Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige
Anambra: The Dirty Testimonies
At the emergency meeting of January 4, 2005, a special Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) NEC committee on Anambra crises was set up with Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun State as Chairman and the following as members: Barr. S.O. Ekhabafe (SS); Barr. Ibrahim Shema (NW); Dr. (Mrs.) Nana Aisha Abdulquadri (North); Alhaji Shaba Lafiaji (NC) Alhaji M.B. Kirfi, Waziri Bauchi (NE); Chief (Dr.) Nwajoku O. Godwin (SE) and Barr. (Mrs.) Ime Udom (South). The committee was charged with the responsibility to investigate the root causes of the lingering Political crises in Anambra State, especially the alleged confessional statement that Dr. Chris Ngige did not win the Anambra gubernatorial election and make appropriate recommendations to the PDP NEC. The committee had its first meeting on Monday 10 January 2005 at the command guest house, Abuja. Published below are excerpts from the 106 report...
The Testimony of Chris Uba
The Committee invited Chief Chris Uba and he appeared with the following people:
Dr. Okey Udeh - Former Deputy Governor
Sen. Ugochukwu Uba
Sen. I. K. Abana
Mr. Uchenna Emodi - State Chairman
Chief Dan Ulasi -Former Chairman, Caretaker Committee
Chief R. O. C. Okpaleshe - State Secretary
Hon. Chuma Nzeribe, Member, Federal House of Representative
Engr. Emeka Okeke
Barr. Nobis Elendu
Hon. (Mrs.) Eucharia Azodo - Former Speaker, Anambra State House of Assembly
Prince (Dr.) Emeka Eze
Barr. Izu Nwankwo
Chief J. A. Okonkwo - Founding State Chairman
The Special Committee having received memoranda from all members of the group called upon Chief Uba to present his memo. Chief Ubaн?s lawyer, Barrister Nobis Elendu, read the memo to the Committee. Highlights of the memo include the following:
That sometime in December, 2002 when it became obvious that the PDP would no longer sponsor the former Governor, Mbadinuju, to contest the 2003 gubernatorial seat, the need to shop for a candidate arose.
That during their search for a suitable candidate, the Choice of Dr. Chris Ngige, who was already a candidate for the Anambra Central Senatorial district, was more acceptable. This was based on his reliable professional status and his experience in the Civil Service.
That having selected him to run for the gubernatorial seat, Chief Uba worked on the other a spirants to step down for Dr. Ngige during the primaries. Accordingly, Chief Uba did not loose sight of the fact that a few aspirants would refuse to step down and he would use his political acumen and structure to defeat them at the primaries. Chief Dba said that his judgement was true as two contestants refused to step down but were beaten at the primaries when he used huge sums of money to execute the project.Chief Uba said that immediately after the election primaries, he received negative reports about Dr. Ngige describing him as unreliable, dishonest, immoral, greedy, wicked, sadist, vindictive and untrustworthy.
That he received another report that Dr. Ngige had sanctioned his father for 5 years and indeed sued him to court over a family piece of land which his father gave to a younger brother of Dr. Ngige who is now a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). That he was at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja when the SAN introduced himself to Chief Uba saying “I heard that you want to make my brother, Chris, Governor of Anambra State. You will live to regret making him a Governor”.
That at another occasion, he was confronted by the Igwe of Alor (the Traditional Ruler) in Dr. Ngige’s hometown who warned him against making Dr. Ngige the Governor of Anambra State on the ground that Dr. Ngige had sold the town’s transformer during his tenure as the president of their town union.
That one Edwin Ngige, a brother of Dr. Ngige approached him (Chief Uba) and advised that Dr. Ngige should not be made Governor and not even Senator. That the President of Aka Ikenga, an organization which Dr. Ngige had once served as President also opposed the idea of sponsoring Dr. Ngige to the exalted position and described Dr. Ngige as “very unreliable and deceitful”.
That after the nomination of Dr. Ngige both of them went to see Mr. President. During their meeting, Mr. President’ told them that he had information that Dr. Ngige is in dispute with his father and family members. That he should go and reconcile with them.
That Dr. Ngige and himself went to visit the National Vice Chairman, Nze Ozichukwu Chukwu after the primaries. During their interaction, Nze Chuckwu rejected the choice of Dr. Ngige saying that “Ngige is a disaster waiting to happen” .That after primary election, they also called on Chief Tony Anenih who commended Chief Uba for his support but said “Chris (Ngige) this Youngman (pointing at me) who sponsored you will be your first victim”.
Chief Uba said that following the adverse reports and allegations he received about Ngige, he decided to reconcile him with people especially members of his family. That he was successful. At a ceremony in honour of the governorship candidate, his father was invited to give vote of thanks and had this to say; “Nwabueze (Dr. Ngige’s native/vernacular name), do not deceive this young man. Nwabueze do you hear what I am saying; I said do not cheat this your friend, Eselu Uga, I have said all I have to say”.
Undertaking and resignation letters
Chief Uba told the Committee that as a result of series of allegations against the character and behaviour of Dr. Ngige, PDP leaders and members lost confidence in him and resolved that Dr. Ngige should show commitment and covenant that he would not betray them. That this resulted to the various letters if resignation and undertaking, which be, wrote and signed to assure them of his loyalty and change of behaviour when he eventually won the seat.
Chief Uba further told the Committee that he made a press statement following the exchange of letters between Mr. President and the PDP National Chairman. He said the intentional was to clarify the wrong” impression Dr. Ngige sent to Nigerians that he did not admit that he (Ngige) did not win election when he and himself (Chief Uba) went before Mr. President. That his press statement was not a confessional statement but a clarification to put records straight and to say that Mr. President did not lie.
In presenting his memo, Chief Uba informed the Committee’ that he was principally the person who was instrumental to the emergence of Dr. Ngige as Governor of Anambra State. He said that this was done by way of financial sponsorship and political sponsorship.
That initially, Dr. Ngige was running for the Senate but then the decision to make him run for gubernatorial election was taken, Dr. Ngige approached him for funding since he was not financially sound to do so. Chief Uba said, he accepted and made available to him every kobo starting from the primaries to the election of 19th April, 2003.
That Dr. Ngige was not known in the State apart from his Idemili South Local Government Area, where he (Dr. Ngige) consistently failed to realize his dream to be Senator. As a result, Dr. Ngige requested Chief Uba to handover his political structure and followers, which cut across Anambra State to him, and he (Uba) accepted. This structure, he said, Dr. Ngige used to become Governor of Anambra State. Chief Uba annexed all the documentary transactions between him and Dr. Ngige including a Speech he made at his inauguration that he will keep faith to his commitments for the appreciation of members of the committee. Chief Uba told the Committee unequivocally that he did not rig election for Dr. Ngige and if there was any element of rigging, Dr. Ngige should explain to the Party how it happened. He further referred the Committee to a statement Dr. Ngige made and was published in the Newswatch magazine of 29th November, 2004 saying “Even when I was working with them (Uba group) I drew the bench mark and the political roadmap, so I am above intimidation”. Following this statement Chief Uba said it was most dishonest and blatant falsehood if Dr. Ngige turns round to say that he did not know how the election which he drew benchmark and roadmap was won.
Root Causes of the crises
On the root causes of the crises in Anambra state, Chief Chris Uba said that they can be summarized as follows:
“That party members were sidelined and not appointed in Dr. Ngige’s cabinet as stakeholders. Instead he’ gave such appointments to members of the opposition. Chief Uba cited the appointment of Deputy Governor, SSG and Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice to back up his claim. That he sabotaged elected members of PDP both in the Anambra State House and National Assembly who had cases at the election tribunals. Chief Uba alleged that Dr. Ngige was footing all the legal bills of solicitors handling cases for opposing candidates.
That Dr. Ngige failed to implement the recommendation of an investigative panel headed by Commodore Olabode George. This, he said is because the Governor sacked some officers thereafter contrary to the panel’s report. Chief Uba also said that the non-implementation of the Owerri Accord, which was midwife by the Senate President, Chief Adolphus Wabara contributed to the crises.
That Dr. Ngige destroyed the PDP structures in the State and jettisoned and indeed rejected party list of candidates for the Local Government election. Besides, he rejected and refused to recognize the elected PDP State Chairman and unilaterally appointed a State Coordinator instead of State Chairman, contrary to the PDP Constitution. He added that Governor Ngige is romancing with the Justice Party a platform he intends to use as alternative to PDP to present his candidates for LGA polls hoping that such candidates will win and help him achieve his gubernatorial desire in 2007.
That he refused to conduct Local Government election in the State thereby causing a lot of hardship to people who left their jobs to seek election. In throwing more light on a multiple of Chairmanship and Councillorship candidate lists, Chief Uba explained that a compilation of list of candidates was made in October, 2002 before Dr. Ngige became Governor. However, upon becoming Governor, the list was adjusted to accommodate his interest. This notwithstanding, he insisted that it must be reharmonised before he would conduct LGA election. Following this, those whose names were dropped complained and NWC accepted yet another fresh list from Dr. Ngige and included the same in the harmonized list. The Committee was however told that Dr. Ngige later changed his mind and branded the NWC list as a “419” list. He rejected the list and personally compiled another list himself and submitted it to ANSIEC. To this end, Chief Uba said, the Chairman of ANSIEC announced through the State Radio that PDP had submitted two different lists of candidates. This made the nominated candidates to call a rally to protest the action, which the Anambra State Vigilante service of Dr. Ngige disrupted.
Part II of Uba’s Submission
In this part, Chief Uba made some clarifications on his press release. He explained as follows:
That his press statement was misunderstood, misinterpreted, misconstrued and gave rise to controversy.
That the letter of Mr. President to the Chairman of PDP was an accurate record of what transpired at a meeting between Dr. Ngige and himself (Chief Uba).
That he knew that Dr. Ngige would turn round to deny what he (Ngige) had said so he decided to give a press statement to state what he (Uba) said at the meeting with Mr. President and Dr. Ngige. That many commentators misunderstood him by putting it that he claimed he (Uba) rigged election. Chief Dba said that what he asked Dr. Ngige was “you know you did not win election?” which Dr. Ngige replied “I know”. This was what Mr. President had told the whole world.
That following rumours that Dr. Ngige did not win election and his victory was challenged at the election tribunal, they decided to look at records on which the results were produced. They discovered that the results were incorrect and that Dr. Ngige did not actually win. He said that explained why he had to disclose the true results to Mr. President, the National Chairman of PDP and the National leader of the Party, Chief Tony Anenih at different time in the presence of Dr. Ngige. That following his press statement when he regretted his error and activities in putting Ngige to power, it was misinterpreted that he rigged election. That at the time Dr. Ngige was adopted as Governor, PDP had concluded the screening exercise for governorship aspirants in the South East Zone and that explains why his name was not among the list of candidates as drawn by the party.
Further to the written submission, Chief Uba played two tapes of recorded transactions regarding the activities of Dr. Ngige and Chief Uba.
The first tape was tagged survival of Anambra State. When the tape was played the following issues surfaced. That after the declaration of Dr. Ngige as the winner of the elections, the kinsmen and friends of Dr. Ngige paid Chief Uba a visit in his village to congratulate and thank him for making it possible for their son and friend to win the governorship election.
That during the visit of the kinsmen and friends of the Governor elect, his father (Dr. Ngige) was with them. The father made pathetic statements appealing to his son not to disappoint Chief Uba and offered Chief Uba a coconut to plant in his (country home) residence. The members of the committee watched the activities on tape and listened to speeches and bits of advice urging Dr. Ngige not to disappoint Chief Uba whom 1hey described as Dr. Ngige’s godfather and political mentor. In his response, Dr. Ngige confirmed the big roles Chief Uba played in his election right from the very beginning. The Committee watched and listened to Dr. Ngige saying that the two people he cherishes most in his life are his wife and Chief Uba. That Chief Uba was at the heart of his political sojourn and that his election was a one-man project.
In his comments Chief Uba remarked that Dr. Ngige will not disappoint the people of Anambra State. That with the Governorship victory the other elections lined up to be conducted later was a foregone conclusion.
The second tape had to do with a committee of the Senate and staten1ents relating to Dr. Ngige going to the shrine to take an oath. In answer to a question from the committee, Chief Uba said that he did not go to the shrine with Ngige. He however said that Dr. Ngige told him that he had consulted with his Bishop who advised him to take along with him a Bible and holy oil.
In commenting on the statement earlier made by the former State PDP Caretaker Comn1ittee Chairman, Chief Uba said that both of them should not be dismissed from the Party. He said that since Dr. Ngige is already Governor and has enjoyed much, he should be expelled to allow him Uba remain. In answer to another question from the Committee on who went with Dr. Ngige, Hon. Chuma Nzeribe accepted that himself and three others went with him. They left Awka and got to the place at about 3.30am. That when they were 50 meters to the place, the 3 of them waited while Dr. Ngige accompanied by a man who was riding a bicycle went to the shrine to perform the oath taking rites.
In conclusion, Chief Uba recommended as follows:
That the PDP should take necessary steps to renounce the incorrect results that ushered in Dr. Ngige as the Governor of Anambra State. That Dr. Ngige be compelled to comply with all agreements and undertakings he entered into before becoming Governor. However, a member noted that the two issues raised in the recommendation contradict each other since he recommended that the Governor be made to vacate his seat and at the same time asking that he should be compelled to fulfill the agreements he had entered into. On answering a question on whether it will help the party if the results that ushered Dr. Ngige in are invalidated, Chief Uba answered that PDP will still win if fresh election is ordered. On another question from the committee on why he went ahead when they received numerous petitions and warnings against Dr. Ngige, Chief Uba said that Dr. Ngige had already won the primary election and there was no point going back at that point.
On the 5th January, 2005 Chief Uba brought an addendum to his memorandum of 10 January, 2005. According to him the addendum became necessary to enable him state in clear terms his position regarding the admission Dr. Ngige made before Mr. President that he did not win the Governorship election of 19th April, 2003. This statement, Chief Uba said, was made before Mr. President in the presence of Alhaji B. B. Farouk (PDP National Youth Leader) and Barr. Olisa Metu (Ex Officio member of PDP). In the addendum, Chief Uba reiterated that Dr. Ngige also admitted before the National Chairman of PDP that he did not win the Governorship election of the 191h April, 2003.
Chief Uba concluded his addendum with the prayer that since Dr. Chris Ngige had previously resigned his office as Governor of Anambra State and also admitted before Mr. President that he did not win the Governorship election, and with numerous evidences of anti party activities levelled against him, Chief Uba once again said that Dr. Ngige be compelled to vacate his seat as Governor of Anambra State.
The Testimony of Ngige
Day Two Proceedings:
His Excellency, Dr. Chris Ngige appeared before the panel with the following persons:
Rep. (Bar.) N. C. Ughanze (MHR)
Hon. Jessie Balonwu (MHR)
Chief Hon. Okey Muo Aroh (SSA - Special duties)
Princess Uzo Okonkwo (SA - Liaison)
Barrister Emeka Okafor
Mr. Uzoma Igbonwa
Mr. Chuks Akunna (Chief Press Secretary)
Dr. Chris Ngige apologized for his lateness to the meeting and attributed this to weather condition, which he said delayed his flight. He complained that he was not aware of the terms of reference of the Committee before coming and hence could not prepare any written document, adding that he only received a letter from the National Secretary informing him about his suspension from the party, and setting up of this Committee. He was however informed by the Chairman that the content of the letter he received was not at variance with that of the Committee members, except the portion that dealt with suspension. Dr. Ngige told the Committee that he would not speak on the ‘confessional statement’ since the matter is in Court. He highlighted that the political crises in Anambra State has to do with the STATE and the PARTY.
He requested that Chief Uba’s submissions be made available to him for sighting, but the Committee refused to oblige. He traced his political antecedents - that he was a convener of PDP in Anambra State. That he was an Assistant National Secretary, Ex-Officio member of NEC, and vied for Anambra Senatorial seat in 1999. That prior to this, he had worked in the Civil Service, and resigned as a Director in 1998 to contest for a Senatorial seat.
That after his retirement, from Civil Service, he set up political structures preparatory to elections into the Senate. That during the 2002 Congress, he funded and sponsored some politicians to contest elections. That when nominations were opened, he participated in Senate primaries with Chief Ben Obi and Ebele Okonkwo.
According to Dr. Ngige, when it became obvious that the party would not return Dr. Mbadinuju as its candidate for the governorship elections, the following persons approached and encouraged him to run.
Chief Ben Okoye
Chief Okey Ezibe
Chief Ben Akabueze
Prof A.B.C. Nwosu
Chief Chris Uba
However, he (Dr. Ngige) accepted to run for the position after much persuasion, but not without some conditions. That the payment of arrears incurred by the former Governor would be the first priority on his list if elected. That he would work primarily for the interest of Anambra State before considering other interest groups.
The aforementioned persons leading to the formation of a political union accepted these conditions. Dr. Ngige expressed surprise that after his emergence as the Partyн?s candidate, Chief Uba started making some demands. He reported that one night, Chief Uba came with one Bar. Nobis Elendu to Nicon Hotel, Abuja, with an agreement for him to sign. The said document showed that he (Dr. Ngige) borrowed from him (Chief Uba) the sum of Three billion naira (N3billion), and when he questioned, Chief Uba said that it was an anticipated sum of money to be used for campaigns. According to Dr. Ngige, he told Chief Uba that the governorship election in Anambra State would cost only between N300m and N400m, but Barrister Elendu insisted that it would assist them if they run out of money. With this explanation, Dr. Ngige said he signed the document, and later demanded for a copy, which was not given to him.
Dr. Ngige told the Committee that Gen. Salihu Ibrahim (Rtd.) headed the Electoral Panel that conducted primaries in Anambra State, while Senator Elayo headed the Appeal Panel. He affirmed that before primaries, Chief Uba and his friend, Hon. Chuma Nzeribe had started collecting various sums of money varying from N5m to N10m from contestants. When his attention was drawn to this development, he (Dr. Ngige) advised contestants not to give. He then confronted Chief Uba who denied the allegation.
Thereafter, Chief Uba came to him (Dr. Ngige) one morning and requested that they meet with the National Vice Chairman (South East), Nze Ozichukwu in his hotel room at Enugu. Dr. Ngige told the Committee that on getting to the hotel, the National Vice Chairman had checked out. However, they were able to get him on phone while he was driving out, and he (Nze Ozichukwu) stopped, where they met and discussed with him before he left. Dr. Ngige said that when they got to Awka, Chief Uba came with a list for him to sign, al1eging that it came from Nze Ozichukwu on Mr. President’s directive. Dr. Ngige recalled his question to Chief Uba, “Of what use is this list to Mr. President”.Dr. Ngige said that the answer he received was unsatisfactory, and consequent upon that he asked him to keep the list. At a later date, Chief Uba came to hin1; saying that his brother, Andy Dba called in respect of the list. Dr. Ngige said he signed the list and gave it to him since nomination had already closed.
Dr. Ngige informed the Committee that after his emergence as a candidate, he appealed to the party to allow those who ran with him in the said election to retun1 to their former positions. Hon. Chudi Offodile (from Awka Federal Constituency), Hon. Jerry Ugokwe (ldemilli North and South Federal Constituency), and Senator lkechukwu Abana benefited from this management. However, that suggestion angered Hon. Jerry Ugokwe who threatened a Court suit if he (Dr. Ngige) did not expunge his name from the list. Dr. Ngige said he expressed surprise when Chief Uba brought one Okeke as a replacement to Hon. Jerry Ugokwe, and he (Dr. Ngige) rejected, saying it was his Constituency.
Dr. Ngige denied that Chief Uba sponsored him holistically. He informed the Committee that in preparation for his campaign, he bought three brand new cars - Mercedes bus, Peugeot 504 (Bestline as pilot) and another Peugeot 504. Also, he had a Toyota lexus land cruiser and received 5 buses from his cousin. He equally told the Committee that he took care of his campaign expenses.
He narrated that he was staying in Brifina hotel, Awka during the campaign and received a discount of 20 percent from the proprietor. At Choice hotel where he stayed for about 31/2 months, Dr. Ngige said he paid all his bills. Apart from that, Dr. Ngige said that he received donations from two PDP Governors (Rivers and Delta), who are his personal friends. The Governors he said donated the sum of NI0m each for his campaign, adding that Rivers Governor gave him a 406 Peugeot car for his campaign organization.
Dr. Ngige equally stated as follows:
That he organized a fund raising dinner at Eko Le Meridien hotel Lagos, and realized the sum ofN36m in cash and in cheque;
That the fund-raising account and other monies realized for the campaign was paid into a central campaign funds, managed by Chief Uba’s cousin, who is also an accountant;
That he was not a signatory to the account. That they received donation from the legacy house a cheque amounting to N127m or Nl17m and written in his name for campaigns in Anambra State. He disclosed that he did not cash or touch the money, and did not know how it was expended.
Dr. Ngige told the Committee that he appointed Mr. Sam Okechukwu as his Agent at the Collation Centre. This he said was based on the information received from the INEC Commissioner that candidates have no business at the collation centre during elections.
He affirmed that before the elections, he began to notice funny movement. One day he came back from Onitsha and asked where his Deputy was and was told that he had gone to see the Anglican Bishop. He later joined them at the Archbishop’s house, and was shocked to see them with the former Governor, Dr. Mbadinuju who was then contesting on the platform of Alliance for Democracy.
This confirmed his earlier information that Hon. Chuma Nzeribe received money from Dr. Mbadinuju in order to support him during elections. Dr. Ngige said he lost election in lhiala (Hon. Nzeribe’s place), the Deputy Governor’s Constituency and would have lost in Oyi, the home place of the Director General of his campaign team, if not for the efforts of Nwanze, hence his conclusion was that the group did not work for him.
Dr. Ngige informed the Committee that throughout the campaign, his erstwhile Deputy did not campaign or accompany him, even when he (Dr. Ngige) went to the Deputy Governorн?s hometown, adding that he was indifferent. He recalled his meeting with Chief Uba at Akwa in May on his invitation where he alleged as follows: That Chief Uba has evidence that he (Dr. Ngige) had negotiated N2b bank loan with Lions bank. That bank officials came to him, (Chief Uba), seeking his consent as a political stalwart in the State.
Dr. Ngige said he took that as a joke, but was surprised when one day members of the National Assembly-elect from Anambra State, Okechukwu Odunze (DG Campaign) and few others confronted him on the same issue. The group did a letter to Mr. President, alleging that he (Dr. Ngige) had been implicated in a fraud. Dr. Ngige was amazed that the Deputy Governor’s signature was number one on the list, amongst those that signed the letter. This was contrary to what the Deputy Governor told him (Dr. Ngige) that he did not sign the letter. On the allegation that he was a drunkard, and was in his hotel room on the election day, Dr. Ngige said it was untrue. He told the Committee that even on the eve of the election, he transversed 12 Local Government Areas, with heavy rain.
Formation of Government
Dr. Ngige went further to state as follows:
That on a particular date, he met with Chief Uba, Hon. Chuma Nzeribe and a Reverend. That the Reverend brought a document, which allegedly came from Bishop Chukwuma. That he had known Bishop Chukwuma before. That after prayers, the document was given to him. That he signed the document when the name of the Bishop was mentioned. That he later discovered that Bishop Chukwuma did not send any document.
Dr. Ngige also narrated his experience at Nicon Hotel, Abuja. He recalled that one day, Chief Dba, Hon. Chuma Nzeribe Odunze visited him at his hotel room and demanded from him personal cheque amounting to N3b. He told the Committee that when he enquired from them how they arrived at the figure, Chief Uba and Odunze answered thus respectively:
Somebody who invested must make a profit - Chief Uba
It is our own guarantee that you will be loyal - Odunze.
Arguing that no bank can pay that wholesome amount at a time, Dr. Ngige said they asked him to break the cheques into N1.5b each. The delay in signing the cheques (amounting to N3 b) in lieu of payment to Chief Dba infuriated Hon. Chuma Nzeribe, who told him, It is either you sign or we face you tonight. At this juncture, he signed the cheques.
He also recalled that Hon. Nzeribe through a lady once told him that if he actually wanted his problems over, he (Dr. Ngige) should negotiate with him saying that he should work out an arrangement so that money would be paid into his account every month. That as a Security Adviser to the former Governor, he was receiving N30m monthly from Mbadinuju administration.
He also revealed that he stopped two (2) cheques, N11m and N37m respectively paid in Nzeribe’s name fraudulently. The payments were to be made from May-June allocation to the State from the Federation Account, adding that the entire allocation for the aforementioned months was all fraudulently shared.
Dr. Ngige told the Committee that Chief Uba made appointments into all the key positions in his government except the Office of Chief-of-Staff. He added that Chief Uba even rezoned the Office of Speaker from Anambra South to Anambra North Senatorial Zone. On the appointment of Commissioners, he told the Committee that there was an agreement to: reduce the number of Commissioners from 20 to 10; give concession to Local Governments that have not produced Governor, Deputy Governor and Speaker. It was also agreed that the Offices of the Attorney General and Commissioner of Finance attract special qualifications of SAN and Chartered Accountant respectively.
Dr. Ngige informed the Committee that when Chief Uba delayed in nominating candidates for these Offices, he (Dr. Ngige) appointed them having identified some people with the aforementioned qualifications.
Visit to Mr. President
Dr. Ngige also told the Committee as follows:
That during one of these visits to Abuja, Chief Uba told him that Mr. President wanted to see them. That in their private meeting with him, Mr. President, offered to give him advice, saying he received complaints about a frosty relationship that existed between him (Dr. Ngige) and his father.
That after listening to him, Mr. President advised him to reconcile with his father. That following a complaint he made to Mr. President against Chief Uba reporting that Chief President told Uba that as a king maker, he should take the back seat after making the king; otherwise he would be the first victim”.
Irrevocable Standing Payment Order
Speaking on this, Dr. Ngige claimed that at one of their meetings, Chief Uba wanted him to sign an Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO) in respect of his contract (the Ziks place), being handled by his company, and his refusal to sign angered Uba.
He further explained that his decision was based on the directives of the National Economic Council that conferred approval authority only on Mr. President. He said that while the crises lasted, he (Dr. Ngige) constituted the Local Government Transition Committees, and appointed PDP leaders at local level as honorary members of such committees, excluding sympathizers of the July 10 episode.
That in March 2004, he appealed to the National Secretariat of the party to conduct fresh primaries in Anambra State on the premise that the Local Goven1ment list had been mutilated and overtaken by events. At one of the expanded National Caucus meetings held in Abuja, he appealed for a review of the primaries, and the Chairman consented. That following the inconclusive primaries in the 75 to 85 percent of the Local Governments in Anambra State, the need for harmonization became imperative. That the NWC suggested the harmonization of the various lists and invited him and other stakeholders from Anambra State for the exercise.
Dr. Ngige maintained that four (4) Local Governments were not touched. That he was however surprised to read from the national dailies at a later date the unsigned list of approved Chairmanship and Councillorship candidates for the Local Government elections in Anambra State, including the four (4) Local Governments not touched during the harmonization exercise. His enquiry from the Chairman about the published list showed that the National Chairman had no knowledge about it. Dr. Ngige dubbed the list a 419 list in view of the fact that it was not signed even though it carried the name of the Publicity Secretary. That his letters to the National Secretariat on the issue were not replied. However, Alhaji Oyedokun assured that something would be done about the list. That two months later, a new list signed by the National chairman and National Secretary was sent to ANSIEC, and a copy him. That on the receipt of the copy, he complained to the National Chairman and National Secretary respectively. According him, the National Secretary said, “we are looking into it” while the National Chairman responded thus “we are coming”.
That he protested against the list,” requesting that the matter be referred to NEC in consonance with Article 21 of the party’s constitution. He informed that in the harmonized list, he conceded one of the two Local Goven1ments in Onitsha to Chief Uba, and expressed surprise that in the new list, he took all the two Local Governments. The same was the case in Awka. He (Dr. Ngige) informed that those who were coming close at Government in Anambra State had their names removed from the new list.
Dr. Ngige denied that neither himself nor the speaker submitted two lists to ANSIEC, as alleged by Uchenna Emodi.He revealed that some members of NWC have vested interest in Anambra State, affirming that some people “took women while others co.
Source: ThisDay, 19th March 2005.
Anambra: Why They Are After Me, By Ngige
Being Excerpts From Submission By His Excellency, Dr. Chris Ngige (Oon), Governor, Anambra State, To The National Investigation Panel Of The People's Democratic Party On The Anambra Crisis.
THE JOURNEY FROM PRIMARIES
I am a founding member of this our great party and have equally served meritoriously as its Assistant National Secretary/NEC member for the South-East zone from November 1999 to 2002. In November/December 2002 primaries, I set out originally to contest election into the Senate of
The Federal Republic of Nigeria, under the platform of the People's Democratic Party (PDP). I had won nomination as the party's candidate for the Anambra Central Senatorial election aforesaid when a group of stakeholders from the State including Chief Chris Uba, Professor A. B. C. Nwosu, then Health Minister, and Chief Ben Okoye approached me to run for the Governorship of Anambra State, as the then incumbent Governor, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju had been disqualified for maladministration and monumental failure.
I agreed to run and switched over to the Governorship race, subject however, to the condition that I must be allowed to render good governance to the people of Anambra State, and that this pressure group buys my nomination form. I insisted that they should buy the nomination form not because I was indigent, but because I wanted to test their seriousness and commitment to the project. It is now common knowledge that some mischief-makers have tried to make the members of the public believe that this was due to my indigence. Chief Ben Okoye eventually purchased the form and at the time he did Chief Chris Uba did not know that I had obtained and turned in the form and so was still canvassing my support for either the then incumbent Governor Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju or the then Secretary to the State Government, Prince O. C. Ezenwa. Hon. Tim Egboka is a living witness to this fact. This was an earlier sign of Chief Chris Uba's double standard, which I failed to capture because I trusted and believed him.
I was screened in Abuja because I was indisposed on the day the screening of the other Governorship aspirants for the South-East zone was conducted in Enugu. A full panel of the National Working Committee (NWC) screened me. It is pertinent to note that this privilege was accorded me by virtue of the fact that I made a formal application to this effect with an accompanying medical report. This convinced the members of the NWC, hence I was duly screened on the 27th December, 2002.
THE GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION PROPER.
I started my campaign that traversed all the local government areas of the State. I won the governorship election convincingly. I wish to state categorically that I did not engage in the rigging of any election, neither did I instruct anybody to do so on my behalf. I was also not connected (remotely or otherwise) to any election malpractice anywhere in the State. I polled 452,800 valid votes.
Our party lost the election in Ihiala Local Government Area of Hon. Chuma Nzeribe, because he compromised with the former Governor, Dr Chinwoke Mbadinuju, who is also from the same Local Government Council, for pecuniary gains.
We also lost in the Orumba North, the Local Government Area of my former Deputy Governor, Dr Okey Udeh, as he did not campaign nor was he ever interested in campaigning. We equally lost in Nnewi North Local Government Area of Chief Dan Ulasi, the former Caretaker chairman who at that time was a member and Chieftain of ANPP and worked for the interest of the ANPP candidates. We lost Idemili North Local Government Area as the acting Chairman Barrister Ifeatu Obi- Okoye and Honourable Jerry Ugokwe fraudulently appropriated the money I allocated to them for the governorship election and went home to sleep, since Hon Jerry Ugokwe had won his seat in the Federal House of Representatives. However, in all, I won the cumulative votes and the necessary spread for me to be declared the winner of the election.
As previously stated, I do not wish to get involved in the controversy of who won the 2003 Governorship election, or whether the election was rigged, as was purportedly confessed by Chris Uba to both the President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and our Party Chairman Chief Audu Ogbeh, since the matter is a subject before the Anambra State Election Tribunal - a superior Court of record and therefore is a matter subjudice. However for the avoidance of doubt, I wish to state once more that I had never told any body that I did not win the Governorship election in Anambra State. Anyone who holds a contrary view therefore is advised to proceed to the election Tribunal sitting in Awka and testify in consonance with Section 131 of Electoral Act.
FUNDS FOR THE ELECTION
At the commencement of the election project various sums of money were realised as follows:
(i) Engr. Dan Nzelu, former MD of PPMC made a donation of N400m (four hundred million Naira).
(ii)My friends organized a fund-raising dinner for me in Lagos. Over N30 million was realized on the spot. Subsequent cheques realized was in excess of N100 million.
(iii) Our party's subvention to me as the gubernatorial candidate was N127 million. The cheque for this amount was paid in tranches from the PDP Legacy House Abuja. Curiously and strangely, Chief Chris Uba and my former Deputy Governor, Dr. Okey Udeh, collected these cheques written out in my name, purportedly on my behalf, and fraudulently converted the monies. These monies never got to the campaign funds as they (Chief Chris Uba and Dr. Okey Udeh) claimed immediate cash from the banks' counterpart branches in Onitsha, especially Habib Bank.
(iv) Stakeholders from the respective 21 LGAs of Anambra State donated over N100 million.
(v) Members of Idemili Forum also organized a fund raising on my behalf, in which over N30 million was realized.
(vi) Some of my friends-State Governors donated handsomely to the campaign.
It is clear from the above that over N700m (Seven hundred million Naira) was realized from the afore-mentioned sources for my gubernatorial project. This is exclusive of individuals who donated large sums of money to the campaign fund. All these monies were handed over to Chief Chris Uba.
As I write today, many people have been inundating me with photocopies of cheques given to Chief Chris Uba and Hon. Chuma Nzeribe for my electioneering campaign. These monies run into big millions. I am told that so many cannot reach me to present their cases. Some of them out of the mistaken belief that I had been given their money and that refused to pay back with the "promised" Commissionership appointments are now fighting me, albeit ignorantly.
From conservative estimation, the funds expended on the gubernatorial election in Anambra State, from primaries to election proper, was not up to N300 million. One has been constantly at a loss as to what happened to the balance of the above-stated amount. Yet there is this spurious and bloated claim of sole sponsorship of the elections by Chief Uba. It is also important to note that the monies stated above were paid into Chief Chris Uba's bank account, of which he was the sole signatory and therefore, manager of the funds. He also made expenses from the funds without consultations. Some of his expenses, which he disclosed to me later turned out to be over bloated. For example, the claim for the Gubernatorial Primaries' expenses to the Chairman and Secretary of the Committee.
I had in my oral submission narrated to you how the transition period after the election was conducted. A transition committee was put in place to fashion out the policies of the in-coming administration. We initially tried as much as possible to adhere strictly to the recommendations of that committee. For example, the committee recommended that our Executive Committee should not be over-bloated as the executive of the previous administration. Also recommended by the committee were policies on such sectors like heath and education, industries and market administration, following the blue print I gave and the numerous easily identifiable problems on ground.
However, on the personnel content of the administration, Chief Chris Uba made an unwarranted departure from the recommendations of the committee to the effect that only qualified, competent and tested persons, politicians and technocrats, be appointed to serve in Government. He thereupon grabbed all positions and forced the appointment of persons with either scanty or no qualifications and experience, relying on an "agreement" which he claimed was signed and which made him the sole owner of the Government.
Apart from the first agreement from a Clergyman, who claimed to be acting on behalf of Bishop Chukwuma of Anglican Diocese of Enugu, and that which Chief Chris Uba claimed President Olusegun Obasanjo asked me to sign on PDP candidature, and which was corroborated by his brother, Mr. Andy Ubah, other agreements were either obtained under duress with Mr. Chuma Nzeribe, his hatchet man, wielding guns and other dangerous weapons, or were forged, including two cheques for the sum of 3 billion naira. These positions, which he grabbed, are in the first 2 weeks of the administration are:
i. Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Uchenna Emordi (an indicted Acting General-Manager of the failed Orient Bank)
ii. Special Adviser on Special Duties, "Dr" Okechukwu Odunze
iii. Principal Secretary to the Governor, Dr Amanchukwu Ezike (medical Doctor without any prior experience of the administration of Government)
iv. ADC to the Governor
v. Chief Detail to the Governor
vi. Speaker, Anambra State House of Assembly
vii. Deputy Speaker, Anambra State House of Assembly
viii. Majority Leader, Anambra State House of Assembly
ix. Accountant-General of the State.
The only appointment that I made was that of Chief of Personal Staff, and even this was viciously resisted by Chief Chris Uba. It even generated a big furor.
Once they settled into office, these persons appointed by Chief Chris Uba made it a duty to always photocopy Government's official and confidential documents which they passed same to him, all with a view to causing instability and confusion in the Government, as he had assured them that he would soon remove me as Governor. They were urged on in their ungodly mission by my former Deputy Governor, who never sat in the office of the Deputy Governor to work for one day after our swearing in. The high point of this perfidy, was the signing, on the orders of Chief Chris Uba, of an Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO) of N10 million monthly for 67 months, in his favour, from Anambra State's share of the Federation Account-a period beyond the life of this administration.
Chief Uba's excesses, recklessness and undue interference in the day-to-day running of Government climaxed when he colluded with Mr. Chuma Nzeribe to re-deploy without my knowledge, consent or authorization, 72 members of staff of the Government House, Awka, including the Permanent Secretary, Chief Uche Udedibia. This was done while I was away on official duties in Abuja. This, they also attributed to the "agreement" which they claimed they had in their possession authorizing Chief Chris Ubah to be in charge of Government and myself an Administrator.
From the foregoing, I stand to challenge Chief Chris Uba to inform the world on what led to the July 10 abduction and in which manner did I breach any of the agreements relating to appointment.
JULY 10, 2003 EPISODE
Not satisfied with his firm grip of the reins of Government, Chief Chris Uba still went ahead to sponsor the infamous abduction saga of July 10, 2003, when I was abducted at gun-point and almost killed by policemen, led by the Late AIG Raphael Ige, all in an attempt to forcefully cause me to resign.
Despite this heinous act of treason for which the perpetrators should have been arrested and prosecuted, the party ruled that it was a family affair and only managed to direct
the expulsion of certain individuals from the party, viz: Chief Chris Uba, Sen. I. K. Abana, Hon. Chuma Nzeribe, Mrs. Eucharia Azodo, etc.
POST JULY, 10 2003
Chief Chris Uba persisted in his demonstration of bad faith, greed. Avarice, perfidy and double standard and was unrelenting in his efforts to force me out of office at all cost. Therefore, on July 22, 2003, Chief Chris Ubah's protŽgŽ, Dr. Okey Udeh, approached the Federal High Court, Abuja, presided over by Justice Wilson Egbo-Egbo and obtained an Ex-parte order restraining me from exercising my official and constitutional functions as Governor of Anambra State, and further mandated my deputy, Dr. Okey Udeh to assume my position. Following the public outcry, Justice Egbo-Egbo told the world the next day that he signed the order without adverting his mind to its content and thereafter vacated the order. The Anambra State House of Assembly subsequently impeached Dr. Okey Udeh. There were other suits, some of them very frivolous, obnoxious and vexatious, which were instituted by numerous individuals at the instance of Chief Chris Uba all aimed at removing me from office on the strength of a purported resignation letter e.g. suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/364/2003 instituted by Engr. Emeka Okeke, Mrs. Eucharia Azodo, Chief Ivy Obi-Okoye etc.
I wish to state categorically that I never resigned my position as Governor of Anambra State. The issue of my purported resignation was conclusively dealt with by the Anambra State High Court presided over by the Honourable Justice F. C. Nwizu who declared in a well considered judgment that "the purported letter of resignation dated 9th July, 2003, said to have been signed by me, is a false document and pro tanto null and void."
The fate of Justice Wilson Egbo-Egbo is too familiar to be restated here. Meanwhile, it became obvious that Chief Uba's resolve was to make Anambra State ungovernable if he could not remove me from office. He boasted at every stage that my removal was only a matter of time as Mr. President is in support of all he is doing. This was the state of affairs before some Igbo Leaders led by Senate President Adolphus Wabara and Governor Achike Udenwa chose to intervene.
OWERRI PEACE ACCORD
A Committee of Igbo Leaders was jointly convened by His Excellency, the Senate President Senator Adolphus Wabara, and His Excellency Chief Achike Udenwa, the Governor of Imo State in Owerri, with a view to finding lasting solution to this apparently intractable problem in Anambra state. The Committee was
dubbed "Ndigbo Peace and Reconciliation Committee". The resolution of that Committee culminated in the agreement popularly known as the "Owerri
Accord." The Accord was reached after protracted negotiation on the side of Chief Chris Uba and myself, along with our various supporters. The high points of the Accord was that:
a. Chief Chris Uba should steer clear of Anambra State Government business.
b. The Governor should appoint a new Deputy Governor from the same political zone with the former Deputy Governor, which is the Old Aguata Union (OAU) sub-zone of Anambra State.
c. Certain number of Commissionership and Special Adviser positions in Government should be allocated to members of Chief Chris Uba's group, with the chairmanship of SPEB reserved for the former SSG, Mr. Uchenna Emordi.
d. The State House of Assembly to reconsider commuting the impeachment of Dr. Okey Udeh to resignation.
e. All cases in court be withdrawn, among other resolutions. Copy of the Owerri Accord is hereby attached as Annex 1.
In keeping faith with the resolution of the Accord, I reserved the positions allotted to the Uba group and on several occasions requested Chief Chris Ubah to forward their nominees for the appointments. (see Owerri Accord documents attached).
Interestingly, while we were burning nocturnal candles in Owerri aimed at achieving lasting peace, Chief Ubah was fine-tuning plans to remove me from office. To this end, on December 18, 2003, he hired one Hon. Nelson Achukwu, a member of the Anambra State House of Assembly, to file an action at the Enugu High Court and by December 24, 2003, Mr. Achukwu was granted an EX-PARTE order for the accelerated hearing of his case.
This matter, which was commenced on December 18, 2003, was concluded on January 2, 2004 and was presided over by the now dismissed Justice Stanley Nnaji (I am reliably informed by my lawyers that December 24-January 2, is a non-juridical period-that is-a period when the courts are barred from sitting under the rules governing both the Anambra and Enugu High Courts). On January 2, 2004, this judge, even though clearly lacking in jurisdiction and without representation by my legal team, made a spurious order for my removal from office, which was in flagrant disregard of the provisions of the Constitution
of Nigeria. In the obedience of this order, my police security was withdrawn from January 4, 2004 to November 30, 2004, thereby exposing me, my family, my government to undue danger. In the process, police security protection was denied to government offices and establishment.
Our dear party swung into action again, called it a family affair and directed reconciliation. Mr. President ruled that the Police were obeying a court order and that until the order was vacated I would remain without police protection, even when an interim order was made by the Court of Appeal, Enugu, that Justice Nnaji's order should not be obeyed. It is pertinent to note that this action of Nelson Achukwu with Chris Uba's support scuttled the Owerri Accord. Also worthy of note is that the judge who made this spurious order has since been dismissed from the judiciary.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS' LIST
The PDP conducted local government elections primaries for her candidates in Anambra State in 2002. Two National officers were delegated to do this by the National Working Committee, contrary to the PDP Constitution, which ascribed the functions of setting up all committees, including Election committees, on the National Executive Committee, NEC. (see Article 14 sub-section 16L).
The two officers-Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun and Mr. Venatius Ikem then co-opted Alhaji Yelwa and Otunba Ilupeju (Oyedokun's Personal Assistant). The National Vice chairman (South-East), Mr. Fidelis Ozichukwu Chukwu then foisted himself on the committee in Anambra State, even while his home state, Imo, had her own problems at the time (Anambra is always regarded as a Gold mine by party officials).
They came to Anambra and, as was expected, because of their vested interest and commercialization of the exercise, conducted INCONCLUSIVE primaries in 90 percent of the LGAs. They returned to Abuja and invited my predecessor (Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju), who had also commercialized the positions by asking some candidates to pay as much as N10 million to either his office or to Chief Chris Ubah who at the time was working closely with him. Even at that, before my predecessor left office the list remained inconclusive because of some disagreement between him and Chief Chris Ubah, on the one side, and Chief Emeka Offor's Anambra Peoples Forum (APF) on the other. The list was later abandoned when the Local Government elections were not conducted in 2002. In its stead the gubernatorial/NASS elections became the issue for late 2002 into early 2003. At the expanded caucus meeting held in the Presidential Villa in early January 2004 to discuss the Local Government election, all PDP-controlled States agreed on the March 27, 2004 date and also that 2002 candidates be fielded except where they have performed badly as Transition Committee Chairmen, left PDP for other parties, or died. On the peculiar situation of Anambra State i.e. the inconclusive primaries and for the fact that my predecessor left for AD with some people whose names were on the list, the caucus permitted the conduct of fresh primaries. The NWC counseled a harmonization of the lists of candidates and consensus between Chief Ubah and me with other stakeholders as a way of dousing tension in the State.
Whilst this exercise was on-going and I protesting the presence of the National Chairman, South-East, Mr. Fidelis O. Chukwu, because of his vested interest in the list, we adjourned on the understanding that the exercise continue after the 2004 Easter holidays. I and other PDP faithful were therefore understandably shocked to see a list purportedly published by the National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Venatius Ikem, in the Vanguard of April 9, 2004, and other national dailies. (see copy of list attached marked Annex II). I made efforts to contact some members of the NWC, namely, the National Chairman, Deputy Chairman (South), National Auditor and National Woman Leader, and they all expressed surprise that the NWC did not discuss nor authorize him (Ikem) to publish the purported list for Anambra State. I then wrote to the National Chairman to complain about the list and circulated the petition to all NWC members. (see copy of petition attached marked Annex III). My petition did not get any response from the party National secretariat.
The National Chairman however promised that the petition would be discussed as the issues raised therein were very weighty. Till date, I was not invited for any discussion. Instead, at the stakeholders' meeting of Anambra PDP called in July 2004, to discuss the issue, among others, for a peaceful resolution of the Anambra matter, the NWC promised to invite us again for the sole purpose of harmonizing the LG election list. This was NOT done. Instead, the National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Venatius Ikem re-published the same list earlier published in the April 9, 2004 editions of Vanguard and This day newspapers on August 23, 2004 for the Local Government elections billed for December 18, 2004.
This time, the National Vice Chairman (South-east) took the list to the National Chairman and National Secretary and hoodwinked them into signing the list on the erroneous belief that the harmonized list had been resolved. At this point,
though, they sent me a copy and also copied the Chairman of Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission (ANSIEC). Of course, I petitioned and
requested the National Chairman and NWC to thread the path of Constitutionality by asking that in conformity with Article 21 of our party Constitution, that the case be taken to the National Executive Committee (NEC)-the highest organ after the convention-for adjudication. They still remained adamant. I was and still at
a loss why our sacred document in the party, the Constitution, was jettisoned for selfish interests of a few.
ELECTION OF A NEW PDP CHAIRMAN FOR ANAMBRA STATE
I had discussed this extensively, but for the records I had stated that the position of State chairman, PDP Anambra State, became vacant following the defection of the then chairman, Mr. Don Onochie, with the former Governor, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju. Mr. Onochie was elected at the State PDP Congress which
held on 12th July, 2002. As a result, the PDP National Secretary, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor had as a follow up to an earlier decision reached
by the NWC and the stakeholders from Anambra State on 21st June, 2004, wrote to ask the court-reinstated State Exco to elect a new State chairman vide Article 18 (4) of the PDP Constitution.
The zonal Vice Chairman, Mr. Fidelis O. Chukwu, who has been inflaming the whole crisis in Anambra State (as a paid political consultant to Chief Chris Ubah), drew up a State Exco list with the Acting State Chairman, Mr. Ifeatu Obi-Okoye. This new list excluded about 39 persons (18 PDP LG chairmen and 21 State officers/Ex-Officio members) who were members of the State Exco.
Three of these officers, namely, Princess Onyesoh (Woman Leader), Chief Oguguo Nwosu (State Financial Secretary) and Barr. Emma Obele (Asst. Legal Adviser), went to court to protest their exclusion from the State Exco for the selection of a State chairman. The court granted their request for an injunction for the election meeting not to hold till the issues they raised in the court were addressed (see the court order Annex IV). It is interesting to note that I was made a defendant in the suit. Later Chief Chris Ubah, aided by some members of the National Working Committee (principally Mr. Ozichukwu F. Chukwu) went to NICON Hilton hotel, Abuja, with some fake delegates to elect Mr. Uchenna Emordi chairman PDP, Anambra State, the plaintiffs returned to the same court and got the process of Emordi's selection or election quashed and reverted everybody to status-quo ante (see court ruling attached as Annex V).
It is interesting too to note that the party (PDP) was duly represented in this suit and even filed an Appeal against the ruling by this same court at the Court of Appeal, Enugu. I, as Governor, decided to obey this order of a court of competent jurisdiction in Anambra State as one of the defendants. This was why I brought the order to the attention of the 23rd NEC meeting of the party, resulting in NEC obeying too and asking both Emordi and Chief Fred Oduah to
keep off the meeting. Mr. Emodi is not the bonafide Chairman nor Dr. Oduah according to the 23rd NEC meeting decision to obey the Court order.
NOVEMBER 2004 MAYHEM
The climax of this charade was the unprecedented and unprovoked terrorist attack and invasion of the State by political thugs and hoodlums hired by Chief Chris Uba. Between November 10-12, 2004, these miscreants and hoodlums embarked on wanton destruction of government properties. In the process, bombs and dynamites were freely used. (see attached list of Government properties destroyed, marked Exhibit I) This was apparently done with the belief that it would generate violence and chaos sufficient to make Mr. President declare a State of Emergency in Anambra State.
The damage is in excess of N30 billion for which the State Government shall be unable to redress and rebuild. If what the panel truly seeks to achieve is lasting peace in Anambra State, I urge that the Federal Government be prevailed upon to come to the aid of the State to reconstruct and rebuild all the destroyed infrastructure. Chief Chris Ubah and his friends like Hon. Chuma Nzeribe and Chief Dan Ulasi peddle and drop the name of Mr. President everywhere, telling anybody who cared to listen that the President assured them that he would remove me through the declaration of the State of Emergency in Anambra State or force me to resign.
CHARACTERS/PERSONS BENEFITING FROM THE CRISIS
Certain persons benefit from the crisis in Anambra State and have never wished it to abate. Those people are:
a. Mr. Fidelis Ozichukwu Chukwu (see his paid advertorial)
b. Mr. Venatius Ikem
c. Mr. Chuma Nzeribe
d. Chief Dan Ulasi
e. Mr. Uchenna Emordi
f. Dr. Okey Udeh
g. Hon. Jerry Ugokwe
I will expatiate on their individual roles and how they benefit from the continuing crisis if needed"
Chief Chris Uba and his group have been bandying all manner of documents, including cheques, financial agreements, appointments and resignation letters claiming that I signed them.
A bizarre feature of these purported agreements is that, apart from the two afore-mentioned agreements Chief Chris Uba obtained from me in the name of Mr. President, the rest were either forged, like the purported letter of resignation dated July 9, 2003, or were obtained under extreme duress. It is however worthy of note that a High Court of competent jurisdiction has ruled that the so-called letter of resignation was forged.
Finally, may I reiterate that I won the April 19, 2003 Governorship election in Anambra State squarely and the matter is presently before the Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka.
I never resigned my position as the Governor of Anambra State neither in April 2003 nor at any other time and do not intend to do so. While I welcome peace, I make bold to state that it must be such that is founded on justice and equity, and most importantly, should reflect the wishes of the people of Anambra State.
Please accept the assurances of highest regards and consideration from myself and the good people of Anambra State.
DR. CHRIS NWABUEZE NGIGE, OON
GOVERNOR, ANAMBRA STATE.
We Can't Unseat Ngige, Says INEC
From Mohammed Abubakar, Abuja
THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday declared that it had no power to unseat the Anambra State governor, Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige, his expulsion from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) notwithstanding.
The declaration, according to the electoral umpire, is, however, without prejudice to the validity or otherwise, of the expulsion.
The INEC's position was contained in a statement yesterday by its Public Affairs Director, Steve Osemeke.
The PDP had on March 10 expelled the governor and his estranged godfather, Chris Uba, after a long-drawn strife. The party thereafter notified the INEC of its action, and sought the declaration of the seat vacant.
But INEC yesterday said it had no power to accede to the PDP's request. The statement by Osemeke reads:
"On March 10, 2005, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) received a letter from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) informing it of the expulsion of Dr. Chris Ngige, the Governor of Anambra State from the party, while urging 'necessary action' by the Commission. Copies of the letter were apparently made available to media houses as the expulsion was widely reported.
"Having considered the issue of the expulsion of Dr. Ngige, the Commission is of the opinion that it has no legal role to play regarding his continued stay or otherwise in office as the Governor of Anambra State. Neither the Constitution nor any law empowers the Commission to remove, suspend or in any way interfere with the office of a governor once elected."
The electoral body continued: "For the avoidance of doubt, the commission wishes to state without equivocation that is has no power to declare vacant the seat of a governor or any elected official elected into any office established by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
"This public statement has become necessary because of the intense interest and heat, which the issue has generated. It must be emphasised however, that the statement is without prejudice to the legality or otherwise of the expulsion of Dr. Ngige by his party and the interpretation of the law on the issue by the Courts."
The Anambra State governor on Wednesday last week dragged the PDP and INEC before an Abuja Federal High Court challenging his expulsion from the party.
By the action, Ngige wants to establish that no political party in Nigeria has any authority by its own internal arrangement to remove a serving governor duly elected into office after a general election under the universal adult suffrage principle.
Ngige through the state Attorney-General, Nnoruka Udechukwu (SAN), approached the court challenging the action of the party. He asked for an order of injunction restraining the defendants jointly and severally, whether acting in person or through privies from taking any further steps affecting the Office of the Governor of Anambra State based on the letter of the first Defendant (PDP) purporting to "expel" Ngige, from the PDP, or otherwise initiating any process for the removal of Ngige, from office.
The governor is seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the PDP and INEC from taking any step affecting the office of the governor based on the letter written to him expelling him from the party.
Ngige is also asking the court to halt PDP from initiating any process that will culminate in his removal as the chief executive of Anambra State on the context of the letter of expulsion.
According to Udechukwu, a governor once elected into office can only be removed in a manner prescribed in the constitution and not otherwise.
The Attorney-General further argued that the expulsion of the governor from his party per se is not a ground for removing a governor from office under the 1999 Constitution.
No date has been fixed for the hearing.
Meanwhile, as different political parties continue to woo Ngige to join their fold, he has stated that he had not made up his mind on which party to go with.
Source: The Guardian, 23rd March 2005.
The Dirty Game in Anambra State
By Aduegbe .G. Ezebilo
When the former military governor of the then Kaduna State, Colonel Abubakar Umar wrote an open letter to President Olusegun Obasanjo early last year describing the president as an agent of evil, little did the likes of Dr. Chris Ngige know how close the retired colonel was to stating the obvious. It is possible that the rapport between the father and son was still cordial then and that Dr. Ngige may have been one of the many Nigerians that castigated the retired colonel for using such words on the President. The recent happenings have not only confirmed to the governor that the president is indeed an agent of evil but something more influential and powerful than a mere agent.
The embattled Governor Chris Ngige and his erstwhile political godfather, Chris Uba once again re-surfaced to the front burner of political discourse recently. The matter this time is not about the abduction of the governor as was the case in 2003, but what I call political terrorism and conspiracy of silence among his party members and the tyrants in the presidency. Their party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) recently announced their expulsion from its fold over their roles in the political quagmire that has held the state bound since 2003.
The latest twist in the Anambra tale is a clear indication that those bent on having the governor removed from office would never rest until such is realised. After failing to forcefully remove Ngige from office on July 10, 2003, his adversaries have again adopted a more ingenious, painstaking, well-orchestrated and ruthless approach in their quest to see him out of the Government House.
However, the game plan took a longer time to unfold due to the fact that the party’s immediate past chairman, Chief Audu Ogbeh was opposed to it. Indeed, President Obasanjo, trying to deny what everybody knows was true, alluded to this in his reply to Ogbeh’s criticism of his handling of the Anambra crisis in an open letter that sparked a war of words between the two.
Although many Nigerians regarded the face-off between the president and his party’s chairman to be the continuing contest for the control of the party between Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar, it was a face-off that had its roots in the Anambra political crisis.
Ogbeh in the open letter to the President on December 11, 2004 had observed that due to poor handling of the Anambra crisis “we (PDP government) are perceived in the worst light by an angry, scornful Nigerian public for the reasons which are absolutely unnecessary.”
The President’s response was an angry and stern reply. Recounting every “attempt” he had made at resolving the Anambra crisis, he said rather than him, Ogbeh it was that should be blamed for the continuing crisis in the Southeastern state due to his deliberate inaction. With this, it was clear that Ogbeh’s days in office were numbered. Dripping with righteous indignation, and pontificating from a moral high-horse, he accused Ogbeh of being an accessory to crime for refusing to act even when Uba had confessed to the rigging of election in Anambra State.
The president by this statement forgot that he may initiating a battle that may be consume even him considering that he and Governor Chris Ngige are products of the same factory (the unfairest and unfreest election in the history of Nigeria).
After his response, the President immediately went into action applying all machinery at his disposal to remove the Benue-born politician from office as the party chairman. Ogbeh was immediately after swept away. This was after Ngige and Uba had been suspended from the party and a kangaroo committee headed by the Osun State governor was set up to probe the Anambra State crisis.
And the one man who saw the danger this move posed to him was Ngige. Speaking in Lagos, the battle-hardened Anambra governor likened the PDP to a pregnant woman who does not know what she would be delivered of. The pregnant woman has now delivered and the baby is this expulsion from the party. To prepare the ground for his expulsion and perhaps place a moral burden on the governor, two out of the three senators from Anambra State who, like Ngige and the president, were beneficiaries of the same fraudulent election that got them into office, have had their elections upturned by the tribunals at the instance of the powers that be and their seats lost. The same thing is also happening in the House of Representatives where the likes of Chudi Ofodile have had their elections upturned. One of the affected senators from my constituency, Anambra Central, Emmanuel Anosike has in very unambigous terms, insisted that he lost his seat because of his support for Ngige. With Ogbeh finally bowing out of office and a successor in the person of Col. Ahmadu Ali named, it was time to hit the governor harder. And has been speculated, Ali’s first assignment was the announcement of the expulsion.
Although his election was made possible by the powerful members of the ruling PDP who are touted to be the president’s boys, Nigerians can swear that the over-grown hands of President Obasanjo are visible in his appointment. Ahmadu Ali, aka “Ali must go”, ex-soldier and former minister of education under the regime of Obasanjo is not embracing a come-and shop situation as usual. He has in his bare hands a well-written script, highlight of which is the expulsion of the governor from the party and subsequently the Government House. The new chairman has in his hands also a very difficult task which is to convince Nigerians that he is neutral and the only means he can achieve this is by checkmating the overbearing nature of the party leader, President Obasanjo, whose words have not only become law but that which must be enforced to the letter, even to the detriment of the party, its members and the generality of Nigerians.
It is common knowledge today that the president has failed the nation by drifting from his constitutional responsibilities into dirty politics. Federal roads are a sorry sight. There are no industries to accommodate the teeming graduates yearly graduating from our polytechnics and universities. The issue of electricity and power supply has become a thing of the past. There is also the worrisome nature of public security, joblessness and the rampant cases of assassination of critics of government policies. He is also expected to tackle the vexed issue in Anambra State, which has already polarised the party into several factions. Firstly, the report of Oyinlola panel, which operated in kangaroo method, should be discarded without delay while Governor Ngige should be allowed to serve his remaining tenure in the interest of development in Anambra State. This way, Ali will be able to convince Nigerians that he is afterall a distinguished gentleman.
Although the expulsion of the governor does not at the moment affect his office, once a person contests an election and is duly elected a governor, his own party cannot remove him. The danger posed by his expulsion is that his own party may gang up and do him at the tribunal. He is in a very dangerous situation.
The governor had earlier lamented that he was surrounded in the state by “a ring of very dangerous men. They have the police; the state security service and they have thugs too. So, where do you start? I found myself in this web”. Uba later corroborated this statement when thugs mobilised by his group moved into the State House and destroyed everything destroyable. Government property was set ablaze and people who perpetrated this act of lawlessness are still today walking tall on the streets under federal protection (the police). Since there is no limit to which the satanic agents could go; it is obvious that the expulsion of Uba along with Ngige was only a smoke screen. Ngige is the intended target.
Certainly nobody should expect Ngige to go down without a fight. Already, he had given indication of the testy days that lie ahead. The governor in a statement issued by his senior special assistant on media and publicity, Fred Chukwuelobe, described his expulsion as unconstitutional, just as he gave indication of his likelihood to seek redress in court.
Source: NewAge, 23rd March 2005.