Controversy Arises Over Appointment of Ex-Convict as Aba South Transition Council Chairman(Evidence) | #NwokeukwuMascot
The decision by Abia state Governor, Dr Alex Otti, to appoint Uche Wogu as the Transitional Council Chairman of Aba South Local Government Area has been met with criticism from the Abia State Chapter of the People's Democratic Party (PDP). In a press statement, signed by Hon. Abraham Amah, Abia PDP Vice Chairman/Acting State Publicity Secretary, the party calls on Otti to reconsider the appointment due to Wogu's past conviction for financial crimes in the United Kingdom.
Uche Wogu, who was recently sworn in as the council chairman, served a two-year jail term for his involvement in a scheme that saw him illegally obtain more than £6000 of housing and council tax benefits from Enfield Borough Council in North London. The conviction was widely reported by the BBC News Service and the Guardian Newspapers of London on October 13, 2004.
The incident, as per the reports, revealed that Wogu, then working as a financial manager at Learning Trust, which oversaw Hackney's education services, conspired with a debt-ridden police officer, Kurtis Nwadika-Jonathan, in an attempt to defraud money intended for the education of underprivileged children whose parents couldn't afford necessary fees.
The Abia PDP further expressed concern over the decision to place an ex-convict in such a position of authority. They argue that this choice calls into question Otti's judgment and raises doubts about his commitment to good governance and the rule of law. The party contends that individuals with criminal records should not be entrusted with public responsibilities, especially those involving financial matters.
The Abia PDP demands that Otti reconsider Wogu's appointment and take immediate steps to rectify what they consider a grave error in judgment. The press statement titled "ALEX OTTI SHOULD RECONSIDER HIS APPOINTMENT OF AN EX-CONVICT, UCHE WOGU AS ABA SOUTH TRANSITION COUNCIL CHAIRMAN", the party asserts that Otti is sending a message that it is acceptable for public officials to engage in illegal activities and that there are no consequences for such actions by appointing an individual with a criminal history.
The statement reads in full: “The attention of the Abia PDP has been drawn to the conviction for financial crimes in the United Kingdom of Mr. Uche Wogu, who was appointed and sworn in recently by Alex Otti as the Transitional Council Chairman of Aba South Local Government Area. Wogu served a two-year jail term for an offence that involved more than £6000 of housing and council tax benefits from Enfield Borough Council, North London.
“According to the BBC News Service and the Guardian Newspapers of London of Wednesday October 13, 2004, Uche Wogu who served as a financial manager at Learning Trust which runs Hackney's education services was busted alongside a debt-ridden police officer, Kurtis Nwadika-Jonathan for trying to fleece money meant for the education of under-privileged children whose parents could not afford to work and pay for their children’s care. Officer Kurtis Nwadika-Jonathan was similarly sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.
“Abia PDP finds it curious that Alex Otti would appoint persons into the high offices, especially that of a Local Council Chief, the tier of government closest to the people without running proper security checks on them. We had expected as Alex Otti boasted, to see his picks for offices come from the communion of saints who had been sanctified holy and worthy to deliver the much-touted good governance which Abains are yet to see six months down the line.
“Recall that Alex Otti had boasted that his choice of TC Chairmen would be accomplished billionaires and men of integrity who had worked an honest path in life to get to the top and would therefore not be interested in pilfering public funds. The appointment of Uche Wogu is an exception to his self-made rule.
“And to our utter disappointment, he picked a man who had betrayed the public trust reposed in him in a very closely monitored system like the United Kingdom by seeking to shortchange under-privileged children and deny them the education that would set them forth on the great journey through life. If a man can plan to deprive children of a future given, taken for granted and secured by society through quality education, then our imagination that he would fritter public money in this clime is just stating the obvious.
“We use this opportunity to call on Alex Otti to review the appointment of Mr. Uche Wogu and have a rethink about retaining him as the Transitional Council Chairman for Aba South Local Government Area because he has shown himself as a public enemy before and there is no guarantee that he would not display his true colours again once an opportunity presents itself.
“We call on the good people of Aba South to reject being supervised by an ex-convict because it is morally wrong given his antecedents as one who once fleeced the public and has not lost the capacity to embark on a similar journey. PDP - Power to the People!.”
As of now, there has been no official response or comment from either Otti or Wogu regarding the allegations and the PDP's statement. The Abia PDP's stance on the matter suggests that the controversy surrounding Wogu's appointment is likely to continue until a resolution is reached. The focus now shifts to Otti and whether he will stand by his decision or reconsider based on the concerns raised by the Abia PDP.