Imo Governor Uzodinma Recalls Suspended Heartland GM Chukwudi
Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma is understood to have recalled suspended General Manager of Heartland FC, a Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side, Ifeanyi Chukwudi, Completesports.com reports.
This is even as the Executive Governor has taken strong steps to right all the wrongs at the club which has crippled the once dreaded Naze Millionaires since the start of the 2019/2020 domestic top flight.
Completesports.com checks reveal that the leadership tussle between the Chairman of the Heartland FC board, Charles Ezekwem and General Manager, Ifeanyi Chukwudi, which led to the suspension of the later by the former, stemmed from the acceptance and recognition of Chukwudi as the rightful representative of the club during last year’s Annual General Meeting of the League Management Company, LMC, at the expense of the board chairman.
LMC had then made it clear that they recognize more of the position of General Manager as administrative head of a club instead of a board chairman whose duty is a mere supervisory role.
But indications are that the major problem at the club was the control of the club’ finances.
The club is said to have too many players on its payroll with over 60% of them on loan despite huge sums of money alleged to have been released by the Emeka Ihedioha administration for the club to recruit players and prepare for the 2019/2020 season.
Ezekwem had previously admitted receiving adequate financial support from the previous administration but claimed the funds were judiciously expended.
“No doubt we received funds from the government. But we used the money judiciously to buy and clear players and don’t forget there were other club debts we met on ground when we came on board,” Ezekwem had explained.
It was alleged that soon after the AGM in Abuja, an embittered board chairman later handed an indefinite suspension to the General Manager on the allegations of insubordination and financial mismanagement.
The Heartland Board Chairman who also doubled as PDP Chairman in Imo State, was to appoint Godson Onyemaobi as Chukwudi’s replacement, though in acting capacity.
Chukwudi has since denied any wrongdoing as regards the allegations against him.
But Completesports.com has exclusively gathered that baring any last minute change, Chukwudi could be on his way back to his job.
It is understood that a ‘patient and due process person’ Chukwudi has been given a clean bill by Governor Uzodinma to return to his duty post.
And it was gathered that Chukwudi could resume work ‘any moment from now’, indicating that he’s likely to resume work this April.
“On Thursday, March 26, Governor Uzodinma met with Ifeanyi Chukwudi at the Government House, Owerri”, an official at the Douglas House – the Imo State seat of power, exclusively told Completesports.com.
“The meeting lasted deep into the night and His Excellency was convinced that Chukwudi has a valid contract with the club.
“The Governor immediately directed that he should return to his duty post and resume work.
“It is likely he will resume in the next couple of days, perhaps after receiving his recall letter from either the SSG (Secretary to the State Government) or the Chief of Staff to the Governor.
“His Excellency is not happy that a lot has gone wrong in the club and that he expects Chukwudi to put the club back in order,” the government house source said.
Checks reveal that since meeting between the suspended club manager and the governor, there have been intense moves for realignment in the club.
“Those who misled the board chairman in the first place are now running helter skelter in a bid to realign with the new order,” the Douglas House official explained.
“After the Government of PDP led by Emeka Ihedioha was sacked by the Supreme Court and Hope Uzodinma enthroned as new Governor of Imo State, all the board of Parastatals, Commissioners and appointees were dissolved by the new government.
“All the appointees left, including the Sports Commission Chairman. Question is, why is the Heartland Board Chairman still insisting on retaining his post even when his other board members had obeyed the new government’s order as regards the dissolution order?,” he queried rhetorically.
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