A pro-democracy and advocacy body, Abia Transparency Group International (ATGI), has expressed dismay on the integrity problems of some candidates of political parties jostling the Abia governorship seat election fixed for march 2023 by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The group noted the integrity problems by these gubernatorial candidates in the state bothered on certificate forgery, illegal asset declaration, health challenges and controversial ownership of a bank, stating it owes Abia people a duty to keep those integrity issues on their toes.
Baring its mind on the backdrops of the upcoming general elections in all states of the Nigeria federation billed for February and march this year by the Nigeria electoral commission which contained in a statement issued on Friday, the group frowned at the perceived conspiracy to sweep under the carpet these very weighty integrity issues and insisted it’s time Abia citizens begin to beam their searchlight on those presenting themselves to govern them.
The press statement was jointly signed by the Group President, Engr Emeka Nledim, and the Secretary-General Comrade Isaac Kanu Obi respectively.
According to the rights group, “our integrity lights beams on the factional candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Professor Gregory Ibeh who is fingered to have doctored the WAEC result he submitted to INEC under oath.
“Investigation by this group revealed that the computerized data version from WAEC matching the subject and grades submitted by Ibe has different names but same examination number. The group is questioning the integrity of the said result.
“We have waited patiently for Professor Ibeh to either present the facts to the public by clearing the air with the original certificates but he is obviously trying to play on the intelligence of Abians. We’re giving Professor Ibeh a week to come clean or have us expose him. Therefore, Abians are urged to follow up to unearth the truth”.
The civil society group noted “the Young Peoples Party Governorship candidate, Chief Nana Nwafor was alleged to have criminally declared one account to Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) whereas he hid twelve other accounts from the agency.
“Also, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has very serious allegations of contract over-invoicing and inflation of contract figures, poorly executed jobs and money laundering. Investigation is currently ongoing about his contract deals with the state government. We seek to unravel the truth.
Continuing, the non partisan organization further stated “Abia Governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Professor Eleazar Ikonne has been rumoured to be absent from the state for sometime.
“We seek to investigate the true status of his absence and also find out if he is in anyway no look nger of sound mind to carry on the duties of a governor should he win the forthcoming Governorship election in Abia state. We’re interested in revealing the truth.
“The Labour Party Governorship candidate, Dr Alex Otti is said to be fronting for a former Governor of Rivers state as owner of Signature Bank.
“We’re also worried about Otti’s inconsistencies about his place of origin, financial mismanagement and other hidden issues.
“We are therefore poised to unwrap all the secret financial deals he may be involved in”.
The non governmental organization however issued an ultimatum on the above-mentioned gubernatorial candidates in Abia state to come clean over the controversies and mixed feelings surrounding their records.
Words: “As a group of Abia professionals formed to hold public office holders and those seeking public office accountable for their actions and to subject the process that will produce them to highest level of integrity, we strongly believe the process is more important than the outcome. We serve as the moral compass of the society.
“We’re promising Abians keep it honest with them. We are giving every candidate for the Governorship election from the first week in February 2023 to come clean with their records”.