By Henry Akubuiro
The Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI) has affirmed that the poor performance of Dr. Fabian Okonkwo, who was relieved of the position of Overseeing Director General of Projects Development Institute (PRODA), Enugu, on Tuesday, January 25, 2020, after 13 months in office has vindicated the Union’s stance.
A statement issued in Abuja on Thursday, January 27, 2022, by the Secretary General of ASURI, Dr. Theophilus Ndubuaku, said the Union had made a call for the removal of the Chief Executive within two months of his appointment, alleging that he wasn’t well fitted for the office.
Okonkwo, Director, Electrical Power and Electronics Development (EPED) in the Institute, was appointed to oversee affairs of PRODA on December 7, 2021. However, a three-page letter with which he was relieved of the job, dated 21st January 2022 with Reference No. FMSTI/HM/2021/005/III, says: “Consequent upon the numerous allegations levied against you and in line with the principles of natural justice, it has become expedite for you to step aside as the Overseeing Director General of PRODA to allow further, thorough and fair investigation to be carried out.
“You are directed to immediately hand over to Dr. Arit Beka Etukudo, the next most Senior Director to you on the Nominal Roll who is the Director, Ceramics Research and Production Department, not later than 12 noon on Tuesday, 25th January, 2022.”
According to Dr. Ndubuaku, ASURI, through a letter dated 9th February, 2021, with Reference No. ASN/SGF/PRODA/0221/01, which was addressed to the Secretary to the Federal Government of the Federation (SGF) and the Honourable Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, had alerted the Federal Government that the appointment of Dr. Okonkwo could turn out to be costly, asking that he should be relieved of the position immediately.
The letter, which was copied to the Chief of Staff to the President, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF) and the Director General of Department of State Service (DSS) and was received in the offices of all the government functionaries on 16th February 2021, emphasised “the urgent need to remove the Acting Director General/CEO of the Projects Development Institute (PRODA), Enugu, Engr. (Dr.) Fabian Okonkwo” for various reasons.