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Mbadinuju to Ngige: Prove Duress or Quit

Posted by ThisDay on 2003/08/05 | Views: 1282 |

Mbadinuju to Ngige: Prove Duress or Quit

Former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadi-nuju has called on the state governor, Dr. Chris Ngige to prove that he signed the resignation letters which led to his abduction on July 10 under duress, or vacate the office.

By Chukwudi Nwabuko

Former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadi-nuju has called on the state governor, Dr. Chris Ngige to prove that he signed the resignation letters which led to his abduction on July 10 under duress, or vacate the office.

In his first formal reaction to the July 10 attempt to forcefully remove Ngige from office through a police operation involving a team of mobile policemen led by an Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Raphael Ige (rtd), Mbadinuju who sent his response to a questionnaire by THISDAY via e-mail at the weekend from his London base, explained that if the governor can prove duress, "he should be discharged legally, not morally."

"The most contentious are the resignation letters. The governor first said he did not sign them, then he went further and said he signed but under duress. Then finally, he admitted signing away his office, and then the oath of allegiance he took for his mentor. If the governor can prove duress, he should be discharged legally, not morally. If he cannot prove duress, he must perform as he contracted and vacate office", said Mbadinuju. He added that "no one should eat his cake and have it. You cannot approbate and reprobate at the same time".

Mbadinuju further argued that "if the agreement is not good in law, it may be accepted in equity because one party had moved to its detriment. Or after a contract of resignation do you punish one party and protect the other?, he asked.

"It is because of the 'agreement' that Uba and others pumped in their money and did their 'abracadabra or answansiology' in 'panel-beating' the results announ-ced in Anambra state", the former governor said.

The former governor, who himself had a running battle with some political godfathers in the state throughout his four years in office, stated that there was nothing wrong for politicians to make deals since "most people running for election anywhere in the world make deals."

"The only thing wrong is breaking the promise or enforcing the agreement in an unlawful manner. So, Dr. Chris Ngige did no wrong essentially to strike a deal with a financier. Neither did Uba go wrong in accepting to finance a friend's election on terms", said Mbadinuju, "What is wrong again is the bad faith and blackmail associated with the whole transaction," he said.

He contended that both Ngige and Uba conspired or colluded to edge him out using all sorts of blackmail and propaganda with support from the presidency in Abuja. "Now nemesis has caught up with them," he added.

On the role Uba played in his government, Mbadinuju, who described the wealthy businessman as a man of many parts, claimed that he was the closest friend he had.

"Chris Uba was the leading contractor in my administration. He kept collecting N10million every month from our Federation Account at source from Abuja to execute the projects at the 'Zik's Place'. My administration tried to stop the payment which was approved by one of the military administrations, but the Central Bank told us that one side cannot annul such a contract. So Uba collected the N10million a month for the four years I was in office. This was in addition to other payments we made to him through bank loans," the former governor stated.

He added that "all these were done to carry him along, and Abuja had advised very often that we should carry the Ubas along".

Mbadinuju confessed that "my worst headache was what to do with Chris Uba because if he tells you the Presidency has said this and this, you cannot always reach the Presidency to verify the story. For example, the variation we made of the cost of the new Government House and Lodge was made based on alleged approval by the Presidency which we could not verify".

On the influence of godfathers in Anambra state, Mbadinuju clarified that "if I had any godfather he was Dr. A.B.C. Orjiako" who he said stood with him financially and otherwise. He said the wide speculation about Emeka Offor's role in his election had no basis.

From the benefit of hindsight, he said that "if what we had in Anambra State during my administration and what is going on now in Dr. Chris Ngige's regime is what 'godfather' is all about, then there should be a law to proscribe it in the whole country".

Meanwhile, as the House Committee on Anambra state crisis puts finishing touches to its findings and recommendations on the July 10 aborted abduction attempt of Ngige, there are indications that it may shield from prosecution business mogul, Chief Chris Uba, deputy governor, Dr. Okey Udeh, former Speaker of the House, Mrs. Eucharia Azodo and some other actors in the saga.

But the former AIG, Ige may have been pencilled down for prosecution by the Committee.

Sources at the House told THISDAY that the reason for exonerating Uba and others from prosecution was the inability to link their action to treason.

"Have you read the Treason Act? How can you link an agreement between two politicians and its breach to treason? I think Uba and the others should be reprimanded, while Ige should be prosecuted because nothing concerned the police in that matter", the source insisted.

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