Umahi, ex-Ebonyi SSG in verbal war over N2bn loan

Edward Nnachi, Abakaliki

Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State and a former Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Benard Odoh, are engaging in a verbal war over the disbursement of the Central Bank of Nigeria N2bn agric loan secured for farmers by the government in 2016.

Umahi had during a statewide broadcast at the new Governor’s Lodge, Centenary City, Abakaliki, said, “One of the critics in Ebonyi State, who was holding a very high position, supervised the N2bn and he used ‘ghost’ workers to supervise the N2bn. It’s not recovered. He didn’t even give it to his people, but he claims that he loves his people.

“At the state council executive meeting this week, we are going to set up a Commission of Inquiry to look at those wickedness dished out to our people. So, I want to assure our people that we are doing everything humanly possible to fight poverty.”

But in a statement he personally signed, Odoh said it was either that Umahi was suffering from whimsical amnesia or he had forgotten his unchallenged and factual reply to a query on the matter, since May 2018.

The statement read in part, “My immediate reaction is thus: It is either that Governor Umahi is now suffering from whimsical amnesia to have forgotten my unchallenged, detailed and factual reply to a query on the above subject matter since May 2018 (just few weeks after my resignation), when I made the said prompt response, or he has simply elevated his lying and prevaricating dispositions on virtually every issue in Ebonyi State to an art!.

“After my bold resignation on April 2nd, 2018, (reasons for which I also audaciously made public) in my viral letter, I wish to place on record that I received a letter from the Ebonyi State Government requesting me to explain and give account of the disbursement and recovery of the loan facility for farmers under the CBN Agric loan policy, which the Ebonyi State Government got the sum of N2bn.

“As the Chairman of the EXCO Committee that was set up to oversee the scheme, I did not hesitate for a moment before issuing my response via my memo. My office did not carry out the disbursement of the funds. Rather, the committee which I headed was only limited to providing workable and strategic leadership for the implementation of the Ministry of Agriculture policy in the state.”

But a statement signed by his Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Mr Uchenna Orji, Umahi said he was being celebrated within the state and across the country for his developmental strides.

The commissioner, who claimed that the former SSG was living in a rented apartment before he became the SSG, wondered where he got money to build his personal house soon after his assumption of office.

He said, “The integrity you trumpet is questionable.”

The statement partly read, “I don’t intend to join issues with you. I had wanted to speak with you privately to call your attention to how you are gradually reducing yourself by taking to dirty means of seeking political relevance.

“I know your pedigree and your financial status before coming to office as SSG of Ebonyi State, a position graciously given to you by the Governor of Ebonyi State, His Excellency, David Umahi, even when your people cried foul of the danger of appointing you as such,  citing your antecedents of betrayal. But we thank God that you did not hide your character after all.

“You left office ingloriously as SSG after all you did, but the governor in keeping with divine discernment kept his peace despite your unwarranted provocative circulations aimed at sullying the reputation of the state government that engaged you.

“I am only advising you to stop bringing ostracism to your own organism. You might think you are smart or that you are currying or savouring cheap popularity from gullible persons but that is short-lived. That will rather expose your unwanted and most dangerous idiosyncratic tendencies to people and that is potentially morally damning.”

PUNCH

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