Deputy Chief of Staff to Abia state governor, Chinedu Ekeke, may have in the past loudly protested the ban on motorcycles in cities and suburbs, citing poverty and the absence of alternatives for riders and passengers. But he has lost his voice now that his boss, Governor Alex Otti, issued the same ban in a state poorer than others, specifically Lagos, where Mr Ekeke protested a similar government decision.
The ban was announced via a statement communicating the government’s decision to restrict the use of motorcycles in Umuahia, the state capital, and Aba, its commercial nerve centre. No reason was provided for the decision and it has expectedly provoked anger and criticism given Abia’s endemic unemployment problem, driving many to become ‘Okada riders’ to earn an income.
The decision also came days after it was revealed that Governor Otti spent billions on the acquisition of new cars for his personal aides, despite struggling to pay salaries and pensions.
His Deputy Chief of Staff, Chinedu Ekeke, who garnered thousands of followers for protesting government actions such as this, has defended the controversial decisions, notably the purchase of cars for Otti’s coterie of aides in what is regarded as an excessively large government despite his campaign promise to cut down the number of aides.
Chinedu Ekeke was equally a beneficiary of the car largesse as a media aide of the governor published a video showing him cruising in a multi-million naira SUV purchased using state funds.
On the issue of the Okada ban, he has maintained a studied silence which contrasted his loud and public protest of such decisions in the past. Users of X (formerly Twitter) have highlighted the contrast with his previous condemnation of such action in the past while also pointing out his hypocrisy and alleged lack of principles.
Ekeke had faced accusations of attempting to shield his role and activities as DCOS to the governor by restricting access to his X (formerly Twitter) account by adjusting his privacy settings.