Enugu professionals have accused their new state governor, Mr Peter Mbah who assumed office on May 29, of putting the wrong foot forward within one week of being sworn in.
In a statement this morning in Enugu, the president of the Alliance of Enugu State Professionals (AESP), Engr Simon-Peter Nwobodo, and the publicity secretary, Barrister Matthew Eze, accused Mbah of bribing the 24 newly elected members of the Enugu State House of Assembly with N48 million even before their inauguration.
There are speculations that the state legislature will be inaugurated between the 13 and 20th of this month.
“Mbah, whose controversial declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on March 22, 2023, as the winner of the March 18, 2023, governorship election is being vigorously contested at the Election Petitions Tribunal, called them to a meeting at the Governor’s Lodge last Friday, but the so-called meeting turned out to be a mere opportunity to give each of them a N2m bribe to support him, regardless of his or her political party”, declared the professionals who observed that the new governor “is seeking acceptance by all possible possible”.
The Labour Party (LP) won 14 seats while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) got 10 in the election held alongside the gubernatorial on March 18.
The AESP stated that the governor told the new legislators that the surprise gift would enable each person to host a party on their swearing-in day.
According to the Enugu State professionals, he also told them in Igbo that the N48m gift “is a tip off the iceberg, as he will make them very comfortable when they start to work as he wants”
The professionals described the gift as a dangerous omen.
They remarked: “This means that Mbah will surpass all our previous governors in profligacy, a fact worsened by the fact that his is not a legitimate government.
“A few elements in INEC colluded with Mbah to impose him on our state by declaring the winner of the governorship poll which has since March 22 made our beloved state look like a massive graveyard, as everyone now wears a long face”.
The Enugu professionals, however, commended the 24 new lawmakers who attended the meeting with Mbah “for exhibiting moral scruples, unlike most Nigerian politicians.
“Immediately the meeting was over, most said to one another: ‘Ego Enugu’, that is, ‘Enugu people’s money’.
“They were making a significant reference to the title of a popular song during the 2023 general electioneering campaign mocking the profligacy of various PDP governments in the state with little to show for stupendous revenues which accrued to the state since the restoration of democratic rule in 1999 when the PDP has been in power”.
The AESP also criticised Mbah for announcing the cancellation of the Monday Sit-at-home in the state without, according to it, “having acquired a sufficient understanding of why the order by non-state actors is complied with by the people, even though they don’t like it”.
According to the group, Mbah should have learned from the experience of Governor Charles Soludo of neighbouring Anambra State who, in his inaugural address of April 2022, pledged not just to end the notorious Sit-at-home order but also immediately wipe out criminality associated with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), only for IPOB members to respond by unleashing unprecedented insecurity in the state.
“It is quite ominous”, continued the professionals, “that the IPOB, through its publicity chief, Emma Powerful, has threatened to make Enugu ungovernable for Mbah”.