EFCC arrests the nation’s accountant-general (AGF) for allegedly pinching N80billion federal funds. EFCC, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, is a federal agency that manages Nigeria’s war against financial fraud.
Agency officials said the AGF, Alhaji Ahmed Idris, diverted and subsequently laundered N80billion federal funds in his care.
The AGF initially funneled the funds into bogus consultancies executed by friends and family members, officials said.
Subsequently, he allegedly laundered the money through real estate property purchased in Abuja and Kano cities.
The Agency said it had no option than to pick up Alhaji Ahmed after he disregarded invitations to respond to the allegations against him.
President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Idris, a professional accountant and civil servant, on 25 June 2015, to look after the nation’s finances
In doing so, he fired Idris’ predecessor, Jonah Ogunniyi Otunla, for allegedly pinching N2.5 billion of security agencies’ funds.
Controversies trailed Idris himself, ranging from failure to respect mandatory retirement age and lax audit of MDAs to fraud allegations.
Senior civil servants accused him of staying beyond the mandatory retirement age of 60. He rejected the claim with a counter that the AGF is a political appointee not bound by age rules.
An NGO also called him out and demanded explanations for over N106billion allegedly missing from the budgets of MDAs in 2018.
Senate Ike Ekweremadu yesterday recalled how he was nabbed by kidnappers but saved by God’s grace in year 2000.
He gave a testimony of the experience at his 60th birthday anniversary thanksgiving service held in Enugu yesterday.
“When His Lordship, the Bishop, spoke about some of my travails, he didn’t remember to say that I was kidnapped in the year 2000 at Onu Asata in Enugu Metropolis.
“I was taken to Anambra State. I went to one bush with the kidnappers and passed the night with them.
“The next day, I was taken to Benue State from Anambra.
“We later returned to Nsukka and just by the single grace of God, they let me go and gave me N1,500 for my transport.
“Not many people can be that lucky. So, I thank God and trust him.”
Enugu Metro dug out a record of the incident which took place on 10 September 2000. He was at the time the chief of staff to former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani.
No ransom was paid for his release, fueling speculations that the kidnappers wanted to use him to send a message to Governor Nnamani.
Yesterday, the Senator used his ordeal in the hands of the daredevil kidnappers to emphasize the necessity to give youths employment.
This, according to him, is because the high rate of crimes is directly linked to high unemployment rate across the nation.
He promised to meet the unemployment challenge in his home state if he is elected as governor.
Why I run
The Senator said he aspires to be governor of Enugu State to continue his prior efforts to transform the State.
He said he has a lot to offer the state from his “national and international experience, exposure, goodwill, and contacts.”
“Today, by the grace of God, I am seeking the office of the governor of Enugu State.
“The idea is to create a completely new Enugu State where good governance will be showcased.
“We intend to deal with the issues of unemployment, which is affecting our society and creating the opportunity for crimes to thrive.
His blueprint for transformation includes promoting at least two industries in every local government to create jobs.
He will also harness agricultural and tourism potentials of the state which will boost revenue collection for development.
And he will make life easy for the people by building and maintaining world-class infrastructure, he said.
“By the grace of God, we will achieve more.”
The Senator asked for prayers and support but said that, ultimately, it is God’s will that will prevail.
“I submit myself to the will of God in this endeavor. Whatever is His will, may it be so in Jesus’ name.”
Ekweremadu reminded his audience that he was raised from “a highly challenged part of Enugu State.”
As a young man, he said that he beseeched God to lift him so he could upift his people
“I had a covenant with God early in life and asked for his mercy and favour so I could lift others up. I prayed God to give me an opportunity to be able to transform society and assured Him that if he did that for me, as a testimony and a constant reminder, I would build a church for Him.
“Since that covenant, God has never looked back in matters concerning me.
“That is why I pass through tribulations, I pass through water, and I pass through fire. Yet, none has been able to consume me because God is with me.
“So, this 60th anniversary is 60 years of thanksgiving. It is about 60 years of grace and God’s favour,” he stated.
He also said he fulfilled his part of the deal he made with God.
“God fulfilled his part of that covenant. I also fulfilled mine by building a Church for him at Mpu, my community.”
He’s the best, says Chukwuma
Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma conducted the service at Cathedral Church of the Good Shepherd (Anglican Communion) yesterday, 12 May 2022.
The Archbishop said he finds Ekweremadu as an outstanding legislator in Nigeria and best in the history of Enugu State.
He blessed the Senator for his contributions to the development of Enugu State and Nigeria and wished him well.
Sight and sounds..
The sights and sounds of a celebration, as recorded yesterday. See photos
The SMC partners with two UN agencies to upscale reporting skills on migration issues in Nigeria. SMC is the School of Media and Communication of the Pan-Atlantic University in Lagos.
The partners are the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a UN Migration Agency, and the Global Migration Media Academy.
The programme kicks off today 10 May at the SMC Campus along the Lagos-Epe Expressway.
Over a two-week period, participants will be tutored on how to achieve better reportage on the complexity of migration. The title of the programme is “Media and Migration from the Global South”.
Participants – 25 of them – are final year and postgraduate students as well as journalists from across the country.
Five returnee migrants will share their experiences, according to a statement by Isaac Ezechukwu, Director of Professional Education at SMC.
The journalists are from Maiduguri, Yola, Abuja, Benin, and Lagos. They will run the second stream of the programme from 16 May 2022.
Cyprine Cheptepkeny, Project Officer of the International Organization for Migration expressed excitement about the possibilities of the Global Migration Media Academy in deepening narratives on migration.
The IOM carefully chose to collaborate with the School of Media & Communication in the pilot programme that it would replicate in four other countries.
“Migration has grown in intensity and impact across the world with many African countries involved in local and international migration.”
Cheptepkeny said the UN Migration would want better reportage of the trending global issue beyond the headlines that report boat disasters and similar accidents.
The International Organization for Migration works “to ensure humane and orderly migration in the interest of humanity”, the Project Officer added.
She hopes to educate citizens on the broader contexts of migration across international relations, diplomacy, economics, culture, and the health issues around it.
The International Organization for Migration would help participants to know what is happening in the migration world to ensure better communication of the issues.
Moreover, she added, the data shows that migration affects persons 13 to 35 years in the youth demographic.
Dr Mike Okolo, the Dean, said the SMC was glad to collaborate with the IOM as it aligns with its mission to impact society.
“We are glad to partner with an organisation with a similar mission to affect society”.
Okolo added, “We do not see migration as negative. We see it as something that requires control and management as part of the human story”.
Course Coordinator Dr Chike Mgbeadichie disclosed that the training seeks to
problematize migration, its opportunities and challenges from the perspective of the global South,
explore the centrality of the media in shaping the societal discourse of migration and
unpack the role of the media to assist nation-states, and civil societies in their campaign for effective migration.”
Facilitators come from SMC, the University of Wits, South Africa, and UN Migration in Geneva.
They will tackle topics such as Migrations, Climate Change and Dot Connections; Development Communication and Migration;
Others are Culture and Migration; Social Realities: The ‘here and there’ Discourse; Community Development and Policy Initiatives; Reporting Migration and the Japa Narrative; Reporting Vulnerable Audience and Migration through Storytelling; social media and Migration Reporting; Media Ethics and Migration; Reporting on Data.
The UK government has not proscribed IPOB – the Indigenous People of Biafra – an official said yesterday in Abuja.
An embassy spokesperson described as “inaccurate” reports that the UK government designated IPOB as a terrorist group
The report quoted a UK Country Policy and Information Note (CPIN) on separatist groups in Southeast Nigeria.
The spokesperson, Atinuke Akande-Alegbe, explained that CIPN relies on publicly available information to assess risks faced by asylum seekers.
The information could come from “UK and other governments, local, national and international organisations, and non-government organisations,” she said.
Thus, CIPN observed that Nigeria proscribed IPOB and further accused its members of using violence to press its case.
CIPN therefore advised closer scrutiny of asylum applicants to weed out those who may have participated in violent activities.
Akande-Alegbe, Senior Communications and Public Diplomacy Officer, signed the statement reproduced below:
“We are aware of inaccurate reporting circulating in the media and online that the UK Government has added the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to the UK’s list of terrorist groups or organisations banned under UK law. These reports are untrue. The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is not a proscribed organisation in the UK.
“The inaccurate reporting relates to the 13 April 2022 publication by the UK Government of a revised Country Policy and Information note (CPIN) on separatist groups in SE Nigeria, including the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). CPINs provide country of origin information (COl) and analysis of COI for use by UK Government decision-makers handling particular types of protection and human rights claims.
“All asylum and human rights claims made in the UK are considered on their individual facts in accordance with our obligations under the UN Refugee Convention and European Convention on Human Rights, taking into account relevant background country information and case law.
“The CPIN on separatist groups in the South East, including the Indigenous People of Biafra, provides a general assessment of risks faced by individuals belonging to those groups. These assessments are based on an analysis of publicly available country information obtained from a wide range of reliable sources including media outlets; UK and other governments; local, national and international organisations; and non-government organisations.
“This CPIN also acknowledges that the Nigerian government has proscribed IPOB as a terrorist organisation, some members of IPOB have reportedly used violence against the state and members of the public, and advises that persons who have committed human rights abuses must not be granted protection.”
Cover Photo: Ms Catriona Laing, British High Commissioner to Nigeria
Enugu Back in the hands of Political Thugs is a witness account of assault and violence unleashed at a Ward in Enugu last Saturday.
By Ejikeme Ekpete
Just like other people of Oduma Ward 4, Saturday, 30t April 2022 started like every other day for me. Except that it was the appointed day for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ward Congress to elect three ad-hoc delegates. They will in turn join statutory delegates to elect PDP candidates in 2023 House of Assembly, National Assembly, and governorship elections.
I was one of the candidates for the three-man ad-hoc delegate election in my Ward.
That morning, I helped to set up canopies and chairs and was waiting with others for the start of the exercise. The Deputy Ward Chairman, Mr. Boniface Egwu (aka Egwueji) led a gang of thugs and cultists to tell me that they had come to deliver an “order from above” that I should leave the venue.
I told them that I bought form to contest for the delegates position and if they had candidates, they should field them against those of Senator Ike Ekweremadu’s supporters. Let the people queue behind the candidates to decide, in line with the PDP guideline.
They descended heavily on me with dangerous weapons, including machetes and started shooting sporadically in the air. People scampered for safety as the cultists and thugs, who claimed to be acting on the instruction of the Aninri Local Government Council Chairman, Hon. Benneth Ajah, dismantled the canopies and broke chairs.
I made a dash for my car to escape, but Boniface Egwu told them to block me and ensure I did not escape alive. At this point, one of the cultists used a pole dismantled from the canopies on me. I thought I was dead, I nearly passed out. They gave me a deep machete cut on the head, but I mustered the last energy to make a dying-man’s dash across the road. A vehicle could have knocked me down, I needed to apply the last drop of consciousness left in me to escape.
Our people then rallied and took me to a local hospital. I lost a lot of blood and many were seriously wounded. They snatched my phones, money, and other valuables, but what matters is that I am alive to tell my story.
Unfortunately, it not the first time Ekweremadu’s loyalists were attacked by cultists imported by persons of questionable character. These are persons imposed on our people as Council Chairman and principal party officers. On Saturday, 9 April 2022, cultists allegedly imported by the Chairman of the Council brutally attacked us at the monthly meeting of the PDP in the LGA in Ndeaboh, leaving many, including Member representing Aninri State Constituency, Hon. Chinedu Okwu (Otaka) hospitalised with life threatening injuries like broken heads from machete and axes.
Surprisingly, our Governor did not make any effort to ensure that the culprits were investigated and possibly prosecuted. The Governor merely invited the two parties to the Government House, after the wounded had recovered, and came out with a statement that he reconciled them. Government reconciked the wilful attempted murderers and those they attempted to murder.
This slap on the wrist must have emboldened them for last Saturday’s repeat violence.
We’ll soldier on
But come what may, for me and every right-thinking Aninri and Enugu progressive, we are now even more resolved to support Ekweremadu to emerge Governor in 2023. The atrocities of a few Aninri men, who have hired themselves out for loaves of bread will not deter us. These are the same people who unsuccessfully petitioned to the Federal Government to stop work on the now completed and life-transforming Nenwe-Oduma-Uburu Road attracted by Ikeoha. They will not define us or our love for Ikeoha.
Interestingly, we now know that Oduma Ward 4 was not an isolated case of the fraud, manipulations, parallel congresses, and violence that happened on Saturday. I have seen video clips of what happened at Awgu Ward 2 where the Council Chairman, Pedro Nwankwo, not being on ground and unable to democratically deliver a three-man delegate in his Ward as a second-term Chairman, imported hordes of bad boys to attack his people and attempted to scatter the process. Many party supporters, including the Awgu Local Government PDP, who share the same Ward as Pedro, were attacked and their phones confiscated for recording the shameful political violence.
I have equally seen the pictures of the inhumanity meted on one Bertrand Ugwu by government-sponsored Neighbourhood Watch at Ugbaike, Enugu Ezike, Igboeze North LGA. His crime is the mere fact that he was among the many Ekweremadu supporters in the LGA. His head was sliced. Sadly enough, reports allege that this was at the instance of a Council official and a Commissioner from the area running for the House of Representatives.
I have equally seen the trending video from Agba Umana Ward in Ezeagu LGA where a House of Assembly aspirant was carrying about a pump action riffle, intimidating his people. He was allegedly acting in league with a highly paced Enugu Government official running for the House of Representatives.
All these attacks, intimidations and violence boils down to the disregard for the party’s guideline and democratic process by the Prince Vincent Yandev Amaabai-led Abuja panel. Working hands-in-gloves with the state authorities and state PDP leadership, they failed or refused to conduct a credible and transparent congress. No result sheet was found in any of the 260 Wards, as none was released.
Obviously, the trio of the Abuja panel, Enugu State Government, and the Enugu State PDP leadership, wasn’t prepared for any transparent exercise. Their people boasted that they already had a prepared list of delegates, which they were entering in the results sheets that should have gone to the Wards; that the panel would take the fake “results” to Abuja and there was nothing anybody could do about it.
So, apparently, they were surprised that people, mostly Ekweremadu’s supporters, mobilised to the 260 Wards in their numbers for the exercise. In the absence of the official result sheets, the results were recorded on sheets of paper. In most cases, the Ward Chairman, Ward Secretary, and the INEC staff signed the outcomes. In many instances also, party officials, following desperate calls from their bosses at the top, who didn’t see that coming, declined to record or sign the results.
Not ready for any congresses, they deployed thugs, armed party operatives, cultists, and party officials, state appointees, and Council Chairmen to destabilise the process in favour of the results being compiled in the cosy comforts of a hotel behind the Government House.
In the meantime, the violence that marred the congress in many Wards have validated the alarm raised in March by the Ikeoha Campaign Organisation over what it described as “the appointment of known deadly thugs and cultists into state and local government offices all aimed at intimidating and stopping Ekweremadu”.
The campaign organisation also reported other excesses like the the intimidation of Ekweremadu’s supporters by agents of state, including the detention in prison of Paulinus Ugwu, the PDP Ward Chairman for Okpatu; the detention and subsequent charge to court for baseless offences of Joshua Ogbonna, Francis Akpa, and Obi Mamah; the ostracisation of Barrister Emeka Asogwa, Engr. Armstrong Agbo, and Chief Charles Mbah all from Ugwuanyi’s hometown, Orba, Udenu LGA, for reasons of their association with and commitment to Senator Ike Ekweremadu.
Yet they claim that Enugu is in the hands of God. But the violence that headlined the last Saturday’s exercise, the return of thuggery, and political violence in Enugu which we thought former governor Sullivan Chime had swept away from our political engagement and culture, is not only a dangerous foretaste of the things to come in the PDP primaries. It further underlines the fact that contrary to the peaceful and democratic pretenses, Enugu is back in the hands of thugs and cultists.
This is particularly unfortunate for a state already battling serious insecurity. It is one thing to give the monkey a calabash of water and another to retrieve the calabash after the elections when the monkey is done drinking.
Enugu All Progressives Congress, APC, expels an ex-Governor, a former party chair and four others for alleged anti-party activities.
The party banished former military Governor of Bauchi State, Group Capt Joe Orji alongside former party chair, Chief Ben Nwoye.
APC State Secretary, Robert Ngwu, announced the suspensions as State Executive Council (SEC) rose from its meeting today, 4 May.
The immediate past State Executive Committee of the party led by Prince Chikwado Chukwunta hitherto suspended Nwoye.
The suspension was subsequently ratified by the National Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC).
Today’s meeting converted Nwoye’s suspension to expulsion alongside five others, Secretary Ngwu said.
The five stalwarts expelled are Group Capt. Joe Orji, Mr. Kingsley Uduji, Mr. Chidera Obed, Mr. Obodoeze Ocho and Chukwudi Igwe.
Nwoye however described his ouster as “a ruse.”
The party alleged that former Chairman Nwoye “conspired with some elements to illegally break into the party store.
He “unlawfully took away party properties and sensitive documents” while serving his suspension.
“All attempts to peacefully recover the properties and documents were unsuccessful.
“Consequently, our legal team, given the critical requirements of the Electoral Law, has written to the National and Zonal EXCO to help the State Chapter recover the party properties.”
Ngwu accused Nwoye of engaging in anti-Party activities “which tend to disrupt the peaceful, lawful, and efficient organization of the Party.”
The party also accused two expelled members, Obodoeze Ochi and Chukwudi Igwe, of sponsoring three others to take the party to court.
The litigants are as follows:
Kingsley Uduji who filed Suit no FHC/ABJ/CS/1318/2021 against the party;
Dr Orji Joseph Orji took up Suit No FHC/CS/57/22 against the party; and
Chidera Obed filed Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/1536/2021 also against the Party.
The party therefore sanctioned the three litigants and their alleged sponsors.
The Secretary quoted Article 21(A)(X) of the APC Constitution which stipulates expulsion for anybody who files action against the Party.
“Subject to Article 21 (A), subsections (ii), (v), (vi), (vii), (ix), and (x) of its constitution, Group Captain Orji, Mr. Kingsley Uduji, Dr. Joseph Orji, Mr. Chidera Obed, Mr. Ododoeze Ocho, and Barr. Chukwudi Igwe are hereby expelled from the Party for filing court action without exhausting the avenues for redress as provided in its Constitution.
“This disciplinary action is in line with Article 13.7, subsection (vi), and takes immediate effect.”
Ngwu said an expanded meeting of both State Executive Committee (SEC) and Senatorial District Committee (SDC) sanctioned the expulsion.
The meeting was well attended, including by the 17 Local Government Chairmen of the party.
State party Chairman, Barr. Ugochukwu Agballah told newsmen that his executive will not be distracted by those who want the party to remain in perpetual crisis. They do this to allow the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which allegedly sponsors them, continue to win elections in the state.
Nwoye in particular, he said, tended to be more PDP than APC, and fights every stakeholder of the party in the state.
He listed Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama; former Senate President Ken Nnamani, and Director-General VON, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, as leaders he previously fought.
It’s a Ruse, says Nwoye
But reacting to the party’s action, the former chairman of APC, Nwoye described the expulsion as a ruse, adding that it had become overused by the same people.
He said Agballah was only being jittery having heard that he (Nwoye) had bought APC governorship nomination form, a fear he said was unfounded because he was yet to pick the nomination form.
On the expulsion of other party chieftains, Nwoye stated that the party constitution does not forbid members from going to court.
Tension builds up in Enugu as uneasy silence pervades last Saturday’s PDP Congress to elect 3-man delegates in 260 wards.
The delegates will elect the party’s governorship candidate for the 2023 election at the forthcoming State party convention.
Enugu Metro checks show that Saturday’s ward convention to select the three-man delegates did not go well across many wards.
The commonest complaint was that the State Party executive connived with the Three-Man Ward Congress Electoral Committee to hoard results sheets.
There were accusations that the results sheets were subsequently filled with names of loyalists of the State Governor at a hotel in proximity with Government House.
Enugu Metro learnt that in most wards, party members who arrived early at the congress venues were told that the process had been completed.
However, Ward party executive proceeded to conduct the elections, although the results were recorded on ordinary sheets of paper.
“We are not worried by this because the exercise was witnessed by INEC officials, who countersigned the results,” a local government party official told Enugu Metro.
“We shall meet them anywhere to prove that ours is the authentic delegates list,” he said.
Sahara Reporters reported that in some Wards, violence broke out as loyalists of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi clashed with those of opposition aspirants, notably Sen Ike Ekweremadu.
In one of many recorded incidents, one Ugwu Bertrand was brutally attacked by State-sponsored Neighborhood Watch officials at Amagu Ugbaike, Enugu Ezike, Igboeze North LGA. He is currently hospitalised at an undisclosed location.
Ugwu told Enugu Metro at his hospital location that a supervisor at Igbo-Eze North LGA and a House of Reps aspirant, a former Commissioner, sponsored his attack for being an Ekweremadu loyalist.
In Awgu LGA, party Chairman, Chief Okey Udeh was beaten up and his phone seized allegedly on the orders of Local Government Chairman, Mr. Pedro Nwankwo.
The phone was handed over to the Police but Udeh was told that he will retrieve it only on the condition that he agrees to delete the violence that he recorded at the venue.
In Enugu, a couple of aspirants told us that they will challenge the delegates list in court if it did not tally with what was recorded in the fields during the exercise.
There are also accusations that the state party chair is working with the executive to frustrate the party processes and rules.
Neither the party chairman nor Sen Ekweremadu’s spokesperson responded to Enugu Metro’s enquiries on the matter at the time of filing the report.
It was peaceful, Governor says
The following statement was released on Saturday by the Office of the Governor on behalf of the Party National Committee that came to supervise the Ward 3-man delegates congress:
The Enugu State Electoral Committee from the National Secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the conduct of the ward congresses of the party in the state has described the exercise, which was monitored by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as peaceful, transparent and credible.
Speaking when members of the PDP electoral committee supervised the ward congresses held to elect three-man ad hoc delegates, the Chairman of the panel, Prince Vincent Yandev Amaabai, expressed delight at the peaceful atmosphere of the exercise across the 260 electoral wards in Enugu State.
The Chairman added that the electoral processes were well organized, and commended the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi-led PDP leadership in Enugu State for the peaceful outcome of the ward congresses in the state.
He disclosed that the panel will submit the names of those who emerged winners from the ward congresses to the National Secretariat in Abuja.
Led by the Chairman of the PDP in Enugu State, Hon. Augustine Nnamani, to supervise the congress in Umunevo, Ward 02, Ogui Nike, Enugu North Local Government Area, Prince Amaabai, accompanied by other committee members, Hon. Okey Ahiwe and Dr. Adetokumbo Pearse, said: “We are members of the PDP state electoral committee who have come from the National Secretariat of our great Party in Abuja to conduct the ward congresses.
“We are going round to supervise and see what you people are doing. Coming here we can see that you people are well organized and peaceful.
“We want to inform you that delegates’ election is a proper election supervised by INEC. And we are happy that the INEC representative is here monitoring this exercise.
“It is either done by consensus or by queuing behind candidates of your choice. The list of the three ad hoc delegates that emerge here is what we will send to our PDP National Secretariat in Abuja. Nobody can change anything. It is what you people do on the ground here that we will submit to Abuja.
“The person here is the representative of INEC, Anthony Obinna, who was sent to monitor this ward congress, you (Obinna) have seen everything yourself. That is how PDP does its thing. Everything is transparent and peaceful.
“I want to tell you people again that the National Secretariat of our party has so much respect for the PDP in Enugu State under the leadership of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
“This is because since their (PDP National Officers) assumption of office November last year, nobody has heard any complaint from Enugu State and we hope that this record will continue.”
At Umuenwene Ward, Enugu East LGA, where members of the electoral committee were received by the Speaker of the Enugu State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi, the member representing Enugu East/Isi-Uzo Federal Constituency, Prince Cornelius Nnaji, and the Council Chairman, Nze Livinus Anike, among others, the Committee Chairman equally expressed satisfaction with the peaceful conduct of the exercise which was also monitored by an INEC official, Mrs. Perpetual Onyia.
He told the jubilant and enthusiastic party faithful at the congress that “we are happy with the performance of the PDP in Enugu State”, adding: “The National Secretariat is happy with you because since they (NWC members) took over the leadership of the party last year we have never heard of any issue in Enugu State. We pray God that it will continue to be like that”.
On getting to Eda-Nta Ward in Ede-Oballa, Nsukka LGA, where members of the PDP, including the former State Chairman of the party, Engr. Vita Abba, were queuing behind candidates of their choice to elect the three-man delegates, members of the electoral panel applauded their orderliness and comportment, stressing that it was democracy in action.
“We are happy to see people already lining up behind candidates of their choice. Since we have been going round, we haven’t had any crisis. Even here that you have decided to queue up behind your candidates, it is still very peaceful. This is commendable.
“I want to assure you that, whatever result that emanates from the exercise and across the 260 wards, is certainly what we are taking to Abuja; nobody is going to change anybody’s result”.
The story was the same in Obollo-Eke, Udenu LGA, and Ikem in Isi-Uzo LGA, as the visibly joyful party faithful rolled out drums to receive the electoral committee members.
Commending the peaceful exercise, the Chairman said: “We want to thank you people so much for this peaceful atmosphere here. Since we came to Enugu State we have not recorded any incident anywhere. It has been very calm.
“We also bring you felicitations from the National Secretariat, Abuja. Since the new National Leadership came on board, we have been having complaints here and there but we have not heard of any complaint from Enugu State. So you people have set a record and we hope you will continue like that.”
He went further to recognize the presence of the INEC officials at the two events and urged the participants to continue to support the party at all times.
The Chairmen of Udenu, Enugu North, Nsukka and Isi-Uzo LGAs, Hon. Solomon Onah, Hon. Emeka Onunze, Hon. Barr. Walter Ozioko and Hon Obiora Obeagu respectively, joined in welcoming the committee members at their respective council areas.
Tension builds up in Enugu after Ward Delegates Congress
Dangers of an Absalom Rebellion in Abia State – The story of the gubernatorial attempt of the deputy governor of my home Abia State is one of how to force a non-story onto the media agenda. Mr Ude Oko Chukwu declares his interest in running for governor. He did not inform his boss, the governor, though persons speaking for him insist that he did. Surprisingly and wisely, the governor ignores him.
Next thing, a story appears in the media alleging the governor’s plan to impeach him. At this point, the governor states through his recognised channel for doing so that he did not even contemplate it. The Chief Press Secretary speaks for the governor to say that there is no contemplation of such a thing. Here, a former Secretary to the Government under Ikpeazu, who has become the opposition’s unofficial leader, insists that it is not enough for the governor to speak through his spokesman. It is the right of the former Secretary to nurse his grievance, but it is immoral to parade as a newbie advocate of good causes.
We know where the shoe pinches Eme Okoro in the stomach. Is Eme Okoro the first and last word on governing a state? Should he dictate how the government should respond to the deputy? Hello? I have only questions. How does one man’s opinion translate to “Ikpeazu under pressure to speak on an alleged plot to impeach deputy” as one newspaper falsely tagged Okoro’s statement? What pressure? By one person? When I saw this headline, I imagined there was a concert of voices speaking on the issue. But there is none of such.
Hats off to Ude Oko Chukwu for creating the missing buzz in his gubernatorial effort by maligning his boss and making him his competitor. It must be painful to be ignored by both the governor and citizens. Even journalists analysing the race give him scant mention. He has thus latched on to creating an imaginary crisis as the way to gain traction. I wrote this in early April but decided to watch developments further.
An Absalom Rebellion in Abia
Ude Oko Chukwu has gone Absalom. The deputy governor now urinates into the pot where he feeds and draws sustenance. Is it not best that he does a full Absalom by withdrawing from the office instead of waiting for a push that would enable him to trend as a misbegotten hero?
Remember Absalom. King David’s third and favourite son rebelled against his father, only for Joab to slay him. Second Samuel, Chapters 13 to 18. Even so, his father mourned him. The story of Absalom is instructive for these times and the activities of Mr Deputy Governor. Please read the five chapters. Who is the Ahitophel counselling this man who has been a Government Pikin for 20 years? Dr Ude Oko Chukwu has been in the Abia State government and bureaucracy since becoming a legislator in 2003:
He served three terms (12 years) in the Abia State House of Assembly
Chukwu was Speaker of the ABHA
He has been Deputy Governor for seven years.
Chukwu is the only Deputy Governor to enjoy an entire tenure of two terms with his governor, unlike the others before him.
We can understand the lure of more, but do people break the dining table to get more?
Remember Macbeth. In summary. “Three witches tell the Scottish general Macbeth that he will be King of Scotland. Encouraged by his wife, Macbeth kills the king, becomes the new king, and kills more people out of paranoia. Civil war erupts to overthrow Macbeth, resulting in more death”. William Shakespeare wrote the play to teach about the folly of overweening ambition and how it blindfolds and blocks the ears. “I am thane of Cawdor. If good, why do I yield to that suggestion whose horrid image doth unfix my hair and make my seated heart knock at my ribs against the use of nature?”
Since the impeachment gambit failed, Chukwu has gone full blast. He now attacks the government he serves and seeks to sow discord everywhere. At Ukwa West, he indicted himself and the Abia State Government for failings in the area. Pray, who does that? What principle of management recommends such conduct? Guiding principles for teams are trust, clarity, alignment, commitment, accountability, creativity, conflict resolution, and achieving results. Honour is also integral to teamworking. Persons who find themselves in misalignment with their teams leave honourably.
The many Absaloms in Abia State are stepping out to blackmail the government for their interests. They include the butcher, the scribe, and the bookkeeper. These fellows want us to believe they found their voices only after their time feeding on the pot ended. How convenient. Let no one fall for the deceit. Nor are they fighting for any zoning. Not at all. Zoning has become a convenient alibi for personal battles. James Hadley Chase, the pop fiction writer of my generation, memorably wrote, Believe This, And You’ll Believe Anything.
The basket mouths are welcome to share family secrets. They confirm that the Abia State Government is a mafia, like most of our governments in Nigeria, and they are long-standing members. In doing so, they should bear in mind the consequences of their revelations. One of which is going against their oaths. Another is admitting that they knew of wrongdoings but kept their mouths shut. They stand in double jeopardy. Citizens of Abia State look forward to their disclosures rather than the threat of revelations. If the information is useful, it may help the state. We can only caution that they remember the Mafia code captured in Mario Puzo’s The Godfather and real life.
Nigerian political history is replete with the Absalom phenomenon. Mr Akin Omoboriowo in Ondo State fancied that he was more suitable than his boss, old man Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin. When the party disagreed with him, he shifted base. His vaulting ambition led to a firestorm of rage in 1983 in Ondo State, and he fled the state while several people lost their properties. I saw daily the ruins from that exercise in the burnt building of Fagbamigbe Publishers during youth service at Thomas Johnson Publishers on Oba Adesida Street, Akure. Ondo 1983 was one of the principal triggers for the return of the military and Buhari 1.0.
The wise affirm that discretion is the better part of valour. Abia State needs men who understand that power (of choice, action, anything) is dangerous without control. Douse the needless flames. Every party to the challenge in Abia State, those sitting and those who want to drag their butts off the seat should take heed.