Accused persons keep mum
By Francis Igattah, Enugu
A top government official of the cabinet rank in Enugu State and an official of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) (names withheld) are at the centre of a brewing scandal. An aspirant for election into the House of Representatives (Udi- Ezeagu Federal Constituency), Mr Chinedu Ani, accused them of collecting N15 million from him under the pretext of helping him to secure the PDP ticket for the poll without delivering.
The officials, when contacted at the weekend on the allegation, however, declined comments.
Ani, also the Executive Director, African Thinkers Community of Inquiry College of Education, ATCICE, and hails from Ukana, Udi LGA, Enugu State, narrated his story to Sunday Vanguard. Crest fallen, he said: “I have come to narrate my ordeal to show what is going on in the state.
My ambition to contest for the House of Representatives for Udi/Ezeagu Federal Constituency dates back to 2007, when I bought the forms to vie for the office. I was approached by an official of the state PDP who told me that they could help me get the ticket to become the party’s flag bearer. She said I should provide them with N3.5 million which I provided.
I took the money to a top government official’s house at Independent Layout, Enugu as directed by the party official. After about 2-3 weeks,one Ndubuisi called me and said I should bring another N7million for them to anoint me as the party’s candidate. I said no, that if they wanted me to give them the money, they should first of all get me the ticket being that they pretended to be close to the governor who listens to them and takes advice from them too. That was how everything ended in 2007.
There was no ticket and I heard from the grapevine that the same group allegedly collected a lot of money from the incumbent to return him to the House which I do not have any problem with. During this period PDP was selling nomination and expression of interest forms, the top government official again approached me after playing golf at Enugu Sports Club, asking me if I was still interested in my political ambition. I said yes, but that I needed to be clear of what was happening.
Shortly after, I got a call from the party official inviting me to her house. I went to her house and she asked me if I was still interested in the House of Representatives especially since the governor has said it has been zoned to Udi and that it has to be Udi-north were I hail from which gives me a lot of chances. She requested for N1 million consultation fee which I gave her. She said she wanted to work for me to emerge the party’s flag bearer. I told her that we needed to be clear over this Udi/Ezeagu issue. So we started the matter again. The government official also called me to demand consultation fee. I gave him N1 million. He now said he was going to back me up for the election.
So I bought the nomination and expression of interest forms for the House of Representatives. I informed both top government and party officials that I had bought the form. Last week, the council Chairman of Udi invited me for an exercise meant to prune the number of aspirants from Udi because we were about 10 persons contesting from Udi. I emerged with one Mr. Dennis Amadi from the exercise. That same day, the party official called me and said I should come to the top government official’s house. I went.
The party official told me that for them to support my political career, they wanted money. I said okay, but I needed to be sure that what happened the last time will not repeat itself. She assured me that this time, the slot has been narrowed down to my area and they will prevail on PDP officials to ensure that I emerged the party’s flag bearer. The next morning she called and said I should come to her house. I went. She said I should bring N20 million. I said I will give them N10 million and balance later.
She called the top government official who insisted on N20 million before they will work for my emergence. The party official later told me to bring N15 million pay out. That even when I am elected into the House, I should not remember anybody. On Thursday last week, I gave the PDP official N10 million. They promised that they will buy all the stakeholders needed for me to emerge as the party’s flag bearer.
They said it might result to voting between me and Dennis Amadi who got the same three votes I got when the Council Chairman called the 10 aspirants to prune the number to two from Udi. Based on my contract with them, I left everything in their hands. Behold, on that same day, when we got to Government House, I and Amadi could not agree; so it went into a vote. The top government official told people to vote for Amadi during the exercise which made me lose at the end.
I do not have any problem with Amadi’s emergence because it is politics. Now, I am demanding my N10 million back from the party official. She was the person I gave the money to. The top party official also should refund the N3.5 million I gave him in 2007 and the N1million he called consultation fee. Why I took the issue to the media is to expose this scam going on in Enugu State. They do this thing because they feel they have government backing and see themselves as untouchables” .
Officials keep mute
Sunday Vanguard contacted the officials named by Ani for their reaction. They promised to call back but never did. They also neither responded to text messages at the time of filling this report.