By Tony Edike
ENUGU— Embattled Enugu State Deputy Governor, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi, continued with his evidence before the impeachment panel, yesterday, revealing that Governor Sullivan Chime also operated poultry and piggery farms at Government House.
He told the panel that the government had since 2011 made annual budget for the maintenance of the poultry, adding that the funds were released and tendered the state’s budget from 2011 to 2014 to back his claims.
The deputy governor, however, informed the panel that the governor’s poultry was hurriedly evacuated shortly after the panel commenced sitting.
Onyebuchi told the 7-man panel headed by Mr. Uche Franklyn Oraekeiyi, that he had not committed any offence that could warrant his removal from government by impeachment, insisting that the poultry in his official residence and that of the governor were in existence before they came into government in 2007.
The deputy governor, who returned to the panel yesterday after he slumped last Wednesday midway into his evidence, dismissed all the allegations brought against him by the House of Assembly as totally false and baseless.
The House had commenced the impeachment proceeding on the allegations that the deputy governor operated a poultry farm at his official residence and flagrantly disobeyed the directives of the governor by refusing to represent him at the flag off of the second Niger bridge by President Goodluck Jonathan at Onitsha in March and at the July 6 meeting of South East Governors held in Enugu.
Speaking with journalists shortly after concluding his evidence before the panel sitting at the State High Court Complex, Onyebuchi said: “I have always said that this is a straight forward matter. One is the allegation of operating a poultry farm. We have been able to put the message across that the House of Assembly resolution is not a law and the resolution was not made available to me.
We were able to make the point that there is also poultry at Government House and the poultry at the Government House was evacuated with the commencement of the panel proceedings.”
“Today, I was able to present to the panel, other evidence to show that there was poultry at the Government House. I got copies of Enugu State government budget for 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 and in each of these budgets, you have evidence of the allocation for Government House poultry and piggery and amount attached to it and I was also able to prove that the amount was released. If they said there was no poultry, then let’s know why we have all these provisions all these years.”
Video coverage of 2nd Niger Bridge flag off
Also responding to the allegation that he refused to represent the governor at the flag off of the second Niger Bridge, Onyebuchi, who played video coverage of the event before the panel, also made reference to the live coverage of the event by the AIT, saying he was present at the event.
The deputy governor said he was never communicated in person, by telephone or by any other means to represent the governor at the South East Governor’s meeting during his vacation.
“He did not communicate to me in person, by telephone or whatever means, he never, while going on vacation that he will pass instructions to me through a third party and like I said, this is a straight forward matter and I believe the ball is in the court of the panel.
“It is for them to decide whether to stand on the side of truth, on the side of justice which most citizens of Enugu State are asking for. If they believe like most people say that might is right, whoever has power is right, we will see by the end of the day. I have not committed offence that will justify being removed by impeachment. I started working with the governor in 2007 and if I was not obedient to him, I don’t think he will nominate me again for the second term to run with him for another four years.
“Even when he was away on vacation in 2012 and 2013, I believe I represented him very well such that the letter he wrote to the House of Assembly when he came back, he commended me. I also received commendation from so many people; I also received commendation from the members of the state executive as well as members of the House of Assembly. I am hopeful that truth will triumph.”