Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has explained that he appointed Dr. Edward Onyemaechi Ihejirika into his cabinet in deference to the pioneer National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), late Chief Solomon Lar.
Okorocha offered the clarification on Monday at the swearing-in ceremony of his 17 new commissioners at Sam Mbakwe Expanded Executive Council Hall in Owerri.
His explanation came shortly after he sensed apathy from a cross-section of the crowd particularly from indigenes of Ikeduru Local Government Area where Dr. Ihejirika hails from.
The announcement of names of the commissioners had attracted deafening applause from indigenes of their ancestral local government areas but it was a different ball game when the name of Dr. Ihejirika was announced.
The hall was thrown into pitch silence thereby triggering an unsolicited explanation from the governor.
‘I do not know Dr. Ihejirika from Adam,’ Okorocha stated, adding: ‘It was my friend, Chief Solomon Lar who wrote me before his demise that I should try to give his son-in-law a job. My people, this is how this young man came into my cabinet.’
The governor’s explanation added more salt to injury as the people began to murmur. They questioned why a person who neither contributed to Okorocha’s victory nor to the growth of APGA, the governor’s former party was appointed leaving the ones who worked for the governor.
Chief Kyrian Okorie, the APGA flag-bearer in the 2011 House of Assembly poll reportedly stormed out of the hall in annoyance to return to his Port Harcourt base.
An observer told Nigeria Newspoint that the governor’s explanation was unnecessary as nobody asked him for any explanation.
Dr. Ihejirika is said to have been in the United States of America since 2001. He is a kinsman of Dr. Joe Obi-Njoku, the immediate past Commissioner for Health.