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LAGOS, NIGERIA.     Friday, July 18 2003





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Uba, others show tapes of Ngiges resignation

  • I will expose PDP, expelled member threatens

  • In Anambra, Politics is business, says Odunze

    THE crisis surrounding the abduction and attempt to remove from office of the Anambra State Governor, Chris Ngige heightened in dramatic tenor yesterday with key characters in the saga presenting heaps of documents and video tapes as evidence that Ngige had actually resigned several times even before he was ever sworn in as Governor.

    It was all at the sitting of the Senate Special Ad-hoc Committee investigating the Anambra crises.

    According to the dramatics personae, led by the State Deputy Governor, Okey Udeh and business mogul Chris Uba, Ngige's refusal to resign after being sworn in was a breach of agreements reached before his swearing in, which included the swearing to an oath at a local shrine.

    In fact, one member of the group and a member of the House of Representatives Mr. Chuma Nzeribe threatened that should Ngige continue to malign the group that facilitated his ascension to governorship power, the group might be forced to "wash the dirty linen" of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in public.

    "I have graphic details of how we won and how we didn't win the elections in Anambra," state, Nzeribe declared.

    The group of eight not only regaled Senators and journalists with stories of how Ngige signed three letters of resignation within three months, they also played two separate video tapes purportedly showing the governor resigning his appointment.

    Other members of the group in the National Assembly are former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mrs. Euchari Azodo, Senator Ikechukwu Abanah; former Special Adviser to Governor Ngige on Special Duties, Chief Okey Odunze; former Secretary to the Anambra State Government, Mr. Uchena Emordi.

    Among others, the Senate Committee is to investigate the role played by the police and other parties in the Anambra crisis. The committee which has two weeks to submit its report to the Senate, is to apportion blames, investigate the immediate and remote causes of the crisis and suggest ways to forestall such other incidents.

    The Deputy Governor of Anambra State Okechukwu Udeh told the committee, headed by Professor Oserhiemen Osunbor, that the events that led to Ngige becoming governor began in September 2002 at the World Igbo Congress which held at Houston, Texas, United States of America.

    He enumerated how at several meetings among the party caucus led by Mr. Chris Uba, it was agreed that Ngige be put forward. In spite of numerous breaches of agreement by Ngige, the Deputy Governor said he continually pleaded with the group to allow the governor to run.

    More than twice, he said, the governor resigned as the PDP gubernatorial candidate, again as Governor-elect to reassure the group he could be trusted adding that the governor even told him he was going to swear at a shrine to assure the group.

    His attempts, he said, to discourage Ngige failed. "I went to our leader, Chris Uba, to ask him if he was aware that Dr. Ngige was going to swear at the shrine, Uba said no," Udeh added.

    Senator Abanah even told the Senate Committee that if Ngige was brought before the senate with all of them present, he would not deny that he swore at a shrine to abide by agreements he reached.

    House of Representative member, Nzeribe, accused the governor of "character flaws" that bordered on changing his positions on agreed issues, adding that as the group continued to work for him, the Governor (Ngige) kept meeting the group's enemies to sabotage its efforts.

    Even though Uba denied presenting the governor with a list of commissioners and other aides, Nzeribe explained that the group insisted on the appointees because the governor had signed a letter of resignation and the group was merely waiting for him to resign so it could take over.

    Both Senator Abana and Chuma Nzeribe denied being in Anambra Government House when the Governor was "abducted",

    But they admitted being in Anambra State on July 10 2003 when the drama took place as the Election Tribunal handling cases of their election was sitting that day.

    After perusing the undated letters of resignation presented to the Senate committee, Senator David Bonaventure Alechenu Mark (Benue) wanted to know why it took 24 hours after Ngige signed his last letter of resignation for the state House of Assembly, the police and others to put into effect the process of replacing him with the Deputy Governor.

    Then followed a pin-drop silence and no answer came from the group.

    The Senate Committee and journalists also watched two separate video tapes, one with Ngige and Chris Uba, of the Governor's reported resignation.

    Almost everyone in the group insisted that despite the governor's denial that he did not resign, he told the PDP National Working Committee that he indeed signed the letters of resignation attributed to him. They denied asking Ngige to refund money spent on his campaigns but promised to make more revelations in camera without journalists present.

    In fact, Okey Odunze promised to give details "in camera" of the "deals" reached to bring Ngige in as governor adding that in Anambra State, politics is run like business deals.

    Members of the Senate Committee include, Senators David Mark, Saidu Dansadau, T.O. Olupitan, Faruk bello, Nuhu Aliyu and Ken Nnamani and Bala Adamu.

    The Committee later went into a closed-door session.

    However, Ngige also yesterday petitioned President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun, urging them to institute a highpowered inquiry into the matter to ensure justice, describing his abduction as a "desecration of my office under the pretext of purported resignation."

    He denied the resignation story, saying "I wish to state categorically that at no time did I contemplate resigning my elected office and I do not intend to resign."


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