It was a show of shame yesterday at the Delta State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Asaba, when the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources (MANR), Mr. Misan Kubeyinje and his Special Assistant, Dr. Edwin Uwagie-Ero, engaged in an open confrontation that almost led to physical combat.
The heated argument, which led to the resignation of Dr. Uwagie-Ero, it was reliably gathered, disrupted official activities as workers gathered to watch the argument between the two men.
According to impeccable sources from the Ministry, the squabble between the Commissioner and his former aide may not be unconnected with the whopping sum of N1 billion recently released by the Delta state government and disbursed to farmers across the state.
When this reporter called the mobile line of the former Special Assistant, he identified himself as such, but as soon the reporter introduced himself as a journalist seeking his reaction to the story, he immediately cut off the line. Following an SMS that was immediately sent to him, however, he called back and contradicted himself, saying that he was not the Special Assistant.
On his part, the embattled Mr. Kubeyinje, responding to an SMS sent to him by this reporter, said, “You have to see me, I sacked him he didn’t resign and we never had a physical brawl. You need to hear from me before you report any wrong story.”
The following day when this reporter met the commissioner, he contradicted himself the more having owned up that he sacked the SA not that he resigned.
According to Mr. Kubeyinje, “Anybody that gives you information about anything that happened between me and my SA is a mischief maker and it is not true. My SA is Mr. Sunday Asama, officially. Dr. Edwin Uwagie-Ero is a friend that I brought into the Ministry to assist me technically, so he is not my officially SA. I only have one official SA, who is Mr. Sunday Asama and one PA, Mr. Tola Ogbe. I never had any confrontation with anybody and as I have told you, Dr. Edwin Uwagie-Ero was brought in as a technical aide, he was not my SA."
When asked if actually the alleged brawl was connected to the one billion Naira loan to farmers in the state, the Commissioner dismissed the allegation.
He said, however, that a series of frauds has been uncovered by his office in connection with the loan. “Of course in the issue of the one billion Naira loan, there are a lot of frauds I have detected. Some people came with fake certificates, some tried to collect other people’s cheques. But we are investigating it, and at the end of the day, I will give my report to His Excellency or where necessary the police. But if they say my SA left because of issues that have to do with the one billion Naira loan, I don’t think it is right.”
As of the time of filing this report, the official web site of Delta State still indicated Dr. Edwin Uwagie-Ero to be the Special Assistant to the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. Kubeyinje.