By MAXWELL EZE, Abakaliki
The November 29th 2014 primaries for the House of Assembly aspirants under the umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ebonyi State has become an eye opener to the politicians and observers of the new born polity in the area.
A few hours to the primaries, the state governor, Chief Martin Elechi suddenly acted as the Publicity Secretary of the PDP announcing that the primaries scheduled to hold across the country on that 29th would not hold in the State as it had been cancelled. Conversely, the Acting State chairman of the party, Chief Onwe Joseph Onwe was on the federal government owned Unity FM, announcing that the primaries would hold urging his members to participate in the exercise, a development that put to question when the governor turned the spokesman of the party.
Uncertain as to how much the people believed the governor, the state government saw the monthly clean-up exercise as a chance of thwarting the exercise, announcing that any person or persons caught outside before 10.00 am would be dealt with. About 85 people, most of them suspected to have gone out to participate in the PDP primaries were arrested.
As soon as it was 10.00am the Ebonyi PDP faithful, enemas moved to the party secretariat located along the Abakaliki/ Enugu expressway, only to find the place barricade with imported thugs on guard.
The situation was solved when they were told to go to another venue, Pinnacle Hotels, a few poles from the PDP secretariat where the five-man team sent by the National Working Committee (NWC) were seated with the materials for the election intact. The team was led by Senator Ben Collin Ndu as Chairman, Hajia Yela, member, Rt. Hon. Simon Dogari, San Mohammed Aminu, Alh.Aliyu Bindawa, member/secretary.
The sight of the panel brewed instantaneous jubilation in the camp of those who had waited to have the election conducted whereas those who were believed to have preferred to have it cancelled on the account that they would lose should they go ahead with the primaries saw it as frustration. Many observers of the trend saw it as an implicit boycott of the governor’s camp from the exercise as it was suggested that it was more honourable to stage such boycott than to participate in the election that they were sure of utter defeat.
The turnout at the venue was unprecedented in the records of political gathering in the state. Apart from those who had come to participate in the exercise, observers turned to be more in numbers, just like a
crowd that could have made a better mega rally foe President Goodluck Jonathan in Ebonyi State. The situation created the problem of crowd control hence the security was beefed up with armoured personnel carrier stationed at the entrance to the venue.
So, the PDP team set to work, with observers, journalists, the police, the SSS, INEC seated while the materials were shared. After receiving their material, the officers guarded by security men zoomed
off to their various units where the elections held. At the various units, the elections went on successfully without hitches as was attested to by the observers and news newsmen who monitored the
Surprisingly, the governor, Chief Elechi is said to be agitating that the peacefully conducted November 1st and 8th congresses which graduated to the last Saturday’s exercise should be set aside. This brings to clear question as to where the governor wants to lead the state to, backward or to anarchy, where elections of these magnitude would be conducted and to his knowledge only for the governor to turn
back asking for quash of the exercise merely because Ebonyi people no longer want to be led by the nose, but to elect their people of choice than endorsement by one person.
It was also out of this highhandedness that the wife of a governorship aspirant, Senator Ofia Nwali and 27 other council officers were sacked because they said no to imposition of candidates by the governor.
Already, new Coordinators have been appointed and sworn in by the governor without having them screen by the state house of assembly, like a case of lawlessness.
The problem arising from a situation where the governor said he had recognition for Mr. Blaise Orji as the Speaker of the state house of Assembly against the elected Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Chukwuma
Nwazunku, whose sin is that he insisted that the governor should duly account for the expenditure of N16.5 billion Bond he borrowed from the Nigerian Stock Exchange before seeking for another N15 billion Bond at the twilight of this administration.
The Ebonyi people are by the day becoming more disappointed with these turn of events, more so as even executive council members lawmakers are forced to sign documents for the purpose of giving teeth to impunity, a development that is worsened with the sight of many unfinished projects.
The recount has put to question certain acts and schemes that had all along been left asleep.
1. We are at a loss as to how the Ofurekpe water scheme embarked upon by the Governor Elechi-led administration at its inception in 2007 flew from the estimated cost of one billion naira (NIb) to N7.8b. Even as one could accept that there could be cases of variations, how could it be that even with such differentials, there is no hope of drinking water from the scheme till the end of this administration as nothing again is being done on the project to justify such expenditure of the Ebonyi people’s fund? The Governor had on the floor of the 24-member Ebonyi State House of Assembly apologised for his failed promise that our people would drink water from the scheme last year. Is someone
taking his people for a ride?
2. A multi-million naira rice parboiling machine meant for the none-functional billion naira rice mills is still missing without any admissible account but deceit that the machine is on the high seas sailing towards the Nigerian shores. Can the ship arrive before May 29th 2015 or shall we continue in the rigmarole (ashi ashi)?
3. For what reason was the Abakaliki/Enugu expressway which the federal government awarded to the renowned SETRACO construction firm has a section of it terminated and re-awarded by a state government that cries of porosity of funds. Now the project has been abandoned. Is anybody playing games?
4. The NIGERCEM, Nkalagu, the foremost cement manufacturing firm in the south East geo-political zone of Nigeria was at least operational during the previous administration of Dr. Sam OminyinEgwu but went moribund shortly after Chief Elechi took over as the governor of the state. Those who laboured to rehabilitate the firm have been unreservedly frustrated and traditional rulers who welcomed them have
been dethroned by the incumbent administration. What could be the reasons for these but the veiled economic and political interests of the government whose allies and siblings are believed to be the
Directors and benefactors of the death of the NIGERCEM?
5. M&J Construction firm has handled about half of the contracts awarded to local contactors since the inception of this administration. A reveal of those who own the company would explain why shoddy jobs could have been granted certificates of completion and the poor tax payers’ money released to them.
6. Worst still, the demand of N15billion from the Nigerian Stock Exchange by the Elechi-led administration has thrown spanners into the wheels of the state polity degenerating to alleged impeachments and counter impeachment in the state House of Assembly, merely because some persons including the Speaker of the House have call on the executive arm of the government to explain how the first Bond of N16.5 billion was spent without any evident success in the execution of the projects it was tied to. Does anybody want to further mortgage the state?
7. Obviously, answers to these few questions would tell us who is robbing Ebonyi State as the quest to contest elections to serve a people anywhere in the whole world has remained a constitutional
right, not armed robbery. God shall save and bless us with the Governor we need.