* Says I don’t have personal issues with Chimaroke Nnamani
….APC will take over Enugu State in 2019
Former governor of Enugu State, Barr. Sullivan iheanacho Chime, Tuesday night said that some politicians in the state have ganged up to cast aspersions on him simply because of his constitutional right to join any party of his choice.
Chime, who spoke to journalists in his Enugu residence, also declared that the All Progressives Congress, APC, will take over governance in Enugu State in 2019.
The former governor maintained that “if things continue this way till 2019, I can assure you that APC will be in government.
Chime who told Journalists that he will join the APC weekend denied the allegations that he was moving into the party to shield himself from EFCC investigations of his administration.
According to him, “I want to say that I am not joining the APC because of any EFCC case or any other issue. Yes, I was invited by the EFCC over the party’s campaign fund. During that campaign, money was brought as usual, PDP sent money to the Enugu PDP; the money was sent through the bank, N450m, and some persons went there and signed for it.
“The PDP campaign organization disbursed the money accordingly. They earlier came up with a budget which was modified and the money was disbursed by them in that regards.
He dismissed the allegations by Rita Mbah that he (Sullivan) shared the N450 million Naira campaign money
adding “The lady (Rita Mbah) tried to be smart; firstly she denied seeing the money; later she came back and remembered she saw the money.
The former governor who claimed to have seen Mbah’s statement, said:
“In the statement she wrote, very silly, she said she was peeping into the list I was holding; we were at the red carpet so I wonder how she was doing the peeping from where she was staying, may be she was using microscope, and because she was so intelligent, she remembered the last kobo given to everybody.
“Allow the EFCC to do their job. If EFCC feels that I have more to tell them, I expect them to invite me; I gave them my phone number. I don’t have any issue with EFCC, I have heard about petitions, but EFCC has not called to ask me question about anything since I left office.
“They want to use blackmail; they said it is because of EFCC case; they said I want to run for Senate, just to make it look like it is for a personal gain. Who hasn’t been invited by the EFCC? It is not an issue. It becomes an issue when they take you to court, having found sufficient evidence to prosecute you.
On what he feels the political situation in the state, Chime maintained that APC will take over government in Enugu State adding, “what I cannot tell you now is who the candidate will be but anybody running as PDP candidate will be wasting his time.
“Let’s not speculate what will happen between now and then but I can assure that the change has come to Enugu State; PDP is now part of history in Enugu State.”
“There is going to be an election in Anambra State this year and the PDP may not even have a candidate; the Anambra election will teach them a lesson. Every serious politician in Anambra has already moved; I expect Peter Obi to end up in APC if he still wants to be politically active.
The former governor while speaking various concerning politics Chime, CV expressed dismay over the level of negative media reports against him, which he insisted were totally sponsored by those thinks that he has interest in running election.
He said: “In about for weeks time, it will be exactly two years since I left office. Between then and now, a lot has been said about me, mostly negative.
“Most of the stories were being sponsored by whoever. I decided to stay away not just from the media but from politics. But events have forced me out from retirement.
“A lot has happened and not too long ago, I announced my resignation from that party, the PDP. Technically, you can say I left the party but in actual fact, the party left me.
“The party left me because the party I was introduced to in 1999 no longer exists; that party no longer exists; that party was badly run down, mismanaged; the party abandoned its constitution that used to guide us.
The party eventually came to where it is today- dead.
“It is no longer a functional party. Today, we have two groups, each laying claim to the leadership so wrongly, so unconstitutional. The one by Ali Modu Sheriff, he was appointed, never stood for any election, just to serve out the tenure of Bamanga Tukur after the exit of Adamu Mu’Azu; that was how Sheriff came in; that tenure has since elapsed, but he is still claiming to be the chairman.
“On the other hand, Makarfi is claiming to be the chairman of a non-existing body he calls the caretaker committee; there is no provision for caretaker committee in PDP constitution; the makers of the constitution never envisaged the situation that later arose, so illegal, so unconstitutional.
“PDP is now a party without leadership; it has become a party without leadership and anything without leadership cannot be functional; they cannot even call for NEC. I challenge them to call for NEC tomorrow.
“I was a member of NEC as a serving and as a former governor. BoT is more or less advisory organ of the party, but there is no government in power, so the BoT is moribund. I’m not sure you will find any founding member of the PDP still in the party; they have either left the party or retired from politics out of frustration.
“So, in a nutshell, because of the collapse of the PDP, people started leaving; it was like embarking on a journey of no destination; people are disembarking from the vehicle called PDP, joining other vehicles to take them to their destinations.
“I completed my tenure in 2015 and I have a lot of people who still have a long way to go; I have to show them the way.
“I left office after serving out my full tenure and I had the privilege of handing over to my successor; not very many people had that privilege; it was a great privilege.
“Also, at the end of my tenure, a lot of people, all the zones, cutting across political parties, the people of Enugu State, they came to my private residence in the village to say ‘thank you’, with their traditional rulers, and the incumbent governor himself attended all the ceremonies.
“Everyone thanked me for all I did for them. One particular prayer kept coming; for my successor to continue with what I left behind, to continue the way I governed the State, they were satisfied, they could not ask for more.
“But since I announced my exit from the PDP, I have been branded a total failure, after two years. Some people think that I left the PDP for the purpose of nursing an ambition of going to the Senate; so their ambition is to bring me down. It is unfortunate that the media is being used, nobody no longer says anything about how we government the State.
“On one particular occasion in Aninri, the Deputy Senate President so shamelessly accused me of abandoning the people of Aninri, that throughout my 8 year tenure I never appointed permanent secretary from Aninri, that it was the present government that remembered them, that Aninri did not have commissioners then.
“I used the word shamelessly because somebody who served as SSG in this State and now a DSP could have cross-checked his facts and not dish out unfounded lies.
“I had three perm secretaries from Aninri under my administration, even though Aninri is about 10 wards. I had perm sec in charge of due process- Mr. Wilson Njoku, appointed in 2010, that was during my administration.
“Emmanuel Ndubuisi was appointed in 2013 during my administration, he is still serving as a perm sec and there was Benson Njoku, appointed in 2008 during my administration; auditor general of local government.
“I also made sure that every local government had a commissioner in my administration. For Aninri, first was Okezie Nwanjoku; he served out first term of four years and I now made him special adviser on MDGs in my second term, then appointed the same Ajah on whose event these aspersions were cast on me as commissioner for water resources.
“He served for 2 years, didn’t do well, I dropped him and appointed Prof. Okolo who became my commissioner for education till I left office.
“While these were happening, I also had somebody from Aninri as chairman of ENSUBEB, from Nenwe.
“So, because I decided to leave politics, people now decided to be telling cheap lies; he (Ekweremadu) should stop running me down; if he has nothing to say, let him shut up.”
On his decision to join the APC, Chime had this to say: “it is not a rumour; I have made my consultations; I have met with all the ward chairmen in the State; I met with all the local government chairmen; I have also met with all the members of the State exco of the party as well as the national leadership and they assured me that I have a place; that I can come in. They are excited having me in the party and I’m excited joining them.
“APC is the only viable party in the country that can take any politician to his destination. As of today, (we pray what happened to the PDP will not happen to the APC), APC is the only national party; they have governors in all the zones of the country. It is a national party, not a local party, so we are happy to join the party.
“So, on the 6th of May, I will formally be registered as a member of that party; that’s why I called you to let you know. I didn’t leave the PDP because of any other reason but because the party died.
“I said it before, may be the INEC is taking time; this is the time to formally deregister the PDP; the party that no longer plays by the rules should be deregistered; let them go to court but the question is- which of the factions will go to court.
“Right now, if you go to the various wards, they will tell you that they have tremendous improvement since I declared my intention. Just two days ago, when they had a meeting in the ward, they said 200 people came to register.
“I didn’t start this journey without letting people know, those who should know. As a former governor, the entire State is my constituency, so I informed those who should know that I’m leaving the PDP.”
When asked to comment on the alleged debt burden which is hampering the administration of his successor, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the former governor said; “I ran such a very responsible government, such that by the time we were done, we had even expended a lot of money on behalf of the federal government.
“Up till today, Enugu State will tell you we are expecting refund, but do you hear when the refund come? They are pursuing money earned by my administration. The federal government is owing Enugu State about N40b; this include work done on federal roads and the Paris Club fund; that’s what this administration is enjoying now.
“Whether the government is doing well or not cannot be attributed to Enugu State owing money.
“Throughout my 8 years in office, the excess crude that came was N19billion; that was the only extra money that came. The rest was the statutory allocation, N2b, N3b monthly. You can make enquiry since we left office, how much has come into Enugu State.
“When I came into office, Enugu government was owing civil servants three months’ salary arrears. It even became a bigger problem because even though the Federal Government had withheld the last allocation for the incoming government, we never knew that the outgoing government took over draft in the Intercontinental Bank; so as soon as the money dropped, the Bank took it; we were left with nothing. We started from day one to struggle. But because of the arrangement I made with the Bank PHB, I was paying salary 25th of every month, from 2007 until May 2015, we paid salary consistently. The records are there.”
While ruling out any personal rift between him and his predecessor, Chimaroke Nnamani, he said:
Chime said there’s personal rift between him his political godfather, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, maintaining, “we were friends; he was the one that invited me to join the PSP and his administration. When he was leaving, dusted and favoured me as a candidate and I became governor. I never had issues with Chimaroke Nnamani.
“I think probably we went back to how we used to be before we came into government. We attended the same secondary school; we attended the same University, though he read medicine while I read law, but we were not that kind of paddy-paddy.
“Politically, we had disagreements as he left PDP and formed his own party; whatever difference we had was political; I don’t have personal issues with Chimaroke.”