From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
Immediate past national chairman of All Progressives Congress, (APC) Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday, said the late Dr. Simon Imuekemhe, prevented him from sacking a civil servant whom he later appointed as the Head of Service as then governor of Edo State.
He disclosed this during his condolence visit to the family of the deceased in Benin City.
Late Dr. Simon Imuekemhe was the former Edo State Head of Service (HOS) and Secretary to Edo State Government (SSG). He died at the age of 66.
Oshiomhole who wrote on the condolence register thus “You gave your all to your people, rest in peace”, described the late Imuekemhe as a man who knew how to protect and safeguard the interest of the civil servants.
The immediate past governor of the state recalled that such a scenario played out when he (Oshiomhole) suggested a sack of one of the civil servants whom he felt could not match up with the workings of the civil service but through the intervention of late Imuekemhe, he was retained and eventually he was made the Head of Service in due course.
“He will be remembered for many things. When you say what someone will be remembered for, I think those he affected one way or the other. He affected them differently. I have told my own story.
“Now, there are people in the civil service who will have their own stories. There are people in the Edo communities that will have their own stories.
“I just mentioned briefly that there was a man I thought should be dismissed because we thought that he can not cope with our pace of work and a couple of things we didn’t think was right but Imuekemhe was concerned.
“The civil servants must be protected and having worked in the system, he knew how to protect them.
“And one of such people he protected, when I wanted to appoint a Head of Service when there was a vacancy, i wanted to make sure that I don’t follow any sentiment and I am not influenced by any group or interest. I just wanted to make a decision based on who is the most senior civil servants.
“So I just called for the files, went through all of them and I saw the most senior person. I called the Secretary to the State Government and said, announce this person as the new Head of Service and when the name was announced, those who knew him came to me and said that was the man that you asked Dr. Imuekemhe to sack but they have to do more of enquiries, but in the end, they eventually found a way to keep him in the system. And I ended up appointing the man, a Head of Service.
“So, when I say he cares about the civil service, I know what I am talking about and there is something in a man’s heart and even myself, I am happy that he did what he did because if the man was not good, I will not keep him and if I will keep him, I am not obliged to appoint him as a Head of Service”, he said.
Oshiomhole said the former SSG and HoS contributed immensely to the development of the state and that he would be sorely missed by all.
“So, it is on record now to my own recollection as the only one who has worked in the civil service, rose to become a Permanent Secretary, Head of Service and from there becoming Secretary to the Edo State Government.
“So, he devoted all his life to the services of Edo people and a very humble man, very humane, he has deep love for the civil servants.
“So, he was a good man and also a very good family man.
“So, there is no doubt that we lost a man who contributed so much to the development of our great state and we shall all miss him”, said.