For Dr Chris Nwabueze Ngige, Senator representing Anambra Central, the sun yesterday literally rose at 5.00pm and stood still in Awka, Anambra State political capital as a rainbow coalition of ex-officios (Past political office holders in the State and their followers) from every active political platform, passed a motion in parliamentary style in Awka to draft him into this years governorship race in the state, even as the Senator himself stopped short of a positive declaration into the race as yet.
But remarkably Senator Ngige announced that his new mega party, All Progressive Congress, APC (comprising, ACN, CPC, ANPP, APGA (in part) and DPP), whose logo conspicuously adorned the back-drop yesterday is billed to be launched in Anambra State before the end of May. It was not immediately clear if Ngige will join the race on that occasion.
The event which took place at the new ‘Events Centre’ at Marble Arch Hotels Awka, with the two-thousand capacity hall spilling over beyond the limit also saw some aggrieved PDP members distributing leaflets to protest their insulation form the benefits that should accrue from their party at the national level in favour of a faction of APGA.
Ngige governor of Anambra State from May 2003 to March 2006 who spoke to the gathering comprising approximately 2,700 persons from all 21 local government areas in the state for an hour rather challenged the summit, in an Igbo anecdote to go home and think while I also think,’, because Nwa amulu taa; ojee ije taa, gbaa oso taa, aburo ezigbo nwa (a child born today, which walks today and runs today is a bad child).
The new forum named, ‘Ngige for Good Governance 2014’ which according to the Chairman, Mr Ben Oraelosi, PDP stalwart and erstwhile chairman of Orumba South Local government Area had indicated that the forum was formed months ago, and their search has not led them to any credible candidate among those who have shown interest in the race, urged Senator Ngige to consider the plea a call to service, even as he acknowledged that ‘having been a governor recorded well by history here ( Anambra State ) and now one of Nigerian’s busiest and most productive senators, Ngige does not have anything.
Participants yesterday came from ACN, PDP, APGA, ANPP, CPC, Accord Party, DPP, Labour Party and PPA.
In an address to the forum Senator Ngige went down memory Lane on how he came to be drafted into the goveresnorship race in 2003 to save the name of his party which had been affected by the act of owing workers, pensioners and other issues and how he was forcefully removed under a questionable judicious process arrived at under pressure from ‘the powers that be’
‘In the verdict given by the election tribunal in Awka, the judges acknowledged that votes I did not earn was credited to me and that vote Mr Peter Obi did not earn were also credited to him Ngige recounted, noting:’ I am not a judge, but lawyers will tell you that those who come to equity must come with clean hands’
Ngige said that apart from failing to punish both offenders by ordering a fresh election, the tribunal went into the business of counting votes which was a settled judicial matter in the case of Chief Jim Nwobodo vs. Chief Christian Onoh (Old Anambra State), which preceded the matter. ‘Yet even when my associates at the time insisted that the judgement would not be accepted, I told them that we had to leave because our ovation was loud, so that Peter Obi, who is neither from Maidugri nor Oshogbo, will come and try’.
Ngige also told the gathering that he worked with about N80 billion total budget and N69 billion in execution, for the four budgets his administration did, which adds up to N150 billion when added to the local allocations, but that the succeeding Peter Obi- led administration has received N1.2 trillion in state allocations form the federation account and about N800 billion as local government allocation, making a total of roughly N2 trillion.
‘Seven years after, what justifies these huge earnings in the state?’ Ngige queried, urging those who want to compare the two administrations to do so on the same parameters.
‘Even if you allow for inflation by doubling the N150 billion to N300 billion, does the situation in Anambra State justify the huge resources that has come into the state since then? ‘Ngige declared as a thunderous ‘No’ filled the air from the jam-packed hall.
When I was the governor of Anambra State there were no kidnappers in this state. We knew what to do with armed robbers and kidnappers and we did it. He said adding that ‘You could withdraw money from your bank and count it on your boot or bonnet of your car. Can you try it now?
Before the ovation dies down Ngige also decried the departure from culture and values in the state coming down heavily on those who according to him throw dollars from their cars at road junctions in the name of contesting for governorship elections’
Going further Ngige asked the politicians and members of the public to disregard those who claim that the projects his administration did were concentrated in Idemili because they are mere propagandists, who want you to believe that the road that the road connecting Otuocha-Aguleri-Umueri-Nteje-Awkuzu-Oyeagu is in Idemili.’
‘They also want you to believe that the road from Amaesi –Uga-Ogbunka Umunze- and so on are in Idemili.’
Said the Vice Chairman, Senate committee on Power : ‘The kilo meterage of the road from Igbo Ukwu –Uga-Umuchu-Umunze-Owere Ezukala is about 57 kilometres and cost almost N2.7bn for the erosion control only. That amount is by far bigger than that expended for all roads constructed in Idemili’.
Similarly, in a veiled reference to the demand of N3bn by Chris Uba in one year during his tenure, he denounced those who say he does not keep agreements, telling that any agreement that is illegal or does not consider the people first should not be kept.
While announcing that APC will be launched in Anambra State before the end of May inviting all those who wish to join APC and operate from there to do so and be received with ‘open arms’.
Ngige divided those who he consulted in the course of this on-going consultation, to include himself, his famili,his political associates and the masses of Anambra State, adding that all he and his family agree that there is nothing to personally gain in the race for all the money sapping and absence from the family respectively, but the other two categories insists that he has value to add. This according to Ngige is the reason the consultation, which is coming to an end has been sustained till date.
He charged the amalgam of politicians to decide today if there support can go all the way to the end as opposed to the half-hearted support of politicians in Anambra State if he throws his hat in the ring.
On the heels of Ngige’s 68 minute moving speech, secretary of the all –party gathering and former member of Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Okonkwo-Okom asked for a formal motion to be moved and debated on the matter.
Hon Ralph Okeke, former members of the House of Representations from Aroma –Etiti, Anambra West Local Government Area of Anambra North Senatorial Zone while moving a motion to draft Ngige into the Anambra State governorship race, declared that the whole story about Anambra North Senatorial District is nothing but ‘wa’ yo’ (a grand deceit). The motion was seconded by Hon Ejike Nwosu (APGA) from Ezinifite, Aguata (LGA), Anambra South Senatorial Zone and supported by two others; Hon Chidi Abasilim (PDP) idemili South LGA and a a lawyer, Mr Paul Obianaso (No party) Okija,Ihiala LGA of Anambra South Zone.
Former Speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly Rt. Hon Mike Balonwu (PDP) from Onitsha exactly 5.00pm asked those in favour of the motion in the hall to say ‘yes’ and those against to say ‘no’. The yes was unanimous.
Other notable personalities at the event include the former Chairman of Aniocha LGA, Mrs Tina Akonobi, former Commissioner for Information Chief Charles Amilo, Special Adviser to the governor of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Peter Ogbuka, Former Principal Secretary to the Anambra State government, Mr EJC Nwosu.
In the leaflets distributed by aggrieved PDP members they mentioned that all appointees of the PDP-controlled federal government today from Anambra are appointed by APGA government of Peter Obi with most beneficiaries coming from APGA and Agulu, Obi’s hometown.