Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu is not a new face in Anambra politics and in Nigeria as a whole. Since 1999 he has been on the political scene vying for one position or the other. He had been outwitted a number of times for the senatorial and governorship seats by both Senator Ugochukwu Uba (in 2003) and Andy (in 2007 and 2011). In 2007, he was forced to leave the PDP to run the governorship on the platform of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) when it was clear that the PDP ticket had irreversibly been grabbed by Andy Uba. Again in 2010, he was among the numerous aspirants dumped by the party in favour of the ex-CBN boss, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo that saw him contest the race under Hope Democratic Party (HDP)
In Anambra, it is widely believed that his consistency on the political scene is borne out of his unquenching thirst for power, some argue that his consistent participation is mainly due to business interest where he uses his political structure to pursue government contracts and seek external donation.
The persistent question that begs for answer is what kind of Legislator or Governor would our dear Prince make if he has or would be given the opportunity in the near future?
The competence of a candidate is a function of his previous perfomance in any capacity or assigned duty he finds himself, while we may not predict with certainty what a candidate will do while in office, we may, at least, in view of his antecedents be guided in predicting what he can or cannot do while in office. Basically, future forecast both in Economics and Politics as well is based on the study of past occurencies. Example abound for a man who has been Special Adviser to President such that he wields big influence, but could not attract not even a borehole in his hometown for 8years, what more could such a man do when elected a Governor. A popular Igbo saying has it that ‘ana esi n isi ahuru ama uto nsi’ it is from the smell of a fart that we predict the smell of feaces
Now, looking at the antecedents of Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu and his untiring efforts at grabbing power at all cost, one wonders what he wants to achieve.
This is a man who is rumored to be amongst a village gang that went for robbery operation in Orsumenyi neigbouring town and were caught, but was spared because he was recognised as ’nwadiala’ in a neigbouring community. Evidently, Ukachukwu still bear a scar in his leg from an injury rumored to be gun injury from the robbery incidence. After the incidence he fled to the Northern part of the country and came back claiming to be a born again as he tagged himself ‘ Evergenlist Nicholas Ukachukwu’
On the home front, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu and his family have been the main agents of confusion in the leadership crisis rocking the community, no fewer than three prominent members of the community were shot dead by assassins, following a misunderstanding within the leadership of the Town Union. Fanning the embers of the crisis is the singular action of Nicholas Ukachukwu who in 2003 attempted to register his community with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and received a Certifacte of Registration marked 6638 and obtained an affidavit mandating every member of the commuity to belong to his church. An impossible mission in a community, which is predominatly multi demnomination with Catholics in higher numbers. Featured top most is the assasiantion of the former President of Orsumenyi Develompment Union (ODU), Mr CLC Akunedozie in which Ukachukwu was figured as having masterminded.
Ukachukwu was fingered in the killing of CLC Akunedozie as the two police men attached to the former ODU president were ferried away in a bus with inscription ‘Ikuku Oma Solidariy Forum’ in the same direction as the assasisns as stated in a police statement by Oguata.
For a man without a political power to exhibit such wickedness and breach of law, what happens when he beomes a Senator or a Governor?
Nnewi South, his primary constituency is known to always have significant problems and security breaches faced by indigenes and the electorate, in carrying out their civic duties of voting during each Election period from Nicholas Ukachukwu (Ikuku oma) who unleash untold violence on his known and perceived political opponents in the area. He sees himself as the political mini god in Nnewi South where his words must be heard and obeyed at all cost.
For example, Mr. Ukachukwu was a Governorship Candidate for Hope Democratic Party during the February 2010 Governorship Elections in Anambra. On April 6th 2010 Governorship Election in Anambra, Mr. Nicholas Ukachukwu (ikukuoma) in the presence of armed mobile Police men ordered some thugs to beat up one Dr. Ifedi okwenna – a former Anambra State Commissioner for Environment without any provocation or cause.
On Same day, Mr. Ukachukwu went to the neighboring town of Ezinifite to rig election but was resisted by Hon. Egwuoyibo Okoye( a member Anambra state House of Assembly) who was then the Local Government campaign Coordinator for the PDP. He ordered his thugs to deal ruthlessly with him, which they did in the presence of armed mobile policemen also.
There are many cases of individuals who were inflicted with either machete cuts or beaten to stupor by Ikukuoma and his thugs during the last gubernatorial election and these cases were reported to the police without any action taken.
One wonders what kind of Governor Mr. Nicholas Ukachukwu would make when he becomes the Chief Security Officer of the state.
Now outside the state, it is a naked and verifiable truth that Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu has been involved in some many scam and dirty deals with Governors of Nasarawa and Bayelsa States.
In 2010 the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charged to court Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu and 12 others for allegedly using unregistered companies to loot a sum of N5.6 billion belonging to Nasarawa State Government through unexecuted contracts.
Detailing the alleged crime in charge sheet no FHC/LF/CR/8/2010, at the Federal High Court in Lafia, the commission claimed that Ukachukwu collected various sums of money from the Nasarawa State Government for contracts, which he failed to execute.
Some of the counts in the charge read: “that you Nicholas Ukachukwu whilst being the chairman of SNECOU Group, a non registered company on or about June 5, 2003 in Lafia, Nasarawa within the jurisdiction of this honourable court obtained contract under the name of Henry and Nick Associate Company Limited to the tune of N589, 611,359 (Five hundred and eighty nine million six hundred and eleven thousand three hundred and fifty nine naira) obtained the said sum from Nasarawa State Government without executing the contract and in breach of the agreement thereto, thereby committed an offence of Economic and Financial Crimes (looting) punishable under Section 18 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Establishment Act:
“That you Nicholas Ukachukwu whilst being the chairman of SNECOU Group, a non registered company on or about August 8, 2005, in Lafia, Nasarawa within the jurisdiction of this honourable court obtained contract under the name of Henry and Nick Associate Company Limited to the tune of N2,151,680,359.37 (Two billion, one hundred and fifty one million six hundred and eighty thousand three hundred and fifty-nine naira, thirty-seven kobo) and obtained the said sum from Nasarawa State Government without executing the contract and in breach of the agreement thereto, thereby committed an offence of Economic and Financial Crimes (looting) punishable under Section 18 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Establishment Act.
Also, since 2008, the Governemnt of Bayelsa State led by Timipre Sylva used Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu’s construction company [SNECOU Group of Companies Limited] to launder N18billion [N17,942,168,996,90] of Bayelsa State money under the guise of hospital contract award.
On December 3, 2008, the Government of Bayelsa State through the Ministry of Health entered into a contractual agreement with SNECOU Group of Companies Limited for the construction of Opolo Cottage Hospital, construction and interior decoration of the re-designed 500-bed hospital to a teaching hospital – and the supply, installation of medical equipment and furnishing and the training of equipment usage. The contract was awarded for the warping sum of N17, 942,168,996,90.
Particularly, N1, 223,574,204.50 was for the construction of Opolo Cottage Hospital, N5,649,562,800.00 for the construction and interior decoration of the re-designed 500-bed hospital to a teaching hospital, and N11,069,031,992.40 for the supply and installation of medical equipment and furnishing and training of equipment usage. A time of completion was pegged at 12months with a grace period of 90days. The contract project agreement was signed by the commissioner for health [Dr. Eruani Azibapu Godbless], Permanent Secretary for health ministry [Deacon Fortune Sorgwe], commissioner for finance [Dr. Silva Opuala-Charles], and the CEO/Chairman SNECOU Group of Companies [Owelle] Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu. Both The Nasarawa and bayelsa state cases are still under investigation by the EFCC and still pending in the Court of Law.
Obvioulsy, Nicholas Ukachukwu has been collecting an irrevocable statutory payment order of 200million naira every month from the coffers of Bayelsa Governemnt for unexisting and unexecuted projects untill the emergence of Governeor Dickson who stopped it.
In September, 2012, Snecou Group of Companies was contracted by the Ghana Government to construct 4000 houses at the outrage cost of $200million, and a Parliamentary approval sought. However, a top-notch policy advocacy grouping, Imani Ghana raised an objection to the deal, especially against the backdrop of the shadowy background of the chairman of the Snecou Group of Companies, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu.
According to Imani, the report of the Joint Committee on Finance and Works & Housing, which referred to a Supplier’s Credit Agreement between the Government of Ghana and the corruption-enveloped Snecou Group of Companies, as well as details of the project, was the same instrument used to design the ill-fated STX deal. In supporting its opposition to the bid, the group furher observed by the terms of the deal, Snecou would raise $77.3 million for the construction of 1000 houses for the police and military as government settled the emanating debt, it wondered why a company that ‘in October 2010, the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of the Republic of Nigeria indicted its Chairman, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu, of using four of his companies to loot $40 million of public funds belonging to the State of Nasarawa. The 171-count charge (charge sheet – FHC/LF/CR/8/2010) preferred against Prince Ukachukwu in the Federal High Court in Lafia contains several references to Snecou. The EFCC accused Snecou and its Chairman of collecting huge sums of money from the state for various projects and failing to execute. In total, $80 million of embezzled funds were evidenced in the report.’ would be used to execute a project in Ghana.
From the foregoing antecedents, one need no further preview of the kind of governemnt that will be ran by Ukachukwu as the Governor of Anambra State if ever elected.
It would be a harvest of SNECOU kind of companies in Anambra where there will be award of virtual contracts, money laundering, political harrasment, intimdation, assasination, and whole lots of unaimaginable attrocities. For a man who is arrogant, full of himself and view self as a mini god to be given political power, it will amount to not only civilian dictatorship but also a tyranny that will make Guiness Book of Records.
Anambra and Anambrarians cannot elect a man that will glamourise vice and minimize virtue, one that will play down gentleness, manners and morals and play up rudeness, savagery and vice. At this point in our democratic history we cannot seek a man who will revert the state in to the barbaric era of ‘tooth and claw’ and increase the state vis- a-vis the countries’ ranking to the bottom of the Transparency Index.
Mazi Orji Nkemdiri writes from orsumenyi