It is with a heavy heart that we, the good people of Enugu State, send this SOS to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR, the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the anti-graft agencies, and the Nigerian public over the reign of horrendous impunity and grand corruption in Enugu State.
As a matter of fact, governance stopped in the State on May 29, 2011, when Governor Sullivan Chime was sworn into Office for a second term. Not only is the state being mindlessly bled to death through monumental corruption and profligacy, we now live under conditions worse than Adolph Hitler’s Germany. Today in Enugu, Chimecracy, a system of government in which dissent is an anathema, no matter how reasonable, while impunity and tyranny by one man, his family and cronies is a code of official conduct, is the order of the day.
The 7 Cardinal Sins of Governor Chime
1. Ingratitude: Wonder why this comes first? Well, it is because Ausonius once said that “Earth produces nothing worse than an ungrateful man”. Governor Chime is one man whose political history is frost with innate ingratitude as though there is an unseen force propelling him to seek the destruction of all who made him. A few examples would suffice. Everyone knows that Governor Chimaroke Nnamani literally made Sullivan Chime the Governor of Enugu State. But it is one misjudgment that the former Governor lives to regret as Sullivan literally destroyed Nnamani’s political and economic empires once he became Governor. Former Governor of the State and National Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Okwesili Eze Nwodo, has his sad story to tell. Senator Jim Nwobodo was among those who helped Governor Chime to secure a second term ticket, but he rewarded Nwobodo by revoking his land title and sharing same to his cronies. Senator Ekweremadu and Members of the National Assembly form Enugu State literally weathered Chime’s political storm for him in 2011 to ensure he got a second term ticket, among other support and solidarity. Yet Chime started waging a cold and relentless war against them almost from the Okpara Square where he was sworn in. This war has now blown open as he has unleashed a smear campaign on the Senator Ekweremadu and other Members of the National Assembly from Enugu State as well as the sabotage of their Constituency Projects.
On December 10, 2013, Governor Chime summoned a meeting of all traditional rulers in Enugu State and decreed to them that any royal father that allowed a Constituency Project in his community without a written permission from would be summarily dethroned. On 12th December 2013, the Governor, acting through the Chairman of Ezeagu LGA, stopped work at the National Youth Centre attracted by Senator Ekweremadu to lwolo for Ezeagu LGA.
He had also decreed before now that no Member of the National Assembly from the State would be reelected in 2015. Governor Chime must be reminded what the Bible says about ingratitude. Proverbs 17:13 says: “He who returns evil for good, Evil will never depart from their home.”
2. Inflation of Contracts: The Governor and his gang of oppressors had since embarked on reckless contract inflation. It is a fact, for instance, that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and related Offences Commission, ICPC, are currently investigating allegations of the inflation of the “N13 Billion” contract for the construction of the New Secretariat Complex awarded to the Arab Contractors following a petition filed by his kinsman, Mr. Osita Okechukwu. This is a project that experts have insisted should not cost up to N5 billion in a sane society.
Indeed, only greed and corruption, fueled by deliberate misplacement of priority could have pushed a Governor to embark on such white elephant project in a state suffocating with poverty and underdevelopment induced by dearth of basic socio-economic infrastructures. Only such bottomless appetite for public funds could have pushed a Governor to pull down former secretariat structures, even against a groundswell of opposition from Enugu people, South Easterners, and against the wise counsel of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, all of whom saw the structures as the surviving legacies of the defunct Eastern Region, uniting edifice, and tourist attraction that were only suffering from lack of maintenance.
3. Contract Sharing: Enugu State is sinking under the weight of one man and his gang who see Enugu State as their private estate. A case in point is the looting that has gone on at the Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board for a long time now. It is noteworthy that law enforcement agencies are currently investigating the thievery and looting going on in the agency. An instance is the petition to the Inspector-General of Police by the former Executive Chairman of the Enugu state Universal Education Board, ESUBEB as well as Chime’s kinswoman, Chief Mrs. Ethel Nebo-Ezeabasili, dated February 13, 2014 and entitled “Save my Soul: Threat to my Life, Harassment and Intimidation by Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo, Chief of Staff to The Governor of Enugu State”. The former executive Chairman explains that once she (the former Executive Chairman) accessed the sum of N3.6 Billion matching grant for the years 2009, 2010, and 2011, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo (Governor Chime’s point woman) hijacked and manipulated the processes of project execution. And after many flip-flops, Mrs. Nwobodo awarded contracts for a whooping 583 (Five hundred and Eighty-Three) projects to only four companies (New Techniques Nigeria Ltd, Raycon Nigeria Ltd, J & J Techno Nigeria Ltd, and Akota Work Nigeria Ltd.) to be executed by direct labour. But Nigerians should note that by the Procurement Act, no contractor is to tender or be awarded more than a single project or one lot! And it was the former Executive Chairman’s stand against such reckless and fraudulent sharing of contracts that earned her the boot.
It is noteworthy that at the height of the ruthless onslaught against her, the poor woman’s Office was invaded on October 1, 2012 and project files and other vital document were carted away, while several attempts were made on life. Her petition to the Director of State Security, Enugu State and another to the Commissioner for Police all dated November 2, 2012, tell the rest of the story. But this is just a glimpse of the impunity and highhandedness meted to those who stand in the way of corruption in the State.
4. Money Laundering: It is not surprising, therefore, that the Enugu State Government and Governor Chime’s Chief of Staff/“Woman Friday”, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo is currently undergoing investigation over charges of laundering multibillion naira funds of the poor people of Enugu State. This followed a petition to the Police IG, detailing that the money laundering and looting started from April 21, 2011. That was just a few days after Governor Sullivan Chime was inaugurated for a second tenure. It is for reasons such as this that we insist that governance stopped in Enugu from May 29, 2011.
We will publish the complete dossier in volume 2 of the Rescue Statement, including the onshore and offshore businesses and real estates.
5. Human Rights Abuse: Enugu State is now the new ugly face of human rights abuse in Nigeria. The detention of Enugu’s First Lady, Mrs. Clara Chime by Governor Chime, which he justified on account of alleged health challenge, has turned the State from a land known for peace and freedom to one of odious repression. Enugu State now holds the loathsome record of the first state to convert its Government House to a Mental Home. What a shame!
6. Poor workers welfare: Despite the mindless lootings going on in the State, the Enugu State’s workforce remains the least paid in the whole country. Any form of industrial action or complaint is met with brute force.
7. Perjury: Contrary to the Oath of Office he swore to, Governor Sullivan Chime lied to the people of the State that he was enjoying an accumulated leave, whereas he was lying seriously ill in overseas hospitals. He deceived the people for 140 days!
We wish to assert that the foregoing are just a tip of the iceberg of the rot and looting that are bleeding Enugu State to death, a mere glimpse of the despotism under which weight our beloved State is sinking. We therefore call on President Goodluck Jonathan, the PDP, the anti-graft and law enforcement agencies, and indeed other well meaning Nigerians to come to our rescue before it is too late.
Ozo Christopher Ogbu
(For Enugu Rescue Group)