*briefs a SAN for the battle to redeem his name
More facts have emerged on the real reasons for the abrupt sack of the former chairman of the Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission (ANSIEC), Prof Titus Eze.
Also the university don has now briefed a Senior Advocate of Nigeria(SAN), names withheld to lead the legal team for battle to redeem and exonerate what he saw as attempt to tarnish his name and reputation by the state government’s allegation of financial impropriety for which he was removed from office.
Speaking to journalists yesterday shortly after a meeting with his legal team, Prof Eze said that after days of careful thoughts and rummaging over his experience to fathom where things went wrong, he then realized that his problems may have started when he turned down the pressures and requests by the brothers to the state governor, Mr Peter Obi for the contract to print all the sensitive materials for the anticipated council poll in the state.
According to him, “ some of the relations and associates of the governor saw ANSIEC as an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) of sorts where money runs endlessly and invaded my office on regular basis. His brothers had mounted pressures on me for the printing of the ballot papers and result sheets to be used for the Local Government elections, but I politely declined, informing the on each occasion that because of the sensitive nature of those materials, that I would keep the name and location to print them a top secret.”, he emphasized.
This Prof Eze noted was to ensure the final result of the election whenever it holds were very credible and such that he would beat his chest to say that he has done a good job.
Adducing other issues that could have contributed to his removal some of which he was aware of , including allegations that he was seen at functions exchanging greetings with one or two members of the Peoples Democratic Party, Action Congress of Nigeria, Labour Party or the All Nigerian Peoples Party in the state; receiving in audience members of these opposing political parties in his office as ANSIEC chairman other than members opf the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). That he was also accused of siding with the National chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh in the on-going quarrel with Gov Obi; that had shared the councils among some individuals and political parties, before the election and party primaries?
Eze pointed out that about three months earlier, some close associates told him that key actors in the Obi administration had indicated that if council election was going to hold in the state that it was not going to be conducted by him. He admitted taking the issue as mere political talk especially when he had no problem with any top government official let alone the governor, until he was summarily removed without even opportunity to defend himself.
He expressed dismay that the auditors were sent to him at the fifth month of assuming office, and had acted as if they were told that he had taken away the One Hundred million naira (N100m), the only fund released to the commission while his headship lasted. He said, “ as the auditors arrived, the first thing they asked was for the money and we called the Fidelity Bank Plc Manger who quickly came with the statements that same day. But they were visibly appalled that their aimed was dashed. Every kobo was intact, and every expenditure was accounted for.
Prof Eze observed that there must have been a negative agenda against him, else, there were many agencies of the state that have not been audited in the past ten years, while even the audit report or its query were never showed to him till date. The government, he also noted betrayed its game plan when it set up the audit panel, concluded, decided and even relegated the state Assembly to the background and took all the position of accuser and the judge at the same time.
In all these he therefore chose to go to court to seek redress because his removal was without fair hearing and therefore in very bad faith
Many stakeholders in the state including the state chairmen of the ACN-Chief Amechi Obidike; PDP-Prince Ken Emeakayi; ANPP- Chief Pat Orjiakor; Mega Progressives Peoples Party (MPPP)-Evang Sam Anidike and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) Prince Chuba Ikeagwu, members of the state Assembly and even members of the ruling APGA have bitterly criticized the sack of Eze, describing it as another ploy to leave the council election in indefinite limbo, hence unacceptable.