Osita Julius Nworu
We are living in a time and in a state where the governor sees governance as a family affair. Traditionally, democracy is simply defined as government of the people for the people and by the people. But for the over 70 year old Gov. Elechi is concerned, this universally accepted definition of democracy, its principles and attributes should apply to his immediate family and his kinsmen only not the people. To discern this can often be a difficult process as he is using his attitudinal change propaganda to blindfold the pauperized people of Ebonyi state from knowing the truth.
However, it is now a common knowledge that Elechi runs Ebonyi state with only the members of his family and his few kinsmen. A group in the state once described Elechi’s style of governance as nuclear family system, in which other people, except members of the governor’s family and a few kinsmen, are completely shut out of the governance of the state. That is, Elechi’s perception of democracy is that of government of the people for the Elechis and by the Elechis.
Governor Elechi has been consistently accused of awarding contracts to only himself and members of his immediate family. For instance, he awarded most of the on-going contracts in the state to his company, called MJ Construction Company. This company is solely run by his son, Martin Elechi (Jnr) and his other siblings. Of course, violation of the principles of due process in this kind of contract awards has been glaring, the contracts having been unilaterally cornered by the governor’s family.
In a related development, there is what could be regarded as a trace of fraud in Elechi’s contract awards to self. It was learnt that some of the road contracts were actually awarded to Elechi by the immediate past government of Dr. Sam Ominyi Egwu, but he (Elechi) carried on with the job until Egwu left office. But as soon as he emerged governor, he re-awarded the contracts to his company, and at outrageous terms. Yet, these contracts are moving at a snail speed and none of the ongoing projects meets standard.
The Governor pretends to be a saint in the administration of the state, findings have proved otherwise. Recently, the Nigerian Army ceded a part of its plot of land, located in Abakiliki capital city, called mammy market, to Ebonyi. In return to this gesture, Elechi’s government promised to build a new market for the army in the state. Of course, the governor has kept this promise, having completed the market project. But this is not the story.The story is that Elechi, ignoring due process, gave the market contract to his daughter who is being married in Delta state. Agitated indigenes of the state insist that, apart from the fact that Elechi’s daughter is now an indigene of Delta state by marriage, she did not have the professional know-how to have been awarded the contract in the first instance. But Elechi, believing that Ebonyi’s new name is Elechi & Sons’ state went ahead with his decision.
Award of contracts to self is just an aspect of Elechi’s filth in Ebonyi. Favoritism is also another trademark of the septuagenarian governor. It is discovered that all juicy appointments either go to the kinsmen of Elechi or those of his wife, Josephine. For instance, Chief Chris Nwankwo, quite alright, used to be a prominent politician, but went into oblivion overtime. But Elechi, immediately on assumption of office, brought Nwankwo back to political relevance.
Another instance: Governor Elechi, few years ago, sacked workers who participated in partisan politics, but had earlier been given waivers to return to work. But this policy was selectively applied, as Elechi spared some kinsmen and close associates of his.
Immediately Elechi assumed duty as governor in 2007, he sacked permanent secretaries, auditors-general, and accountants-general amongst others because they paid themselves arrears of harmonization, that is, some debts owed them by the state government. But, again, the sack was a one sided exercise because Fidelis Mbam, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), was guilty of the same offence, yet he is allowed to remain in service. Mbam was Chief of Staff as at the time, and he, also, got paid his own arrears of harmonization like the others. Elechi is yet to sack Mbam. It would also be recalled that Elechi again, recently sacked more permanent secretaries. The implication of this is that in due course, the wage bill of retired permanent secretaries in the state would take greater percentage of the state’s monthly allocation thus making it difficult for successive government to embark on capital projects. (His competence as an economist is doubtful).
Even among the 115 sacked senior officials of government, Elechi, through the back door, brought back his other kinsmen. For instance, Willy Nkwagu, a relation of the governor’s wife from Izzi, was brought back and appointed a commissioner. And Tony Nwigberi, one of the sacked permanent secretaries, is now back as Chairman, Local Government Service Commission. Nwigberi is from Governor Elechi’s Ikwo community.
It would be recalled that Chief Godwin Ogbaga, clerk of the state House of Assembly, was curiously removed and replaced with a relation of Josephine, the governor’s wife.
Sources have alleged that local government council chairmen and coordinators of developmental centers in the state are meant to pay the sum of five hundred thousand naira each to the office of the wife of the governor monthly for programmes that have no economic impact on the people of the state.
The emergence of Gov. Elechi in 2007 is just a political accident that occurred as a result of pressure and last minute hasty decision of the PDP leaders in the state. It is regrettable that self acclaimed father of founding fathers is not setting good example of leadership. Again In 2011 members of staff of INEC voted him in not the people of Ebonyi. He knows this in the heart of his heart as soon the truth about what transpired will be unveiled.
If Elechi has performed as a Governor in his first term, he does not need to embark on
fraudulent procurement of endorsements and votes of confidence by political turn coat and jobber as he did during the last election.
In a nutshell, the questions Elechi must answer include:
(a) where has he kept all the borrowed funds and how has it been used? (b) Where are the projects for which he claims he borrowed the funds? Ebonyians want to know.