The Imo G-7 members have launched legal offensives against the leadership of Imo PDP over the widely published allegation that the seven former state officers of the party misappropriated the sum of N1.4 billion and resigned their positions because they were running from the law.
Recall that on June 18, 2023, seven members of the Imo State Working Committee of the PDP, popularly known as Imo G-7, namely Martins Ejiogu, Ray Emeana, Josiah Ezeh, Collins Opurozor, Chibuisi Obido, Greg Nwadike and Maria Mbakwe, resigned their positions in the party and subsequently defected to the APC. In reaction to this development, the leadership of Imo PDP allegedly held a press conference and accused them of misappropriation and embezzlement.
Peeved by the accusation, the G-7 members petitioned the police and demanded for the arrest and prosecution of those involved in the defamatory press conference where the unfounded allegation was made.
Consequently, today, Friday, December 8, 2023 no fewer than 10 executive members of Imo PDP were arrested and arraigned before the Magistrate Court One in Owerri on charges bordering on criminal defamation.
But in a shocking turn of events, the governorship candidate of the PDP, Senator Samuel Anyanwu and his Deputy, Jones Onyereri, who were also to be brought before the court, were inexplicably absent during the arraignment.
The absence of these two men has raised serious worries and anger within the PDP circles, as party chieftains could be heard within the court premises grumbling and regretting that they have put themselves forward and facing imminent imprisonment because of the spurious allegation which they were instructed to peddle.
One of them who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “Our so-called governorship candidate is nowhere to be found. Other leaders of the party have abandoned us to mercy of these G-7 aggressors. The press briefing where the allegation was made against the G-7, that they embezzled N1.4 billion, was sponsored and bankrolled by our candidate, not by us. We are just party officers. Our leaders authored the script that we acted. They sold the lie to us. Yet, they have run away from the state and left us here to rot in jail,” he lamented.
After hearing the prosecution counsel, and considering the defense counsel’s application for bail, the court slammed N10 million on the accused Imo PDP officers as bail condition with a surety for each of them, and adjourned the matter to January 19, 2024.
As at press time, all the accused PDP chieftains, which include Uche Igbokwe, Chidi Dike, Bede Ojimadu, ThankGod Okeke, Nnamdi Nsorom, Law Biaduo, Njaka Duruiheoma and others, have not yet met the bail conditions and are about to be remanded in prison custody pending the fulfilment of the conditions.
Meanwhile, the Convener of Citizens Advocacy Initiative (CAI), Dr. Ferdinand Mbamara, who led other five civil society groups to monitor the court proceedings, cautioned Imo politicians against spreading unfounded allegations against political rivals in order to score cheap political points.
Speaking to newsmen after the court session, Dr. Mbamara said, “It is unfortunate that politicians resort to all manner of tales just to win followers and advance their goals, without caring about the legal consequences of such utterances. Accusing people of embezzlement of an amount to the tune of billions of Naira is so serious that it must not be swept under the carpet.
“We are, therefore, here to follow up with the case and to ensure that justice is served expeditiously. Our charge to the police prosecution team and the court is to remain focused and professional in handling the matter, being aware that the whole country is now interested in this very case.”