Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State on Tuesday stunned his audience in Asaba at the swearing-in of five commissioners when he named a replacement for the sitting Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof Patrick Muoboghare after being uncovered as a closet supporter of the governorship bid of David Edevbie.
Muoboghare had been in charge of the ministry since 2019, supervising among other things, the establishment of three new state universities at Agbor, Ozoro and Anwai.
Muoboghare had neither publicly resigned nor sacked by the governor before the swearing-in of the new commissioners as the governor aimed to reconstitute his cabinet following the resignation of some members to pursue political ambitions.
But Okowa who immediately assigned portfolios to the new appointees named Dr Kingsley Ashibuogwu as the new Commissioner for Higher Education to the chagrin of the audience at the capacity-filled Unity Hall, Government House, Asaba.
Others who were sworn in alongside Ashibuogwu include Darlington Ijeh, Commissioner for Human and Community Development; Godfery Enitan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources; Anthony Ofoni, Commissioner for Project Monitoring and Audit; and Mrs Nkechi Chukwurah, Commissioner for Girl Child Entrepreneurship and Development.
Contacted on the phone, Muoboghare simply laugh it off, saying it was the “end of tenure.”
But investigation revealed that Okowa might have axed the commissioner for allegedly fraternizing with Mr David Edevbie in the race for the 2023 governorship election.
Sources hinted that Muoboghare is not on the same page with Okowa on the choice of Mr Sheriff Oborevwori as the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 2023 and the commissioner was rather backing Edevbie.
It was further learnt that the governor has been gathering information on the activities of his commissioners as the 2023 governorship election is concerned to ascertain which of the aspirant they were supporting.
According to the source, the governor has sufficient evidence against Muoboghare that he is secretly on the camp of Edevbie who recently secured an Abuja High Court judgement disqualifying Oborevwori as the candidate of the PDP following discrepancies in his certificates.
Edevbie who came second behind Oborevwori in the May 25 governorship primary, was subsequently declared a candidate of the party by the court.
The matter is at the Court of Appeal in Abuja.