Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has sacked his Personal Assistant, Tijani Nwadei, and a Special Adviser on Skills Development, Mrs. Dare Ukinebo, over alleged financial misappropriation and fraudulent practices, according to trusted government house sources.
Global Times learnt that the development is not unconnected to the governor’s Edo Jobs program which critics say is a failure as a result of alleged financial misappropriation by Ukinebo, who doubles as coordinator.
The Delta-born Tijani Nwadei, has been at the center of series of allegations of fraud and illegal kickback deals with firms contracted by the Edo State Government to execute projects after a “sudden accumulation of wealth” following his appointment by Obaseki in 2016.
It was alleged that Tijani used his close relationship with Obaseki as PA to subdue other senior government officials, both elected and appointed, and secure contractual deals for selected firms in exchange for undocumented rewards.
This reportedly led to an exchange of blows between him and Obaseki’s cousin, Mandela Obaseki, last year at the government house when the governor’s sibling, confronted Tijani over his influence and favoring of other friends and individuals in corrupt deals.
Global Times recalls that in an explosive Facebook post, Mandela gave hints to his conflict with Tijani and affirmed the “cronyism and corruption” have consumed the ‘embattled’ governor’s administration.
Mrs. Dare Ukinebo, on her part was fired for poorly managing the Edo Jobs initiative designed to help the Obaseki government achieve its target of 200,000 jobs promised during the 2016 campaigns.
The initiative was marred by allegations of nepotism, diversion of budgeted funds, and poor execution of trainings and programs.
“Safe to say it failed broadly in its job creation mandate and contributed to the angst against the Obaseki-administration.
“Both aides of the governor were eased of their duty quietly to avoid media scrutiny into the events that led to their ouster,” a source told Global Times.
“The governor specifically declared his Personal Assistant, Tijani persona non grata, banning him from his official and private residence,” the source added.
Recall that Obaseki’s Chief of Staff, Taiwo Akerele, recently resigned his position citing differences in principles and alluding to the fact that the duties of his office have been hijacked by other figures in the administration who were bent on punishing him for advising against the drawn-out war the governor declared against his predecessor and National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole.
The continuous sackings and political jostling in the Obaseki-administration have reportedly distracted it from the management of COVID-19 in the state as the number of confirmed cases continues to soar, with 67 so far confirmed by NCDC.