Says Nigeria’s democracy on trial in Enugu State
By Tony Edike
ENUGU—The embattled deputy governor of Enugu State, Mr. , Sunday Onyebuchi yesterday, declared that he was not afraid of being removed from office.
He, however, said he would ensure Nigerians, particularly the people of Enugu State who elected him along with Governor Sullivan Chime, knew the truth concerning his travails.
Democracy under trial
Speaking with journalists shortly after the 7-man probe panel investigating allegations against him adjourned sitting, Onyebuchi said Nigeria’s democracy was on trial in Enugu State.
The impeachment panel which had at its inaugural sitting on Wednesday, directed that journalists would not be allowed to witness its proceedings after the inauguration, however, made a u-turn yesterday, following the complaints made by the legal team of the deputy governor against the decision.
Mr. Onyebuchi, who expressed confidence that justice would triumph over falsehood, said: “It is true that I am the one standing trial but I want to say also that our democracy is also standing trial. I want to say also that justice is on trail; I want to say also that the integrity of all those involved, including that of the panel members, is on trail.
“I believe that no matter how we want to manipulate truth and try to embellish it, eventually, if not now, the truth will triumph over falsehood.”
Lamenting his current travails, the deputy governor said: “This is a situation where the person who is being marched did not complain, rather the person, who is marching on him is the one complaining.
“On the poultry in question, by January 27, all the birds were removed; I did not know what happened to them, whether they were sold or eaten; I never complained, rather the person who took my birds is the one complaining.”
Continuing, Onyebuchi, who was accompanied by his wife, Mrs Nneka Ada Onyebuchi, to the panel, said he was confident that it was a straight forward case.
He stressed: “I believe that I have not committed any crime; I am here because I believe that it is better to defend myself and protect my hard earned reputation; it is more important to me than even the office of the Deputy Governor.
“I do not mind leaving the office but the public must know that I did not commit any offence, that I did not do anything that will justify my being removed.
Let Nigerians judge
“Let the people of Enugu State, let Nigerians be the judge as to how honourable members of the Enugu State House of Assembly are in this matter. I believe that eventually, I will triumph; there is a panel of man, there is a court of man, but more importantly, there is a court of God where nobody can manipulate the truth. He will also give his verdict at the appropriate time”, he added.
But for the arguments made before the panel by the Deputy Governor’s five-man team of lawyers led by Chris Aghanwa, journalists would have been prevented from covering the panel’s proceedings yesterday.
Barring the media
The deputy governor’s lawyers opposed the restriction order on media coverage, forcing the panel chairman, Mr. Oraekeyi Franklin, to bend backward but insisted that cameras would not be allowed into the hall.
The lawyer had sighted the cases of Adamawa and Nasarawa States, where the panels carried out their investigations in the full glare of the public through live telecast of the proceedings, and wondered why the case of Enugu State should be different.