Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi has denied claims by his predecessor Chief Martin Elechi, that he is responsible for petitions against him before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC). The governor said he rather appealed to the anti-graft agency to leave Elechi alone because of his age.
The governor spoke in reaction to a letter written to him by Elechi, rejecting a Toyota V8 SUV gift he gave to him. The letter, which was copied to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, the state Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and the Department of State Services, DSS, in the state, was leaked to the press.
According to him:
“I would not have commented on the letter of my former boss if it had not been published. We agreed in the Exco that we should ignore it but when I started seeing it published, I felt that in a public gathering like this, we have to clear some certain issues.”
Umahi admitted that vehicles were purchased for former governors, including Elechi and former Senate President, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, but that rejecting the car was not the best option as Elechi had written to him shortly after he left office to give his wife two cars which he obliged.
He went on to explain that some of the petitions that made Chief Martin Elechi a regular visitor to EFCC office were written when both of them were in government as governor and deputy governor respectively “by someone who is now in his (Elechi) camp.”
While insisting that his administration never wrote any petition against the former governor, he said he had told the commission to leave Elechi alone that if he was found wanting in anyway, he would pay back. He, however, added that Elechi’s children were allegedly involved in contract scams and would have to answer for their actions, if found guilty.
While denying being in charge of the Executive Council Committee on Inspection during Elechi’s second tenure as governor, Umahi explained that he was sometimes drafted to a monitoring team if there were engineering difficulties in some projects during Elechi’s tenure. He listed some of them to include the Oferekpe water project and the Agba bridge which he said his involvement helped to save the state a whopping N1.6bn.