The last may not have been heard of the governorship elections in Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Delta states, as it has emerged that state funds were used to fund campaigns during the governorship elections in those states.
LEADERSHIP Sunday findings revealed that funds allocated to agencies of the federal government, particularly the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), were used to finance elections in the three states.
Sources with knowledge of how the agencies were used to finance campaigns in the states, told our correspondent that former President Goodluck Jonathan had discreetly, ordered the involvement of the NDDC and NIMASA in the poll.
A source familiar with the development confirmed to LEADERSHIP Sunday that the managing director of NDDC, Bassey Dan Abia, who was nominated for his current position by former governor of Akwa Ibom State and a Senator in the 8th Senate, Godswill Akpabio, had his younger brother elected into the House of Representatives as reward for the funds spent on the election.
The current governor of Akwa Ibom State, Emmanuel Udom according to our source, was the consensus candidate of Akpabio and Abia.
Our source further informed that several millions were channeled to the election through multi-million naira contracts, including an on-going bridge project in Akwa Ibom and that three contractors of the NDDC were forced to part with huge sums for the governor’s campaigns in the state, by the NDDC MD.
In the case of Rivers, the executive director, finance of the NDDC, Dr Henry Ogiri was the major financier of the governor, Nyesom Wike’s election, spending huge sums of money to ensure his emergence.
He was also alleged to have bought a bullet proof Toyota Land Cruiser sport utility vehicle for the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, to induce her to swing the result of the governorship election in favour of Governor Wike, as well as 26 campaign buses for the Grassroots Development Initiative, Wike’s pseudo campaign body.
It could be recalled that the All Progressives Congress, APC in the state, had prior to the governorship election, alerted the public of clandestine moves to use a top official of the NDDC and the REC in the state to rig the elections in the state.
The party had in a statement, alleged that Ogiri, had been directed by Jonathan to work closely with the Rivers REC, Mrs. Gesila Khan, to ensure that Jonathan wins on March 28 while Wike, the PDP governorship candidate wins on April 11.
“Acting according to the script, Dr Ogiri has purchased a brand new Prado Jeep for Mrs. Gesila Khan and the jeep is currently parked at the village of Mrs. Khan in Ogbia, Bayelsa State. In addition, Dr Ogiri has set aside a whopping sum of $100 million to be deposited into the account of Mrs. Khan before the week runs out,” Rivers APC Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, had said.
“To perfect the plans of winning Rivers State at all costs, Mrs. Khan, who is from President Jonathan’s village and his very close relation, was deliberately posted to Rivers recently to ensure that PDP wins the state, despite having been overwhelmingly rejected by our people. For INEC to post President Jonathan’s kinswoman to supervise the elections in Rivers State, which he has personally confessed neglecting deliberately in his six years in office, simply betrays the Presidency’s desperation to rig the elections as PDP can never win any free and fair polls in Rivers State.”
“We will like the security organs to investigate this woman and retrieve this car and expose Dr Ogiri for what he is. This is a man who has failed to pay NDDC staff for months and has also failed to pay contractors for services rendered to the commission, while funds are reserved for use in rigging the 2015 elections for PDP,” Ikanya alleged.
The situation in Delta State was not any different, where the NIMASA boss, Dr Patrick Akpoboloukemi, who was allegedly nominated for the job by Chief Government Ekpomupolo, alias Tompolo, also funded the campaigns that saw the emergence of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as governor of the state.
The deputy governor, Barr Kingsley Otuaro, was also allegedly nominated by Tompolo. This, according to sources, was however against the wish of the former governor of the state, Emmanuel Uduaghan, who wanted his erstwhile SSG, Macauley Ovuoarie to get the job, after he (Uduaghan) had been stopped from running for the Senate.
The NIMASA boss, LEADERSHIP Sunday source alleged, was instrumental to the funding of the Delta governorship polls in Warri north, Warri south west, Patani, Bomadi and Burutu, together with Senator James Manager, who is also from the state.
When contacted for reaction to the allegations, the spokesman of the NDDC, Abosede Ibitoye, said “whoever alleges must show proof,” and went off the line when asked if he had any further comments.
The NIMASA spokesman, Isichie Osamgbi, responding to a short message sent to his mobile number on Friday, said, “please note that we are a government agency and we absolutely do not have anything to do with politics.”
Meanwhile, the Delta State governor has lately been lamenting how his predecessor, Uduaghan, incurred debts running into hundreds of billions during his tenure in the state. Okowa had reportedly informed the state assembly that his predecessor committed the state to an irrevocable standing order of N5 billion monthly, to a new generation bank.
Our source said infuriated by the action of his successor, Uduaghan has allegedly, secretly released incriminating evidence to the APC camp in the state, to show proof of electoral irregularities in the five local government areas of Warri north, Warri south west, Burutu, Patani and Bomadi. If a case of electoral fraud is established in the five local government areas, it would be enough to render Okowa’s election invalid and necessitate a rerun governorship election in the state.
LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that Uduaghan’s latest move and romance with the APC is to avoid a situation where Okowa would eventually expose shady deals that could attract the attention of anti-corruption agencies against him and also intended to send packing, an imposed deputy governor from a rival ethnic group, Ijaw as well as negotiate the continued stay in office of his nominated candidate on the NDDC board, Omatsuli Tuoyo, who is the executive director projects.
Our source further pointed out that most of former governor Uduaghan’s men who were part of the alleged irregularities, as PDP men, have since decamped to the APC.
In an earlier report, LEADERSHIP Sunday had revealed that some top officials of the agencies in former President Jonathan’s administration were engaged in intense lobbying to retain their jobs, in the new administration.
LEADERSHIP Sunday’s source confirmed that the NIMASA and NDDC top shots were some of those involved in the lobbying, adding that their fear was that should former Rivers governor, Rotimi Amaechi, who was the director-general of the Buhari Campaign Organisation be made secretary to the government of the federation, as being speculated in some quarters, he would see to the dissolution of the boards and their eventual removal.