The Ministry of Labour and Employment has denied media reports that Sen. Chris Ngige was booed at the South East zonal town hall meeting, which held in Enugu yesterday.
A statement by the Deputy Director, Press in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Samuel Olowookere said the report was a deliberate misrepresentation of a very successful town hall meeting during which the Federal Government team took time to explain in-depth to the people of the zone, its challenges and roadmap to rebuilding Nigeria.
The Ministry also said that Sen. Ngige being a key Minister, reputable and courageous politician from the zone made no pretences in disclosing the ‘mind,’ the inner workings of the present administration and was also courageous in defending its actions:
“Of course, the issue of national appointment is such a sensitive one and more often than not, loosen emotions. The Igbo is assertive, cognitive, hard working and independent minded. They are republicans! But placed against the unfortunate prevailing ethos of self pity which Ngige severely cautioned against in Enugu, it is not out of place to see some nod against his explanations on the appointments so far made by the President. But certainly, he was not booed. The Igbo will disagree but will definitely not heckle at his leader. This is our tradition and is yet to be eroded.”
“The Minister took on cardinal national issues and deconstructed same to his people vis-a-vis the policy and actions of the present administration. He spoke of state creation which the people of his zone honestly and justifiably crave, constitutional conferences – Abacha (1995) Obasanjo (2004) Jonathan (2014) their recommendations and handicaps, restructuring and of course, the recipe for the strategic repositioning of the South East zone.”
According to the statement, “the delicate issue of federal appointments will expectedly rattle the wasp’s nest. As a former chief executive of a state in a presidential system, Ngige explained that appointment of personal staff ranging from Chief of Staff, Principal Secretary among others, was the prerogative of the CEO and most often were jobs given to die hard loyalists.”
“He similarly explained that professionalism was the core issue always considered in the appointment of service chiefs. That some disagreed with the Minister’s position on this issue does not in any way translate to being booed. In fact, the President of the Ohaneze Youth Council, Okechukwu Isiguzoro while speaking on behalf of Igbo youths commended Sen. Ngige for his courage and forthrightness in saying the truth as it is to Ndigbo,” the Ministry added.