ASABA—Delta State Government has denied insinuations by Chief Kenneth Gbagi, Minister of State for Education, whose country home was recently invaded by a combined team of soldiers and policemen, that Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan was behind the attack.
The Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Felix Ofou, in a statement, yesterday in Asaba, Delta State, said “we are gratified to note that Chief Gbagi by his own account identified the military commander of the David Ejoor Barracks, Warri, as the leader of the troops that allegedly invaded his residence, except that his claim of the Governor’s involvement in the incident betrays ignorance unbecoming of a man of such stature.
Only ignorance or outright mischief could have contrived such allegation.
“It is common knowledge that the military and the police owe their allegiance directly to the President, who as Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces exercises control over them, subject to the provisions of the Nigerian constitution.
Governors as Chief Security Officers have no control over military commanders and police commissioners within their states.
“Only recently, Mr President in exercise of his constitutional authority effected changes in the military and police top commands. How could a Federal Minister then ascribe to the Governor of state, powers that are clearly the exclusive preserve of the President? Nigerians do not need anyone to remind them that someone is trying to pull wool over their eyes by such a wide claim.
“While we acknowledge the Minister’s right to defend and absolve himself from the alleged suspicion of possession of arms and ammunition, it is difficult to neither understand nor accept his refusal to take on those supposedly behind the attack. Why did he refrain from accusing the Army high command or the Inspector General of Police, who must have unquestionably authorized the action?
“Importantly, it is laughable that the Minister in seeking to conjure political relevance among his kith and kin, a clout which he wants the world to believe would be deplored towards the President’s election next year, claims that the Governor singled him out for attack to whittle supposed ‘Urhobo votes’.
“Giving that he is not the President-General of the Urhobo Progress Union, UPU, or headship of any frontline political platform, it is difficult to appropriate Chief Gbagi’s political value as being significant to constitute an obstacle to any vested interests.
“The Delta State government led by Dr Uduaghan, therefore, rejects the futile attempt at seeking to create a nexus to an incident within the purview of the security agencies.
We also advice that people desist from seeking political capital from scenarios they imagine would advance their parochial cause, no matter how banal such causes may seem.
“Nigerians and Deltans in particular are aware that it is not in the character of the administration to persecute perceived opponents. We have remained a model for peaceful engagement and political dialogue. Any inclination at portraying us otherwise will not be acceptable,” the statement added.