There was controversy in Abuja on Monday over the sudden resignation of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Chief of Staff , Chief Mike Oghiadomhe.
While the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, told State House correspondents that Oghiadomhe quit in order to pursue his political ambition, The PUNCH learnt that Jonathan directed him to do so.
Investigations in Abuja showed that the President ordered Oghiadomhe to resign in order to create a safe landing for him.
It was learnt that the directive was handed over to the former CoS shortly after he attended a meeting of the planning committee of the nation’s centenary celebration inside the Presidential Villa alongside some other top government officials.
Sources in the Villa linked Oghiadomhe’s exit to a breach of protocol reportedly observed in the President’s visit to Sokoto State on Saturday.
Jonathan was in Sokoto to receive a former governor of the state, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, who defected to the Peoples Democratic Party from the All Progressives Congress.
One of the sources said instead of intimating Governor Aliyu Wammako of the President’s visit to the state, Oghiadomhe chose to write his deputy, Alhaji Muktar Shagari.
Oghiadomhe’s decision must have been taken based on the fact that Wammako had last year defected to the APC alongside four other erstwhile PDP governors. His deputy however opted to remain in the PDP.
The source said, “Governor Wammako was not happy with the fact that the President visited his state without informing him.
“The issue was brought to the knowledge of the President and he was angry when he confirmed that the Chief of Staff did not write the governor.
“You will recall that Governor Murtala Nyako personally received the President when he visited Yola, Adamawa State recently despite the fact that he had also left the PDP.
“Although this latest development cannot be taken in isolation of some other lapses that have been recorded against him, you will agree that it was not a good thing for a President, who is still looking at ways of wooing the defected governors back into the PDP.”
Abati, however, told journalists that Oghiadomhe, who was Edo State deputy governor during the administration of Lucky Igbinedion, indicated his desire to resign in a letter dated February 10, 2014.
According to the presidential aide, Oghiadomhe stated in his letter that he was quitting “to pursue other political necessities in our great party(PDP).”
He added that the resignation had nothing to do with what he called the speculations that were being spread online.
Abati said, “There is nothing extensive to say other than to confirm that the Chief of Staff has resigned his appointment and it has nothing to do with the speculation that one online news portal has tried to put out.
“The President received the letter today (Monday) which is titled letter of resignation and it says he wishes to pursue other political necessities in our great party.
“You will recall that about two weeks ago before the President travelled to Ethiopia, he announced in council that if there was any member of the cabinet or any major political appointee who want to pursue some other political roles, that he had been hearing rumours that some people wanted to go and pursue other things in whatever capacity, that such people were going to be engaged heavily in political activities, they should let him know.
“ The President said that if they see that they are going to be really busy, and such activities may occupy their time extraordinarily, they should please step aside or come and see him for discussion.
“That you can confirm. It happened in the open floor of the council. And you can see that what I have pointed out as the reason for the Chief of Staff’s resignation is in line with that.
“So, we find the speculation particularly by some of the online platforms callous, completely unreasonable, considering that this is a man who has served and who had given time and energy to the pursuit of the good interest of our country.
“Mr. President appreciates his contributions and he would like to put on record that indeed he was a man who discharged his responsibilities diligently and the country is very grateful to him and the President personally would like to wish him well in his future endeavours.”
Abati said no replacement had been named.
It will however be recalled that there will be no governorship election in Edo State till 2017 since Governor Adams Oshiomhole started his second term last year.
It is however not clear if Oghiadomhe is planning to contest National Assembly election.
Oshiomhole had had a brief closed- door session with the President ostensibly on the resignation of Oghiadomhe before it was made public.
Oshiomhole told journalists that he wanted to visit Oghiadomhe in his office before he would return to talk to them.
Before the governor arrived in the CoS’s office, Oghiadomhe had left. Oshiomhole did not return to talk to journalists.
There was however jubilation among workers in the Villa as the news of the CoS exit filtered in.
Another source told our correspondent that Oghiadomhe started packing his personal belongings from his office over the weekend, an indication that he saw his removal coming.
The PUNCH had reported exclusively on January 28 that government officials with political ambitions had been advised to resign latest by the end of February.