PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
RE: WHY ANYIM IS AFTER THE PRESIDENT,
BY AUDU OGBEH
A REPLY FROM THE OFFICE OF THE SENATE PRESIDENT
June 28, 2002
The attention of the President of the Senate, Rt. Hon. (Dr.) Anyim Pius Anyim, GCON has been drawn to numerous speculations which have been on going about his person.
They include that his relationship with His Excellency, President Olusegun Obasanjo has gone sour, that he is preparing to leave the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), that he is after Mr. President via Senator Iris Abubakar’s motion which seeks to establish persistent budget breaches by Mr. President and if so done, that Section 143 of the Constitution should be invoked to impeach Mr. President.
In this regard, those who feel that the Senate President is behind the motion have said that if he was not in support of the motion, he would have suppressed it. Others said that he was the person who instigated Senator Abubakar to move the motion in order to settle score with Mr. President and some said he was so determined to impeach Mr. President that every effort to bring up a counter-motion was aborted by him. Again, other reasons for the perceived strained relationship between Mr. President and the Senate President have been widely speculated. Some said it was because the Senate (i. Senate President) did not confirm Mr. President’s nominee for the position of Auditor-General of the Federation. Others say it was because the President had disagreement with the Senate President over the appointment of the Comptroller-General of Prisons.
But Mr. Audu Ogbeh said it was because the party ordered fresh congress in Ebonyi State contrary to the Senate President’s wish. It is also to the knowledge of the Senate President that following series of meetings and consultations, that strategies on how to deal with him (i. the Senate President) were marshalled. Some are working on how to impeach him, some suggested that he should be sacked from the PDP, others said that he should be intimidated by alleging that he has properties all over Abuja. They had queried how he got the money. And this will be followed by a threat of taking him to the Anti-Corruption Commission. Other opinions are that the Governor of Ebony State should sustain embarrassing attacks on him at his home base.
The above scenario also generated some reactions. Some said that the Presidency is ready to dump him after having used him satisfactorily; others said that he has disappointed Mr. President and some others are celebrating that they have finished him as without the President, nobody can come to his rescue again. To others, the senate adjourned because it cannot sustain the impeachment plan. And to some, members of the Senate Committee on Idris Abubakar’s motion were hand-picked by the Senate President to deal with the President.
Having heard all these, one would have been tempted either to get worried or to cry out through the Press. However, it must be reiterated here that it is not the Senate President’s character neither to get worried nor cry out in the Press in situations like this. In particular, he has learnt much earlier in his career as a Civil Servant not to run his office on the pages of newspapers nor run his office through the rumour mill. While the Senate President still believes firmly that silence is golden, he hereby seeks the understanding of his admirers to publicly reply Mr. Audu Ogbeh.
In order to assure his admirers that he still stands on his usual stillness while allowing God to fight for him, he publicly states hereunder the reasons why he wishes to reply Mr. Audu Ogbeh publicly:
1. Audu Ogbeh parades himself as the National Chairman of the PDP; a position that is by every standard a big one because it is the ruling party and above all the party the Senate President belongs.
2. To put the record straight, the Senate President will hereunder establish that Mr. Audu Ogbeh is a liar, a cheat and viciously crooked.
3. The Senate President has had occasions to advise Mr. Audu Ogbeh in the presence of President Olusegun Obasanjo that he should not run his office through the rumour mill.
4. Audu Ogbeh has thrown all measures of caution and decorum overboard to publicly pick on the Senate President thereby betraying his penchant for misrepresented facts, motives and intentions.
5. That the Senate President has allowed Audu Ogbeh enough time to deny or withdraw the said allegations as widely reported in the media or even to cease from his attacks on his person to no avail. Instead he has continued to impugn on the integrity of the Senate President without caution.
6. That Mr. Ogbeh’s allegations are occasioned by malice and mischief because if Mr. Ogbeh sincerely believes that there is a-misunderstanding between the leaders of two arms of government which his party controls and in particular since the two leaders are members of the ruling party, he would have convened a meeting of the
National Caucus of the party to sort out the misunderstanding rather than resorting to blackmail.
In view of the above, the Senate President wishes to crave the understanding of his admirers to allow me, his Special Adviser to reply Mr. Audu Ogbeh publicly.
Mr. Audu Ogbeh has alleged that Anyim, in his capacity as Senate President is sponsoring an impeachment motion against the President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, because Chief Obasanjo supported Audu Ogbeh’s ordering fresh congress in Eboni State against the Senate President’s wish; that the impeachment motion was self motivated to even up with Mr. President. Mr. Audu Ogbeh spoke in his presumed capacity as the National Chairman of the PDP.
It is sad to note that Mr. Audu Ogbeh who parades himself as former Deputy Speaker of old Benue State House of Assembly does not know how the Parliament works or chose for reasons of mischief to pretend not to know.
For the avoidance of doubt, when Senator Iris Abubakar moved his motion it was adopted by absolute majority of the Senate. In that situation, if Audu Ogbeh were in the Senate President’s shoes, would he have overruled the majority? Let me ask, for those who know Senator Iris Abubakar, is there anything strange about this motion? Senator Iris Abubakar is not an unknown name in the Senate. He is brilliant, eloquent and above all capable of standing on his own at all times. He has moved a number of sensitive motions which include the motion on Ajaokuta debt buy-back, fund management in NEPA which pitted the late Chief Bola Ige of blessed memory against the Senate. It is said that the sensation generated by this motion is not because of the first and second legs which deals with non-implementation of various Appropriation Acts but the third leg which deals with the impeachment of Mr. President. The Senate President will decline any comment on the motion since the task here is to reply Mr. Audu Ogbeh and also since the matter is still pending in the Senate.
But let it be noted here that the Senate President has watched with interest how people are falling over themselves to create or manufacture allegations against him in order to curry favour from Mr. President. He wishes them goodluck while assuring them that he will not be intimidated through blackmail. Let it also be noted that the Senate President is from a very humble background and he is indeed very grateful to God for giving him even more than he had expected in life. Accordingly after nearly two years of patriotic, sacrificial and faithful service to his country as President of the Senate, he will be willing to go but not through intimidation or blackmail. He therefore urges those who think they can intimidate him through blackmail to come off it as they will not succeed because the memory of the Electoral Act saga is still very fresh in his mind and those who thought they can wake up and fling him off and nobody will ask after him should also think twice because God will defend and protect him as He has always done.
Let it be noted at this point that it is most amazing that the Senate President’s accusers emphasise that his greatest offence was that he did not bend the rule to suppress Senator Iris Abubakar’s motion. They claim that he has the powers to suppress it and since he did not suppress it, it means he is in support of it. Who are those who want him to bend the rules of the Senate.
One of them is a so-called Chairman of the majority party in a Democracy called Audu Ogbeh. The Senate President can easily forgive all others who hold this view because we are in a learning process but he fears that this mentality of Mr. Audu Ogbeh, a purported National Chairman of a ruling party presents a very dangerous signal to our democratic enterprise.
It is most unfortunate that each time the National Assembly rises up to its constitutional responsibility, motives will be ascribed to it and intimidation and blackmail will follow. Let it be restated here that the job of the Senate President as at today is to preside over the Senate and any time he cannot do it to the best of his conscience, he will not wait to be impeached, he will resign. It is again most unfortunate that the man who claims to be the National Chairman of the ruling party never believed that the Parliament should exist.
It is pertinent to use this opportunity to alert Nigerians that Audu Ogbeh is on a mission to destroy the PDP and throw our young democracy into crisis.
His plans include reinforcing thuggery or the use of violence, to encourage carefree electoral rigging and to institutionalise corruption in the body polity.
His operational modality is to consistently mislead Nigerians by posturing as somebody against these vices while he is actually cultivating and nurturing them. Here are a few examples:
Mr. Ogbeh has so criticised thuggery that he has threatened to sanction any PDP member who resorts to violence in any election. But during his first electoral outing which was to conduct party congress in Plateau State, excessive violence was used during which 38 PDP members lost their lives.
Since the incident, Audu Ogbeh never condemned this, never condoled the deceased families and of course did not bother to stop the congress in sympathy with those who lost their lives let alone sanctioning anybody.
Within the same period, a serving member of the Executive Cabinet, Mr. Mark Aku from Plateau State lost his life in a plane crash, that again did not touch Mr. Ogbeh who continued the congress such that while preparations for the burial of the former Sports Minister were being made for Saturday, Audu Ogbeh continued with the State Congress on Friday . Obviously Ogbeh was not working for the resolution of the party problems in the state. He was justifying his pay. At the end of the day, the party in Plateau was plunged into more crises and a section of the party has since joined the Alliance for Democracy (AD).
Mr. Audu Ogbeh did not contest any election yet he parades himself as the elected National chairman of the PDP. If Audu is elected, let him tell Nigerians who contested with him and who voted for him. I know the Senate President did not vote for him and so he cannot be his elected National Chairman. However, the most dangerous thing is Audu’s passion to detest any election that is duly contested in preference to situations where a contending party boycotts election and the party who pays Audu’s fees submits a list. This is exactly Ogbeh’s mission in Ebonyi. Audu thinks he can bring anybody into office the way he was brought. This frame of mind explains why he feels there should be local government election without revision of the voters register. This is also why he thought that local government elections could hold as sudden as on May 18 before he was called to order. This is also why Ogbeh had advised PDP to conduct local government elections to newly created local government councils even when all the constitutional requirements for the creation of local governments are not yet complied with.
3. CORRUPTION AND CORRUPT PRACTICES
One would have expected Audu Ogbeh to be bold enough to tell Nigerians the truth especially why he ordered fresh congress in Ebony and why he is after the Senate President as he has variously said on the pages of newspapers. The fact of the matter is that Ogbeh through his Liaison Officer requested the Senate President to source N120 million for a proposed PDP retreat in Calabar. At the beginning, the Senate President did not take the man serious but when he persisted, the Senate President asked him if Ogbeh had told the President and the Vice President that he needed such money and the man said that Ogbeh was reluctant to tell them. At this time, the Senate President did not know that Ogbeh was also negotiating with Ebony State Governor to bankroll Ogbeh’s reception in Gboko. However, when the Senate President discovered what was happening and the reason for his choice as the sponsor of the retreat, (i.e. to settle Ogbeh, if he does not want congress in Ebonyi), he asked Ogbeh’s man to go and tell Ogbeh to put the request in writing under his signature and he did. In the said letter, Ogbeh requested the Senate President to source N120 million for the proposed retreat.
When the Senate President received the letter, he was amazed and he simply refused to allow neither Ogbeh nor his man talk to him about sourcing the money. While he was avoiding Audu Ogbeh and his man, Governor Sam Egwu quickly concluded his deal with Ogbeh which was to bankroll Ogbeh’s reception in Gboko.
Once this was accomplished, Ogbeh could not listen to any other reason other than to spite the Senate President by ordering fresh Congress in Ebonyi since the Governor wants it and the Senate President did not want it. That is Ogbeh for you. Let it also be pointed out that the Senate President has severally asked Ogbeh what was wrong with the first Congress.
Ogbeh said he was told the Senate President influenced it. The Senate President had also challenged Ogbeh to go into the records and that if the result handed down by Ogbemudia’s Committee for Ebonyi was not authenticated by the National Team for Ebonyi, the Zonal Team for South- East and the National Team at Abuja, then he should cancel it. To Ogbeh, the Senate President’s opinion could only have meaning if he paid his fees and since he did not pay, he was not serious. You can imagine why Audu Ogbeh vowed to conduct congress in Ebony even with the help of soldiers.
You can also imagine now why nothing could stop the Congress in Plateau State. You can as well imagine why fresh Congress cannot hold in Benue State or is Ogbeh telling us that all is well with the Party in Benue State? If all is well with the PDP in Benue State, can Ogbeh explain to Nigerians what happened during his reception in his Idomaland home where but for the intervention of agile mobile policemen, Ogbeh and his Guests would have received the same treatment he meted out to the deceased 38 members of the PDP in Plateau State during the Congress there.
You can also imagine why the Party nomination form for Local Government Chairmanship Election which is to be sold for N15,000.00 is selling for N210,000 in Benue State and N270,000 in Ogbeh’s beloved Ebony State. You may please watch out for circumstances under which fresh congress would be ordered in other states.
OTHER MANIFESTATIONS OF AUDU OGBEH’S PLANS TO DESTROY PDP
a. It should be noted that since Audu Ogbeh purportedly assumed office he has made sure that no single national caucus is held. By this, he has made it impossible for leaders of the party to meet on crucial national issues or jointly iron out areas of disagreement. This explains the increased misunderstanding among the party leaders which Ogbeh thinks that such scenario will make him more relevant.
b. Ogbeh never thought that he should have any caucus with the National Assembly members except where and when the Executive directs him to talk to National Assembly or National Assembly invites him for clarifications.
c. Ogbeh says one thing and does another. Here are a few examples-
i. He talks about resolving the crises in the party nationwide but he has succeeded in creating more crises in Benue, Niger, Plateau, Ebonyi, Rivers, Abia, etc. Let Ogbeh tell Nigerians one state he has made peace in the party.
He talks about creating level playing ground for all members of the party but he has succeeded in marginalizing some groups at the expense of others. For instance, he held a meeting with the Governors and agreed on May 18 date for Local Government Elections and forgot that National Assembly Members are stakeholders in the Party. When the May 18 date was not feasible, he held another meeting with the Governors and agreed on August 10 and again did not remember that National Assembly members should at least be consulted.
(ill)Let Ogbeh explain to PDP members his share from the disparity between the N15, 000.00 local government form as approved by the Party and the N210,000.00 and N270,000.00 cost of the same form in his home State Benue and in his beloved State Ebonyi respectively or the justification for the new cost of the forms. It is heartwarming to observe that all PDP members are already discovering whom Audu Ogbeh is. No wonder when he called a meeting of the Party Leaders recently in Abuja, nobody turned up and in his usual characteristic manner he quickly blamed the poor attendance on poverty. Is Ogbeh saying that 17 Governors, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and his deputy, numerous State Chairmen etc. could not attend his meeting because of poverty? Ogbeh should tell us more!
For those who plot to blackmail the Senate President that he has properties all over Abuja, let me confirm to them that he has a property at Wuse II District and that property has been housing his law office since 1994. He is also building a house at Asokoro. For the avoidance of doubt, the Asokoro house is his private residence. It has a boys’ quarters at the back and a lock-up garage. He has been working on the site for about one year and six months and yet the house is not completed. As soon as the house is completed, his family will move into it so that any day he leaves office, he will not stay a day extra in his official residence. For those who want to locate the house, Senator M.T. Mbu and Senator Evan Enwerem are his neighbours. He is supporting the building through his legitimate earnings and the loan he took from his bank. These are the only properties he has interest in and they are not hidden. In any case, he will be ready and available to be investigated any time, any day.
In conclusion, let those who are Audu Ogbeh’s friends tell him that the Senate President has no money to give him even if he declares war on him.
Special Adviser (Media)
To the President of the Senate.