[From CHINEDU NWAFOR, Abakaliki]
Former Coordinators of Development Centres (DCs) in Ebonyi State who served in the government of Governor David Umahi have rejected him and his new political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), insisting they will remain with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The group under the aegis of G-64, in a press statement signed by the its chairman and former Coordinator of Ndufu Ikwo DC, Hon Ukpai Okechukwu, alongside 28 others, which was read to Journalists by the ex-head of the Amasiri DC and Vice Chairman of the forum, Barr. Okoeze Frederick, in Abakaliki, said they had collectively resolved to remain in the PDP.
They alleged that Umahi was not a man to be trusted, saying “he speaks from both sides of his mouth, and is known to make promises, but reneges when it is time to fulfill same.”
They argued that Governor Umahi and his immediate family members were the highest beneficiaries of the PDP-led government in the entire Nigeria.
“We and our teaming supporters from the various Local Government Areas and Development Centres across Ebonyi State disassociate ourselves from the unguarded utterances of Governor David Umahi since his inglorious exit from our great party, the PDP, whereof he alleges that the PDP has maltreated the South-East zone of Nigeria in sharing of political offices since the year 1999”, they asserted.
“The PDP can be adequately described as an Igbo party, going by the numerous benefits that accrued to the Igbos and the South Easterners of Nigeria in the 16 years that the PDP controlled the affairs of the Nigerian people as the ruling political party by virtue of the various political offices that were occupied by the Igbo”, the group added.
The group further alleged that the Governor forced them to take oath in 2015 and 2019 as a precondition for offering them appointments and reappointments respectively.
“In September 2015, he forced us to take oath as a precondition for offering us political appointments; the intendment of which was to compel us to always follow his dictates and exude unalloyed loyalty to him, and added that he would make us millionaires. In September 2019, we were again compelled to take oath in furtherance of our pledge to give unequivocal and unwavering loyalty to him”, they alleged.
They alleged that Umahi, in the months leading to 2019 general elections, made several promises to them including to give each of them Hyundai jeep, a parcel of land at Ochoudo Centenary City with N5m for fencing, and one lock-up shop at the International Market, and predicated the fulfilment of those promises on his reelection victory, but reneged thereafter.
The group further said that “we were told to go and borrow money to prosecute the 2019 general elections and ensure that we delivered the respective political wards in our Development Centres on the ground that we were pursuing a joint ticket with him which would guarantee us a second chance in our respective offices as Coordinators.
“The reward we got after delivering our respective wards during the 2019 general elections was that the Governor seized our salaries for the months of March and April, and sacked us on 30th April, 2019.
“He equally denied us our entitled benefits as our imprests and severance allowances accruable and associated with the political offices in which we had served faithfully.
“To our greatest chagrin, and sadly, we were subjected to write application letters to the Governor for reappointment into the same positions we had used to return him for second term in office and after the applications, we were further subjected to oral interview with the Governor.
“It was in the course of the interview that one of us,late Mr Sunday Igboke, the immediate past Coordinator of Ngbo North DC in Ohaukwu LGA slumped and died in his presence, just as soon as the Governor told him he would not be returned as Coordinator, considering the level of indebtedness that the Governor had made all of us, including the deceased.
“It is heartbreaking to learn that even as we speak, the Governor has not deemed it necessary to visit and commiserate with the family of this fallen footsoldier, late Mr Sunday Igboke.”
Efforts to reach the State Commissioner for Information, Barrister Uchenna Orji,to react to the allegations failed, as he neither picked calls nor replied a test message sent to his mobile line.