Posted by Boniface Okoro, Umuahia | 12 October 2016 | 2,838 times
The brief arrest and release of Dr Uche Chukwu Ogah, President of Masters Energy by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) last Monday in Lagos may have come and gone, but the incident is still causing ripples in Abia State where Ogah has blasted the state government for jumping in celebration while his ordeal lasted.
Ogah, through the mouthpiece of his campaign outfit, accused the state government of allegedly being behind his arrest and berated the government for rejoicing over the misfortune of its citizen whom it should care for and protect.
Following Ogah’s arrest by EFCC, over alleged forgery of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Strategy, Mr. Bonnie Iwuoha, had in a news report broadcast by the state-owned radio, the Broadcasting Corporation of Abia (BCA) and monitored in Umuahia, promptly congratulated the EFCC for arresting the oil magnate, saying that he should be held to account for his illegal business deals.
But reacting to what he termed as premature celebration, spokesman of Uche Ogah Campaign Organization, Chief Joshua Ogbonna, Tuesday, lambasted the state government for gloating over the arrest of their principal, describing the action of the Commissioner as “frivolous, premature and totally misplaced,” adding that it was at variance with the long-held Igbo ethos of “being our brother’s keeper.”
“Instead of being our brother’s keeper, those who are temporarily holding power are busy hounding and hunting down Abians,” Ogbonna said.
He explained that the government of Abia state was not in any way connected with the matter for which Ogah was arrested by the EFCC.
“Abia government has nothing to do with the case but they connived with the woman to petition the EFCC against Ogah and when the truth came to light, the EFCC had no reason to keep him in detention and promptly let him go,” he said.
Ogbonna said that it was a shame that instead of encouraging the likes of Ogah to come and invest in the state, “they (government officials) are busy mocking themselves and celebrating an imaginary misfortune of a prominent Abia son.”
While arguing that the government needed not to celebrate so early, Ogbonna added that it would do the state government a lot of good “to wait for genuine celebration as Abians are interested in the outcome of the matter between Ogah and Ikpeazu at the Supreme Court.”
He further described as diversionary, the government's celebration of Ogah’s arrest “as Abia people has myriads of problems that needed government intervention,” as he urged that “the state government should clear the unpaid salaries of its workers who are now dying of hunger while a lot of businesses are closing down due to low patronage.”
Ogbonna pointed out that those rejoicing over Ogah’s travails actually feel threatened by the rising political profile of the business mogul, adding: “Unfortunately for them, there was nothing they could do about it.”
“The Abia State Government wants to undo a man that did nothing wrong. Government is expected to be the defender of all Abians irrespective of political leaning. Ikpeazu and his Commissioner for Information should keep their premature celebration until after the Supreme Court verdict to know whether to cry or celebrate,” he added.
News Express reports that Ogah had dragged Ikpeazu to court for allegedly providing false information about his tax certificate to the Peoples Democratic Party, insisting that the criminal act disqualified him from standing for the Abia PDP primary election for choosing the governorship candidate of the party for the 2015 general elections which Ikpeazu was declared winner.
In a judgement that rattled the Ikpeazu administration, Justice Okon Abang of Abuja Federal High Court who presided over the case, not only ruled in favour of Ogah but directed the Independent National Electoral Commission to immediately issue Ogah with a new certificate of return and that he should be sworn into office as governor of Abia State while ordering Ikpeazu to vacate office.
While reacting to the ruling, Ikpeazu said, among other things, that Ogah was seeking for immunity to protect him from prosecution of a forgery case pending against him in Lagos.
However, Ikpeazu rushed to the Appeal Court which set aside Okon Abang’s ruling but Ogah took the matter to the Supreme Court where the matter is now pending and judgement is expected to be delivered around November.
•Photo shows Uche Ogah.
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