Vanguard

I didn’t Resign – NGIGE

By Sufuyan Ojeifo
Friday, July 11, 2003

 

ABUJA — PEOPLE’S Democratic Party (PDP) reacted yesterday to the abduction of Governor Chris Ngige of Anambra State, describing it as a threat to democracy. The party’s National Working Committee (NWC) declared that it would not accept the threat, promising to get to the roots of the matter.

 

National Secretary of the party, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, who spoke to reporters on the incident stated that he was in touch with the Presidency and the national chairman of the party, Chief Audu Ogbeh, adding that he had also spoken with the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun, who, he said, denied giving any order to the Assistant Inspector-General (Zone 9), Mr. Raphael Ige, who led a team of about 200 policemen to effect the arrest of the governor at about 9 a.m. yesterday in his office.

Governor Ngige, who is being held by his abductors at Choice Hotel, Awka, spoke on telephone with Prince Ogbulafor and the question and answer session which was put on speaker phone was recorded by reporters. Ngige said a phone was thrown at him to speak with the national headquarters of the party.

 

The dialogue is as follows:

Ngige: I am being kept at Choice Hotel, Awka. This morning (yesterday morning), about 200 policemen led by the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Raphael Ige, surrounded my office as I was settling down for work about 9 o’clock. I am still under abduction. Somebody just threw a telephone at me to talk to you.

Ogbulafor: Did you go to the police?

Ngige: Yes, AIG came to me that I was under arrest. I asked him whether there was a coup in the country, he said no, but that he was under instruction to arrest me. I asked him what kind of arrest; he said he would tell me later. Then, he brought a letter from the House of Assembly that I have resigned as governor, but I knew I had not resigned. I am not contemplating resigning and I told him they can only take the seat by force. I told him I had the mandate of Anambra people and I am still their governor.

Ogbulafor: Have you contacted the chief judge?

Ngige: We looked for the chief judge and he was nowhere to be found.

Ogbulafor: What of the court registrar?

Ngige: He was nowhere to be found, but I did not even make effort.

Ogbulafor: What of the Attorney General?

Ngige: We have not appointed the cabinet

Ogbulafor: Did you sign any document?

Ngige: No. All I know is that I did not prevent anybody from being appointed as commissioner or special adviser. I only refused to sign a document where they said they wanted to offset electoral expenses.

Ogbulafor: To the tune of how much?

Ngige: N3 billion

Ogbulafor: Who made the demand?

Ngige: Chris Uba is demanding that we did agree but I did not sign any document. My signature was forged. If I am to sign such a resignation letter, I will ask my party whom do I address it to. For the past two weeks, Chris Uba who said he wanted to appoint all 11 commissioners, special advisers, Aide d’Camp, Chief Detail, Secretary to the State Government even rejected the appointment of my personal staff. He said they are not acceptable to him. I do not know why. I told him that I only appointed those we had agreed upon earlier, so, I am surprised. Last week, he redeployed a Permanent Secretary in my office without my approval."

 

Governor Ngige told the National Secretary that Senator I.G. Abana and Hon. Chuma Nzeribe led the police team to his office, pleading with Ogbulafor to "keep in touch with me; you know I am not free as I am talking with you."

 

Reacting to the development, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Venatius Ikem, said that "the party will not recognise any other person apart from Ngige as Governor of Anambra State. We condemn the action in totality; it is illegal, unconstitutional and unwarranted. Ngige remains the duly elected Governor."

 

National Legal Adviser of the party, Col. Yohanna Madaki, said: "It amounts to treason and it should be treated as such. If there is need to change government, it should be done properly, through constitutional means. The governor should not be put under house arrest."

 

 

Daily Independent Online.        

 Friday July 11, 2003

 

Ngige accuses deputy of being ambitious

By Sunny Igboanugo

 

Daily Independent, Enugu

Anambra State governor, Dr. Chris Ngige yesterday accused his deputy, Dr. Okechukwu Ude of being ambitious, saying he was shocked at his behaviour following yesterday’s confusion that engulfed the state.

 

Speaking with Daily Independent in his Choice Hotel from where he was being held by a team of policemen who came to arrest him from the Government House, Awka yesterday, Ngige reiterated that the bone of contention was his refusal to dance to the tune of Chief Chris Uba, his political “godfather”.

 

“The bone of contention was the demand of Chris Uba for N3 billion for his alleged campaign expenses on my behalf which I turned down,” the governor said but explained that he had already compelled the state accountant general to pay Chief Uba N960 million up front which amounts to N10 million every month for the period of four years he has to stay in office.

He said the money was paid for the award of contract for the construction of Nnamdi Azikiwe place of contract which Uba signed in 1996 with the then military government.

 

Throwing more light on what transpired at Choice Hotel, Ngige said somebody smuggled a telephone to his toilet with which he called the vice president, Atiku Abubakar and the national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Audu Ogbeh both of who assured him that his position is intact.

 

Although, Ngige said he conceded all the commissioners to Chief Uba, he explained that he made it clear to him that the nominees must not only be seen to be free from corruption but must have track record of good academic qualifications and be of good integrity.

 

He also said the commissioners must come from areas of the state that have not produced principal officers before, adding that there was an attempt to abduct him to his father’s compound in Alor in Idemili council which he strongly resisted.

“I am the one that is going to deliver Anambra State from the forces of darkness like Chris Uba and  his likes,” the governor told this newspaper.

 

 

Daily Independent Online.         * Friday July 11, 2003

Confusion in Anambra

I am still governor, says Ngige;  I have taken over, insists deputy

By Bolaji Tunji,  Oguwike Nwachuku

Daily Independent, Lagos

and Okey Maduforo, Anambra

 

 The political crisis in Anambra State flared again yesterday following a dramatic announcement of the resignation of Governor Chris Ngige and his alleged abduction from Government House, Awka by mobile policemen. Although Ngige later reappeared at his hotel residence to deny he had stepped down, his deputy, Dr. Okechukwu Udeh, declared before newsmen at 6.30pm at the Government House that he had taken over as the new helmsman in the state.

 

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which controls the state, described the events in the state as “shocking”. Speaking through its National Secretary, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, the PDP said: “It is a threat to democracy. We are going to take necessary steps to ensure that this does not hold.”

 

The drama began yesterday on the floor of the State House of Assembly with the reading of a letter purportedly written by the governor to notify the Speaker, Mrs. Eucharia Azodo, of his decision to resign from the office on personal grounds. The House thereafter swiftly accepted the resignation and directed the chief judge of the state to swear in Udeh as the new governor. This development was preceded by the arrival of a contingent of mobile policemen, which cordoned off the assembly complex.

 

Moments after the proceedings at the Assembly, another contingent of policemen arrived the Government House in three trucks and whisked away the governor. He was later sighted at his temporary residence at Choice Hotel in Awka, the state capital.

 

At about 6.30 pm, Udeh said at a press briefing that he had taken over in accordance with Section 191 (1) of the Constitution and in order to “avoid a vacuum in the leadership of the state”. Flanked by the state chairman of the PDP, Chief Ivy Obi Okoye and the Speaker, Azodo, Udeh urged the people of the state to be calm and to perceive the development as “an act of God”.

 

Ngige later told newsmen that he had not resigned and does not plan to do so. He said he got in touch with Vice- President Atiku Abubakar and Mr. Audu Ogbeh through a mobile phone smuggled to him after his abduction. He said a delegation from the party would be in Awka today to wade into the matter.

 

Ngige accused a businessman and his election financier, Chief Chris Ubah, of being behind the development following his refusal to sign a cheque of three billion Naira to defray Ubah’s investment in his election. He also accused Ubah of demanding to nominate all the commissioners in the state.

 

Before the governor reemerged, his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Fred Chukwulobe, announced that Ngige has not resigned. He said: “The Governor, Dr. Chris Ngige, has not resigned. The letter purportedly written to the lawmakers is false and not written by him.  Dr. Chris Ngige is still the executive governor of Anambra State.”

 

Speaking with Daily Independent over the telephone from Awka, Chukwulobe alleged that the Assembly Speaker, Azodo; Senator Ikechukwu Abana and a member of the House of Representatives from the state, Mr. Chuma Nzeribe, had drafted the purported letter of resignation at the Speaker’s office before reading it on the floor of the House. The governor’s aide further alleged that mobile policemen brought into the state from Umuahia in Abia State had held members of the House hostage to ensure that the alleged resignation was adopted. He said the governor too was held hostage between 9am and 2pm.

 

A member of the House of Assembly representing Njikoka II constituency, Chief Frank Igboku, however insisted a letter of resignation was sent to the House by the governor and adopted.

 

Igboka said the governor cited personal reasons for the resignation, quipping that no one had the right to question the personal decisions of an individual.

 

“If a man takes a stand on an issue that is personal to him, no one has the right to question it.  It is for him alone,” he said.

Speaking on the development from Abuja, the Inspector-general of Police, Alhaji Tafa Balogun, said Ngige was in protective custody, adding that the police had stepped in to maintain peace and order and to bring the matter under control.

  

 

July 11, 2003

Daily Trust

 

Anambra governor abducted

*Deputy takes over, PDP sets up reconciliation c’ttee

By Ahmed I. Shekarau, Suleiman Mohammed & Zainab Musa-Kperogi

An unidentified team of uniformed personnel alleged to be mobile policemen yesterday abducted and whisked away the Anambra State governor, Dr. Chris Ngige, to an unknown destination.

 

The team, alleged to have been led by an Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), wearing the name tag of Raphael Ige, was said to have forced its way into the governor’s office in Awka, the state capital at about 10 a.m. yesterday.

 

The chief press secretary to the governor, Mr. Chuks Akunna, who confirmed the incident to Daily Trust in a telephone conversation yesterday, disclosed that the deputy-governor, Mr. Okey Udeh, has already taken over the affairs of the state as acting governor.

The governor’s spokesman who said he narrowly escaped being abducted, disclosed that the crack team arrived the Government House, Awka, at about 10 a.m. and disarmed all security details attached to Dr. Ngige.

 

"After that, they held Dr. Ngige hostage for more than three hours after which they took him away," Mr. Akunna further said.

He said the governor was abducted in a green 406 Peugeot salon car without any registration number escorted by a Mazda pick-up van with more than 20 mobile policemen in it.

 

Dr. Ngige’s spokesman alleged that the team came to Awka from Umuahia.

 

Meanwhile, police sources yesterday confirmed to Daily Trust that Raphael Ige might have already retired from the force.

Mr. Akunna told Daily Trust that shortly before the governor’s abduction yesterday, the Speaker of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Mrs. Grace Anazodo had announced the purported resignation of Dr. Ngige from his position.

 

According to him, "the Speaker read a letter purportedly written by Dr. Ngige, saying that he has resigned from his position as governor of the state due to pressure from his family. But that is not true. The letter is not from him," the spokesman affirmed.

 

Mr. Akunna attributed his boss’ predicament to some disagreements between him and a Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who is an influential politician in the state.

 

The politician, who was said to have partly financed Dr. Ngige’s campaigns, was alleged to have demanded N3 billion as compensation from the governor after he assumed duty, and the spokesman alleged that the governor "politely" refused. "Dr. Ngige said that was impossible."

Mr. Akunna also alleged that the influential politician demanded to be allowed to nominate 10 of the 17 commissioners to be appointed into the governor’s cabinet. "But the governor told him that this also was impossible because the man wanted to impose on the governor people who will do his biddings.

 

"And the governor was worried that one of the major problems of the state in the past resulted from bad leadership," Akunna further disclosed.

 

He alleged that these incidences might have angered the politician, "and made him forge that letter of resignation purported to be from the governor".

 

The spokesman said the governor’s abduction has thrown the entire state capital into confusion, saying that everywhere in the town was "calm but restless."

 

Akunna, who said he was speaking to Daily Trust from a hideout, pointed out that an uneasy calm pervaded the atmosphere in Awka town after the news of Dr. Ngige’s abduction broke.

 

Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun, in a reaction to the development, faulted the purported removal of the governor, saying that due process had not been followed.

 

The IGP in a statement signed by the Force Public Relations Officer, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Chris A. Olakpe, directed that the status quo ante be restored pending the resolution of the crisis through due process of the law by politicians.

"The IGP has instituted a high powered investigation team to be led by him personally", the statement said, adding that the constitution and democracy must be defended.

 

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has set up a seven-man reconciliatory committee headed by the national vice chairman, (Southwest zone), Chief Olabode George to meet all stakeholders of the PDP in Anambra State.

 

Anarchy in Anambra

By Anayo Okoli
Friday, July 11, 2003

Thugs, Police abduct Gov. Ngige

AIG leads assault

For the past two weeks, Chris Uba who said he wanted to appoint all eleven commissioners, special advisers, Aide D’Camp, Chief Detail, Secretary to the State Government even rejected the appointment of my Personal Staff. He said they are not acceptable to him. I do not know why. I told him that I only appointed those we had agreed upon earlier, so, I am surprised. Last week, he redeployed a Permanent Secretary in my office without my approval. —GOV NGIGE

AWKA— ANAMBRA State was, yesterday, engulfed in a political crisis after the presentation of a "resignation letter" purportedly from Governor Chris Ngige to the state House of Assembly, and the whisking away of the governor into "protective custody" by policemen.

The Assembly immediately accepted the letter and mandated the state Chief Judge to swear-in the deputy governor, Dr. Okey Ude, as governor.

 

However, the governor, speaking on telephone from custody, told the National Secretary of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, that he had not resigned.

 

His Special Assistant (Media and Publicity), Mr. Fred Chukwuelobe, who was also beaten and arrested by policemen managed to send a text message to Vanguard that the "resignation letter" was forged.

 

Vanguard gathered that trouble started at about 7am yesterday when over 30 anti-riot policemen led by Assistant Inspector-General (AIG) Raphael Ige invaded Government House, Awka, disarmed the security personnel and policemen on duty and cordoned off the complex.

 

Information later filtered out that the governor had resigned. For two hours, thereafter, no one was allowed to go in or out of the place. All visitors including the governor’s aides were turned back.

 

The state Assembly later met where the "resignation letter" dated July 9, 2003 was read to the hearing of members. The House accepted it and asked for the swearing-in of Deputy Governor, Okey Ude, as governor.

 

Press Secretary to the Speaker, Mr. Amamchukwu Okoye, issued a statement entitled, "Ngige resigns as governor of Anambra State."

The statement: "Dr. Chris Ngige (OON) elected on April 19, 2003 as Governor of Anambra State has resigned. In a letter addressed to the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon (Mrs) Eucheria Azodo, and read to the House of Assembly in session, Dr. Ngige said that after the consideration, consultation and advice from friends and family regarding events in the state, he has decided to resign as the governor of the state. He thanked all concern for their support and cooperation during his tenure and promised to make himself available in whatever capacity his services might be needed."

 

Vanguard learnt that after the reading of the letter, the Majority Leader of the House, Mr. Peter Onuarah, representing Ayamelum moved for its adoption. The motion was seconded by Mr. Anthony Igboka, representing Njikoka II for adoption. The House also moved a motion that the deputy governor, Dr Okey Ude, be sworn-in as governor.

 

The chief judge was being awaited at about 4.30 pm yesterday to perform the swearing-in. A top ranking PDP member and now a member of the House of Representatives was seen in a white jeep accompanied by two Peugeot cars loaded with armed mobile policemen, at the premises of the office of the chief judge, ostensibly to take him to do the swearing-in.

 

However, in a swift reaction, the Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Chuks Akunna, dismissed the resignation letter as a "forged" one. According to him, the governor never wrote any letter of resignation.

 

Meanwhile, the governor’s Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Fred Chukwulobe, was arrested a few minutes after 4 p.m following the airing of the news of the governor’s resignation on the network of Radio Nigeria.

 

At about 4.15pm, anti-riot police, who had taken over Government House dispersed workers and visitors who had converged to hear the news. The workers promptly closed their offices and headed home.

Before Ngige was whisked off in a green coloured 406 Peugeot car, he was said to have come down, looked around and asked: "Where is my driver."

 

Vanguard gathered that the crisis is a twist to the face-off between Dr. Ngige and Chief Chris Uba, PDP caucus leader in the state who was said to have literarily enthroned the governor. The governor was said to have refused to pick certain people recommended for political appointments by Uba.

 

 

ALUKO COMMENTARY:

 

What the….?  Aha – how can this happen?  Are we running a government or what?  A zoo?  Even a movie should not be this dramatic.

 

This is state treason, simplicita!  Every last one of the plotters – from politicians (e.g. Chris Uba) to the Deputy Governor (Okechukwu Udeh)  to federal and state lawmakers  (e.g. Senator Abana, Speaker Eucharia Azodo), to Chief Judge (Chuka Jideofor Okoli)  to the conniving police (e.g. AIG Raphael Ige)  -  MUST be brought to book, and taught a lesson  if found complicit. 

 

Even Governor Ngige himself is a “bad case”:  he should be arrested and dragged before the ICPC for signing over N960 million to businessman Uba (instead of the N3 billion that he demanded), and businessman Chris Uba arrested by the EFCC for extorting same.  This is not to talk of the “funny circumstances” still in contention about how he “defeated” Peter Obi of APGA to become governor of Anambra!

 

This is the same state in which there are 6 federal senators instead of 3, and 8 members of the House of Representatives, instead of four!   This is the same state in which the former governor Mbadinuju is still being accused of being part of a murder plot against an assassinated lawyer-couple Barnabas and Abigail Igwe.  This is the same state of late Azikiwe, the state that has Ojukwu, Ekwueme, Ezeife, Okadigbo, Chinua Achebe, Emeka Anyaoku, et cetera  ad nauseum, as eminent citizens! 

 

Tufiakwa!  How can a whole state stink from top to bottom like this on their watch? 

 

And yet we had been consistently warned by Chuks Iloegbunam of the Vanguard:

 

Perspectives:-The shame of Anambra

Chuks Iloegbunam
Tuesday, May 06, 2003

http://www.vanguardngr.com/articles/2002/columns/c206052003.html

 

A plea for justice in Anambra

By Chuks Iloegbunam
Tuesday, May 13, 2003

http://www.vanguardngr.com/articles/2002/columns/c413052003.html

 

Anambra’s banana peels

By Chuks Iloegbunam
Tuesday, June 03, 2003

http://www.vanguardngr.com/articles/2002/columns/c403062003.html

 

Tufiakwa!

 

Bolaji Aluko

 

_____________________________________________________

STAR UPDATE: Anambra Governor Ngige's Ordeal (The Guardian Account)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

NGIGE : MY ORDEAL

Jul 11, 2003 06:56 PDT 

GUARDIAN 7/11

 

My ordeal, by Ngige

>From John-Abba Ogbodo, Abuja

 

ANXIETY gripped the headquarters of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday following the abduction of the Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chris Ngige.

 

The news of the governor's abduction came in the afternoon when the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party led by the national chairman, Chief Audu Ogbeh was meeting.

 

While the NWC members were making frantic efforts to locate the whereabouts of the governor, he called the headquarters, reportedly using a smuggled phone.

 

He told the NWC members that he had not resigned as speculated, stressing that he would rather die than surrender the mandate.

 

Narrating his ordeal, Ngige said that he was abducted with alleged connivance of an Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Mr. Raphael Ige.

 

The governor alleged that the people who came for his abduction demanded N3 billion ransom.

 

Ngige accused his political godfather, Chris Uba, of allegedly masterminding the act. Denying his purported resignation, Ngige said: "I never did. They forged my signature, whatever they are counting about. If I am going to sign such a resignation letter, I will ask my party, who do I address it to. I have not done so. So, I am surprised.

 

"Yes, I am still under abduction here. Somebody just gave a telephone to me to talk to NWC members. Somebody threw a phone to me".

 

He continued: "I came to the office this morning and the Assistant Inspector General of Police for zone 9, Mr. Raphael Ige, told me that he was under instruction to keep me under house arrest. I asked whether there was a coup in the country, he said no. I said what kind of arrest? He said he would tell me later.

 

"At 2 p.m., they brought a letter from the House of Assembly, saying that I have resigned. I am not contemplating resigning. They cannot take that seat by force. I will never resign that seat. I have the mandate of Anambra people. I am still their governor. I am ready to die to protect my mandate."

 

Asked whether politicians had given him any pressure previously, Ngige said: "Yes, for the past two weeks, Chris Uba who says he wants to appoint the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), commissioners, special advisers, ADC and others said he has rejected all the appointments I have made. The appointments of personal staff is not even acceptable to him.

 

"I do not know why. I have told him that I will appoint my personal staff from personal secretary to all those who work with me and he had agreed earlier on."

 

The governor further traced the genesis of the disagreement to his refusal to take orders from Uba on the issue of appointment of commissioners.

 

"I have not prevented anybody from being a commissioner and I also refused to sign a large sum of money demanded. I prefer to die than to sign that document", he said.

 

In a reply to a question from the NWC members as to how much, he said: "Three billion. Chris Uba is
demanding that from me. I will be surprised that somebody has told me that my signature has been forged and appended on that document."

 

Asked if the Chief Judge was aware, Ngige said: "We looked for the CJ in his office and apparently, he is nowhere to be found."

 

The governor further alleged that two members of the National Assembly, Senator I, Abana and a member of the House of Representatives, Chuma Nzeribe were in the operation with the police.

 

"Nzeribe led the operation of the those who came with the police. He did the same thing recently when he re-deployed a permanent secretary in my office without my approval and concurrence.

 

When I asked the AIG, he claimed that Abuja knew about what they were doing. Abana was with them for the operation. I am asking the party to invoke disciplinary measure on these men," the embattled governor said.

 

Expressing fear over his fate, the governor exclaimed: "I am not free! I am not free!"

 

In a swift reaction, the national secretary of the party, at a press conference, expressed surprise, describing it as a rape of democracy.

 

His words: "It is a surprise. It is a shocking news to us. It is a threat to democracy. We are going to take necessary steps to ensure that this does not hold. We are not recognising the development in Anambra State. We will not take it. Ngige remains our elected and legitimate governor in Anambra.

 

"As a matter of fact, the NWC and the party will not tolerate this kind of indiscipline. It is unbelievable because I personally got in touch with the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun and the he seems not to have knowledge of this and he is trying to find out the true situation.

 

"The purported abduction is illegal, null and void. It is a challenge to PDP and we are ready to face the challenge. The national chairman of PDP, Chief Audu Ogbeh is not around but we have briefed him of the development in Anambra State and he is not happy about it. There is a breakdown of law and order but we will not allow this."

 

The National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Venatius Ikem who attended the press conference alongside Yohana Madaki, national legal adviser, said: "Democracy is all due process and we must follow due process in whatever we are doing, otherwise we will resort to anarchy."

 

And counter-claims

 

ANAMBRA State was yesterday virtually rudderless as claims and counter-claims poured out over the alleged resignation of the state governor Dr. Chris Ngige.

 

The State House of Assembly, saying that Ngige had resigned, passed a motion directing the Chief Judge of the state to swear in Ngige's deputy, Dr. Okechukwu Udeh in his stead "to avoid a vacuum".

 

The statement from the House signed by its speaker, Mrs. Azodo Eucharia read: "We have just received an executive correspondence from the Office of the Governor informing me of the resignation from office of Dr. Chris N. Ngige as Governor of Anambra State.

 

"Consequently the Anambra State House of Assembly, after due consideration and consultation with party leaders have accepted the said resignation of Dr. Chris N. Ngige as Governor of Anambra State.

 

"You are hereby requested, My Lord, by a resolution of this House and in accordance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to immediately swear in Dr. Okey Udeh, the Deputy Governor of Anambra State as the Executive Governor of Anambra State to avoid creating a vacuum in the leadership of the state."

 

However, Ngige was reported to have made a call to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Central Working Committee in Abuja to deny that he had resigned, adding that he was calling from a hideout.

 

In an address later in his capacity as governor, Udeh declared: "Following the resignation of Dr. Chris Ngige today the 10th of July, 2003 and in accordance with Section 191(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I, Dr. Okechukwu Udeh is now holding the office of the Governor of Anambra State. This is to avoid leaving a vacuum in the leadership of the state and in allegiance to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 

"My dear people of Anambra State, since this has been constitutionally decided by the Honourable State House of Assembly, I have no hesitation than to accept the challenge with the sincere intention and faith to serve you, the good people of Anambra State.

 

"I therefore, request all the citizens of the state to keep calm, go about their normal businesses and perceive the development as an act of God. The following immediate measures are hereby ordered to re-invigorate the machinery of governance in the state, viz:

 

"I hereby constitute an Asset Recovery Panel to recover all looted public funds by the last Mbadinuju administration, especially pension funds, illegal drawings of security votes, unauthorised payments to  ghost contractors, inflated contracts etc;

 

The list of the members of the State Executive Council will be forwarded to the State House of Assembly in a week's time for screening and confirmation:

 

"The Task Force on Anambra State Environment Sanitation Committee (ANSESC) is hereby ordered to clean up Onitsha, Nnewi, Awka, Ekwulobia and environs within 14 days or face immediate disbandment.

 

"I will forward immediately to the State House of Assembly the list of Members of Transition Committee for the 21 Local Government Areas of the State.

 

"I once more thank you all and continue to solicit your support, and goodwill so that together, we will all move Anambra State forward for better."

 

Also, reacting to the alleged resignation, the PDP, Anambra State said:

 

The PDP in Anambra State hereby welcome the present political development in the state leading to the resignation of Dr. Chris Ngige as governor.

 

 We received the resignation letter from the former Governor of Anambra State Dr. Chris Ngige.

 

   That we do hereby confirm the resignation as attached.

 

   We are not aware of any problem between him and any member of our Great Party (the PDP) at any level.

 

   We call on the PDP members and the people of Anambra State to remain calm as the development is being taken care of.

 

Ezeife, Ajuluchukwu decry crisis in Anambra

By Clifford Ndujihe

 

 FORMER Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife and elderstatesman. Chief M.C.K. Ajuluchukwu, have faulted the alleged resignation of Governor Chris Ngige, describing it as "news". Also, Chief Okey Nwosu, who ran as running mate to Chief George Moghalu of the ANPP, said it was a ploy to destroy Anambra State.

 

Wondering how the governor would resign barely two months after assuming office, Ezeife in a telephone chat with The Guardian said it would be difficult to stop Ngige from remaining in office.

 

On his part, Ajuluchukwu attributed the brewing crisis to problem of leadership in Anambra Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and called on President Olusegun Obasanjo and Chief Audu Ogbeh to dig into the issue as a matter of urgency for peace to reign in the state.

 

Asked to speak on Ngige's resignation, Ezeife said: "Is it true? I certainly don't understand it. It is news to me".

 

And going by the manner the resignation letter was tendered and handled by the state's House of Assembly, he added: "If it is that kind of thing, he will continue. He will say he didn't resign that his signature was forged".

 

Speaking with disappointment, Ajuluchukwu warned that the upwelling crisis in the leadership of Anambra PDP would bring the party to ridicule, if not immediately addressed by President Olusegun Obasanjo and the party hierarchy at the national level.

 

His words: "The PDP in Anambra State is a suspect organisation. It does not appear to follow the path being trodden by the main body. And I had warned Aso Rock in the past to be careful of Anambra PDP leadership because they are likely to bring the entire party into public ridicule. What is happening now shows that the leadership of Anambra PDP is suspect. I will like a proper election of the leadership of PDP in Anambra; not the one foisted on the people by moneybags."

 

He continued: "Ngige is an honest man. He cannot brook the kind of irregularity they want to push him into. I am asking President Obasanjo as the leader of the party and the National Chairman, Chief Audu Ogbeh to step into the matter immediately in order to restore peace and stability in the state".

 

Anambra: Anatomy of a crisis

By Godwin Ijediogor

 

THE crisis in Anambra State did not begin today. And has remained essentially the problem of power tussle between self-confessed godfathers and their installed governors.

 

>From the onset, the source of power and around whom it revolves in the current political dispensation in Anambra State was Chief Chris Uba.

 

Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige could be likened to a man preparing for a 100metre race only to be drafted into a 1,000metre race. He had set his mind on the senatorial position and was counting on his friend, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, to see it realised when he was told that the coast was clear for him in the governorship race.

 

He rode to Government House, Awka on the financial and political muscles of Chief Uba, whose title, "Eselu onu ego" literally means "one so wealthy that you can only scratch the surface of the wealth."

 

When he spoke to The Guardian shortly after the election, the Alor-born, University of Nigeria, Nsukka-trained medical doctor cut the image of one drafted uncannily into the race for the governorship position in a state reputed for its bizarre politics. Initially, he looked unprepared and rattled even as he belatedly kicked off his campaign when others were far off.

 

But having clinched the party's ticket and the "people's mandate," Ngige started off amidst encumbrances from the opposition and uncertainty over his freedom from his political mentor.

 

At the dawn of victory, the godfather, Uba, was all over town announcing his mastery of the arts of fixing and sponsorship of candidates. Indeed, he got more accolades than Ngige himself. He could no longer hide his de-facto leadership of the state.
 

He told a local medium recently: "It is not just the governor and his deputy that I sponsored. There are also three senators, 10 members of the House of Representatives and 30 members of the House of Assembly... I sponsored them... and this is the first time in the history of Anambra State that one single individual would be putting every public officer in the state in power."

 

On April 20, Ngige had ruled out a repeat of the Mbadinuju/Offor debacle in the state.

 

His words: "No, there would be no such problems. Like I said, we are doing the thing collectively as one family. So godfatherism, if that is what you want to call it, is in every democracy everywhere. But as far as I am concerned, their mannerisms depends on the political party and who the people are, their mannerisms and character."

 

When time came to fill the political positions, the bubble burst. It had been speculated that a crack had started to emerge in the Chris and the Anambra project. However, both parties denied any such rift.

 

Ngige's principal private secretary, Dr. Amanchukwu Ezike, said in a statement: "Both of them have been close friends for several years and the emergence of Ngige as the third Executive Governor of Anambra State can only further cement that relationship.

 

"Let it be made clear for the avoidance of doubt that there is only one governor in Anambra State and that is Ngige and he is effectively in charge. Anybody hoping for a repeat of the Mbadinuju/Emeka Offor Saga would be disappointed, because the situations are not the same and the personalities are different."

 

Certainly so; in a way. The personalities and situations may appear different. The attempt" using the state legislature" to edge out Mbadinuju few weeks into his tenure failed. But whether Ngige would be able to stand the onslaught from his financier would be determined in the days ahead.
Surely, the personalities have changed, but politics in Anambra State does not appear to.
We are not surprised", says APGA

 

PROBABLY still smarting from its loss at the April 2003 polls, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) last night said it was not surprised with the developments in Anambra State where the State Governor, Dr. Chris Ngige was kidnapped by agents of the state.

 

In a statement signed by the National Chairman of the party, Chief Chekwas Okorie, the party stated that "what is happening in Anambra State today is exactly what happens to a gang of thieves when it comes to sharing of loot."

 

The party stated that the situation in Anambra State showed that the people of the state did not actually vote Dr. Chris Ngige for governor or the PDP for that matter.

 

Warning the PDP to handle the situation with care and caution and not to impose an unnecessary state of emergency on Anambra, APGA stated that the development has exposed the police and military arms of the government to the world.

 

Okorie stated: "When the Federal Government of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo unwittingly decided to expose the police and military arms of government to electoral fraud and manipulation along with the huge pay-out that was associated with it, little did the government know that the security agents had been served the forbidden fruit. Today, they have started reaping very early what they sowed.
"The fist was the wanton mowing of innocent and unarmed Nigerians who came out on a very peaceful protest against an unjustified increase in the pump prices of petroleum products. Now, the same agents in an operation unprecedented in the Nigerian political history, an Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) led his team to abduct a supposedly elected governor notwithstanding the immunity the governor was supposed to be enjoying.

 

"We have it on good authority that the letter of resignation read on the floor of the Anambra State House of Assembly was indeed written, signed and handed over to Chief Chris Uba by Dr. Chris Ngige as a condition to be rigged into office through electoral manipulation in which Chief Uba bankrolled, facilitated with the aid of INEC, security operatives and the Presidency.

 

"Finally, APGA wishes to warn the PDP Federal Government to handle the situation in Anambra State with extreme care and caution. No stupid action should be taken to impose an unnecessary state of emergency on Anambra State."