“The Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission [ANSIEC] has guidelines on the way to award contracts and to do business. They are independent of the Governor’s office. We did not play any role in the award of the said contract to the consultant for the vetting of the voters register. We did not award any contracts, the ANSIEC did. Go and ask them” – stated the Secretary to the State Government [SSG] of Anambra, Mr. Paul Odenigbo in a phone conversation with 247ureports.com over the fallout following what appears an orchestrated indictment and abrupt sacking of the ANSIEC Chairman by the Anambra State Executive on September 5, 2011 and rectified by the State Assembly on September 6, 2011.
On Tuesday September 6, 2011 at 1:30pm, the Anambra State Assembly in their Chambers in Awka, the capital of Anambra State, presided over by the Speaker of the Assembly, Hon. Chinwe Nwabili read from a document that the SSG had written to the State Assembly recommending for the sacking of the Chairman following the findings of an audit committee constituted by Peter Obi’s administration to audit the financial activities of the ANSIEC. According to the letter, the ANSIEC Chairman was found to have misappropriated over N100million and thus recommended for sack. The Speaker called for a vote and the entire 24 members present for the seating voted in unison for the sack.
But more appears to meet the eye beyond the hurried letter of sack and the overwhelming support by the lawmakers to vote unanimously for the removal of the ANSIEC Chairman, Prof Titus Eze within 24hours of receipt of the sack letter from the SSG.
In Prof Titus Eze’s response to the said indictment, he pointed to the fact that all contractual agreements of ANSIEC were carried out in the presence of the State Governor and the SSG. He stated that it is customary for the Governor to appoint all the consultants/contractors for all the projects carried out under the supervison of the ANSIEC. He catergorically stated that it was Mr. Peter Obi who brought the consultant that was awarded the contract to vet the voter’s register against the upcoming council elections. He added also that it was Peter Obi who approved the payment to the consultant. “I have never met the consultant before. He was brought to us by Peter Obi“.
As investigations by 247ureports.com unearthed, the removal of the ANSIEC Chairman may have little to do with the said financial recklessness as charged by the audit committee. The audit committee which conducted their exercise for period of 5days were said to have been orchestrated by the Anambra State governor and the Man-Friday of the Governor, the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs and Chieftaincy Matters, Mr. Dubem Obaze.
On the first level, it was gathered that Prof Titus Eze, an indigene of Ihiala, got the top position in ANSIEC through the recommendation of a former Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] member of the House of Representatives who was also the senatorial candidate for the Anambra South senatorial district under the All Progressive Grand Alliance [APGA] party in the 2011 National Assembly [NASS] elections – in the person of Hon. Chumah Nzeribe, also an indigene of Ihiala.
Following the unsatisfactory performance of APGA’s senatorial candidates in Anambra State during the 2011 NASS elections – of which Hon. Chuma Nzeribe lost to Senator Andy Uba of the PDP, sources close to Gov Peter Obi –reveal that the close relationship between Hon. Chumah Nzeribe and Gov Peter Obi soured. The source who is an indigene of Agulu indicated that the relationship fell apart in May 2011 between the two immediately following the embarrassing election. It is uncertain the reasons for the split.
With the divide between the two [Peter Obi and Chumah Nzeribe], the Governor turned suspicious of the ANSIEC Chairman believing the Chairman’s loyalty will remain with Chumah Nzeribe. To this end, two council election schedules developed by the ANSIEC under the leadership of Prof Titus Eze and submitted to the Governor was not acted upon or responded to. The first election schedule developed recommended an election date in August 2011 while the second schedule recommended a date in November 2011. Both schedules were submitted in May/June 2011. A bill of N600million was pegged for the conduct of the election.
Informed political scholars of grass-root APGA in Anambra State tell 247ureports.com that the State administration has little interest in conducting council elections in the near future. They point to the sacking of Prof Titus Eze as one of the numerous diversionary delay tactics that the Obi administration had adopted since it mounted the gubernatorial seat in March 2006. One of the sources opined that the former ANSIEC Chairman, Cornel Umeh, who was an appointee of the former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chris Ngige was also charged for financial mismanagement – and sacked in a similar manner. The sacking of the then ANSIEC Chairman came when the call for council election was ripe on the lips of concerned citizens/indigenes – similar in the timing to Prof Titus Eze’s sacking.
In talking with the APGA Chairman of Anambra State, Mr. Mike Kwento, it became clearer the extent of sinister at play. He told our correspondent that Prof Titus Eze was removed to allow the election to be conducted fairly without foul play. He pointed out that now that Prof Titus Eze is out of the way that the governor will quickly conduct the council elections, adding that the Obi administration and APGA have intelligence reports on Prof Titus Eze and that they have used the security services of the State to monitor the activities of Prof Titus Eze. “We have facts”, he exclaimed indicating that they had facts of his loyalty no longer belonging to the State Governor.
Also, it is apparent the Obi administration may have anticipated the suspicions and noise that would be generated over Prof Titus Eze’s sacking. This is as the Governor Peter Obi made himself unavailable in Anambra State a few days to the sacking. He is said to be outside the country. He is scheduled to return for a burial in Awka on Thursday September 8, 2011 and to immediately leave the country again. The SSG is also reported to be outside of Anambra State. As gathered, he is headed for Sokoto State and may not return to Anambra State till Sunday.
Meanwhile, a source in APGA Anambra State executive told 247ureports.com that a replacement is expected to be named by Governor Peter Obi on Friday September 9, 2011 before his return to overseas.
—- Click below to see the SSG SACK LETTER TO STATE ASSEMBLY