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N450m campaign slush fund: Group warns against Chime against passing the buck

…Urges EFCC to hold him accountable

A pan-national political pressure group, Nigerian Ex-Legislators Forum (NELF), has expressed dismay over the callous behaviour of the Former Governor of Enugu State, Mr Sullivan Chime, regarding the on-going investigation by the EFCC of the N450M allegedly disbursed by the Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Dezieni Allison Madueke to the Enugu state chapter of the PDP for the 2015 general elections.

In a press statement released to the media in Abuja on Friday 17 June, 2016 and signed by Hon Tambuwal Ahmed Muktar, who was the Chief Whip of Bauchi State House of Assembly in the Third Republic (1991-1993) and its National Coordinator; Elder Hon Ideke Onyeukwu, who was the Deputy Majority Leader of Enugu State House of Asembly in the same Third Republic, and its National Secretary; and Prince Dr Abel Adewale, who was the Deputy Speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly during the Second Republic (1979-1983) and its Board of Trustees Chairman, the group warned Sullivan Chime to stop passing the buck and playing a blame game and accept responsibility for receiving, hosting and disbursing the fund purportedly sourced from the Petroleum ministry and shared out through Fidelity Bank.

Reacting to a spate of press statements Sullivan Chime issued and media interviews he granted on the matter, the group wondered how the Chief Executive Officer of a state and the undisputed leader of the PDP in the state suddenly surrendered his power and authority to known and unknown aides to the extent that he can no longer recollect what precisely transpired in the whole sordid transaction or account for how every single kobo kept in his care was spent.

“Assuming that the PDP  had won the 2015 Presidential election and Former Governor Chime was asked to render account of how the money was spent to the Campaign organization, would he bury his head in the sand, ostrich-like, and declare irrationally as he has been doing, that he shouldn’t be held responsible because his subordinates presided over the expenditure”?, the group wondered.

Continuing, the group expressed alarm that going by Sullivan Chime’s current behaviour, Enugu state must have been bled silly under his watch for 8 years and there is no way anybody would be held accountable.

“In essence, what Sullivan Chime is telling the world is that if he were to be called upon to render the account of his stewardship as the Governor of Enugu state from 2007 to 2015, he will feign ignorance about how government resources were expended, preferring instead to place the blame for non-performance at the doorsteps of his commissioners, advisers and assistants”, the group lamented.

The Ex-Legislators Forum further warned Former Governor Chime to stop roping innocent people into the mess he brought upon himself and face his responsibility as a leader, as the former Governor of the state, and as the leader of the PDP, while charging the EFCC to ignore Chime’s illogical, meaningless and senseless statements and hold him fully accountable for the money in question.

“No matter how many times he tries to drag the names of people like Prof Chinedu Nebo, the former minister of power, Prof Osita Ogbu, the former Chief Economic Adviser to President Yar’adua, Joe Mmamel, Ikeji Asogwa, Rita Mba and Victor Atuonwu and others into the mess in other to save his opportunistic hide and launder his tattered dignity, the truth is already out in the open. Transactions of that magnitude can only be controlled and discharged at the highest level of government and we dare say that nobody in Abuja will place the responsibility of disbursing and accounting for such an amount on any other shoulder other than the Governor Sullivan’s”.

The group further warned Sullivan Chime to desist from insulting the intelligence of Enugu state people in particular and Nigerians in general and borrow a leaf from the principled stance of leaders like Olu Falae, Achike Udenwa, Ali Modu Sherrif and Olisa Metuh in accepting responsibility for the funds they collected, in defending why they collected it, and in either remaining firm in their stance that they did no wrong or expressing their desire to return same.

“None of these leaders ever called other people’s names as accomplices even when they must have disbursed money to them; they rather, like real leaders, protected the integrity of others, and accepted responsibility for whatever happened. Olisa Metuj’s case is instructive in that he averred that even though he disbursed money to people who delivered on the assignment given them, he pledged to return the money and refrained from naming others. Sullivan Chime should borrow a leaf from this act of courage, cease from dragging people’s name in the mud and accept his responsibility like a leader, if he is truly one”.

The group concluded by asserting that “as an elders’ council made up of representatives of the people in the past 37 years, some members of which are well in their 70s, it will never stand aside and watch latter day leaders like Sullivan  Chime destroy people’s reputation on the alter of his selfish desire and unconscionable self-survival antics.

“We will bring Sullivan Chime’s unbecoming conduct  not only to the court of public opinion but will also write to the EFCC, the South East Governors’ Forum, the Nigerian Governors’  Forum and the PDP Governors’ Forum to call him to order. We will also be consulting with younger members of the civil society movements about the prospect of a coordinated mass action against Sullivan Chime if he persists in his perfidious  path of infamy and immoral political conduct”.

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