Pirah (Commissioner for Oil and Gas);
- Hon. Bright Edejeghro (Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs );
- Hon. Asupa Forteta (Commissioner for Youth Development);
- Chief Dan Okenyi (Commissioner for Lands and Survey);
- Hon. Chika Ossai (Commissioner for Special Duties);
- Mr Oghenekaro Ilolo (Commissioner for Urban Renewal);
- Olorogun David Edevbie (Commissioner for Finance);
- Engr. Jude Sinebe (Commissioner for Higher Education); and
- Mr Patrick Ukah (Commissioner for Information).
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