Elombah At It Again On “Obi Bribes House Of Assembly Members With N21M To Cover His Co
(Onitsha Nigeria, 29th day of March, 2014)-On Friday evening, 28th day of March, 2014, at 16:57pm, Barr Daniel Elombah's site (Elombah. Com), wrote through his reporter- Fejiro Oliver with the following headline: 'Breaking News!!! Obi Bribing House Of Assembly Members With N21Million'
He further wrote: 'Happening now! part of the game to cover up some of his corrupt practices in office as well as his extravagancies, the immediate past Governor of Anambra State, Governor Peter Obi is currently seating with members of the State House of Assembly. According to our source, each of the Legislators will be given N1 million each as a parting gift from the Governor. Another source who had a chat with us on the social media confirmed to us that the Ex Governor is doling out N5 million to the Speaker, while principal members will get N2 million each. According to the source, the governor hurriedly called the meeting following outcry that his administration should be looked into after his disclosure that he left N75 billion in the state coffers'.
'Other overture made to the State House of Assembly members is the promise that they will be given lands to build mansions, if only they will not open the record books. But as we chat, he has not told them of the land yet, but he will soon tell them, stated our highly place source who contested the State Local Government Chairman under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
I am not supposed to reveal this to you, but since you seem to have an insider in the government and your antecedent of exposing people, hence I am telling Elombah this. More money will be given out next week to the Chairmen and Councilors so as to keep quiet, our source told Elombah.com'
Whereas we remain resolute over accountability in public office, both when in government and out of government, we are also opposed to grave damage or attempts to cause damage to the reputations of those who may have decided to govern differently and depart from usual Nigerian style of public governance. Our perusal of the Elombah's latest report under reference clearly shows that it is patently empty, biased, speculative, false, malicious and incoherent with fundamental meaning under the Nigeria's anti graft law of what constitutes corrupt practices. First, Anambra State Assembly is composed of 30 members and 'giving each of them N1m, speaker N5m and principal heads N2m each' does not translate to 'N21m'.
Secondly, the plots of land allegation are provocatively speculative and false because it goes with a big question 'where are they located and who will sign their C-of-Os?' Other questions are: Why did Chief Peter Obi choose to do the forgoing as ex-governor instead of doing it while in office? What roles would the local government chairmen and councilors play in preventing Chief Peter Obi from being probed for allegedly 'his corrupt practices and extravagancies' in office by being bribed? When has a PDP LGA chairmanship aspirant become a House member that made him to be part of House of Assembly members' meeting with Chief Peter Obi so as to be bribed? Assuming, but not conceding that Chief Obi held informal meetings or courtesy visits with or to bodies like judges, lawmakers and biz moguls, does it amount to economic and financial crimes or bribery? What does anti graft law say about gifts? What chances of authenticity does a story emanating from an imaginary or real aggrieved PDP LGA poll contestant have? Who is the petitioner that petitioned the House for Obi's probe that warrants Chief Peter Obi's desperation to bribe the House when out of office? Is the Anambra State of Assembly the only statutorily established agency in Nigeria that can probe Chief Peter Obi's administration in the context of economic and financial crimes?
As for those placing adverts in the media debunking Chief Peter Obi's recent public disclosure that he left a whopping sum of N75 billion worth of cash and investments to the State, it is authentically confirmed by our investigators that he indeed left such cash and investment capitals. The only area where Chief Obi did not reflect is the fact Anambra still has unpaid debts worth N10.7billion as December 2013. Granted that the debts were not borrowed by him, but 'continuity doctrine' makes it mandatory for it to be reflected. If reflected and deducted, Anambra State under Chief Peter Obi would have a total credit balance of 64.3billion worth of cash and investments. It is also confirmed by our team of investigators that the affected banks have come before the new Governor with certified bank account balances confirming Chief Obi's stewardship public declaration.
We understand the fears of the doubting 'Thomases' because it is unheard of in recent Nigerian history where a governor left his or her State on such sound credit. In most of the Southwest States, particularly Lagos, it is correct to observe that their governors will leave them in huge fiscal deficits or indebtedness by the end of their tenures. It is, therefore, possible that they are part of the doubting 'Thomases' running riot on pages of newspapers debunking Chief Peter Obi's commendable public stewardship account. Under the Freedom of Information Act of the Federation, anybody disbelieving the stewardship account can write to the present Government of Anambra State seeking to be furnished with undiluted information as per the subject above.
Granted that corruption has eaten deep into the country's fabric, it does not mean that every public office holder and every private citizen is corrupt. As CSO and media advocacy groups, while we strive to expose and seek to bring to justice corrupt and beastly leaders, we must also encourage and celebrate those who choose not to corruptly enrich themselves while in office. It is a truism that not all public office holders in Nigeria are corrupt. In determining who is corrupt or who corrupted him or herself in office, we, at the level of CSO and the media must establish unbiased parameters and be conversant with the laws governing corrupt practices. We must also engage ourselves in data mining and avoid the application of 'trial by ordeal' or 'media' both verbally and in written form.
Finally, we wish to assure the likes of Barr Daniel Elombah that this position of ours does not in any way forecloses any legitimate representations to the anti economic and financial crimes bodies over Chief Peter Obi's administration. If Barr Elombah and his 'Transform Nigeria' have any incontrovertible facts known to the country's anti economic and financial crimes laws against Chief Peter Obi's 'corrupt practices' in office, we shall add our signature to such facts boggling representations and seek for thorough and comprehensive investigations into them. Conversely, we will not be a party to any form of 'trial by ordeal' propelled by not selfless intents.
In 2010, when it was alleged that Chief Peter Obi was caught laundering N250m, we were the only group that dragged him to the fraud unit of the Force CID and EFCC and made it public. Invitations were extended to us and we responded. At the end of the investigations, Chief Obi was exonerated and issued with letters of exoneration. During the Ayo Isa Salami and Aloysius Katsina Alu judicial scandals, it was our letter that was openly adopted by the National Judicial Council, among numerous petitions pending before it. In view of the fact that what makes empty news on the pages of newspaper may be worthless when subjected to judicial review, we will only concern ourselves and identify with issues of corruption allegations that have merit and known to Nigeria's body of law on graft practices. The allegation contained in the piece under reference is dead on arrival.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law-Intersociety
Comrade Justus Uche Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk