Ebonyi State Governor, Chief Dave Umahi, yesterday faulted his predecessor, Martin Elechi, rejection of a N29 million car gift to him. He also told the former governor that he was not behind his persistent interrogation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged misappropriation of public funds while in office.
He was reacting to a secret letter written to him by Elechi rejecting the 29 million naira Prado SUV car gift he gave to him, which leaked recently and also to the allegation by the former governor that he (Umahi) was behind his ordeal in the hands of the anti-graft agency.
It would be recalled that Umahi was deputy governor during Elechi’s second tenure in office. The governor spoke during an Agricultural summit with Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) held at Akanu Ibiam International Conference Centre Abakaliki yesterday.
He admitted he was sometimes drafted into a monitoring team if there were engineering difficulties in some projects during Elechi’s tenure, saying he saved N1.6 billion when he was drafted to Agba bridge project and equally helped revive Oferekpe water project when it had almost came to a halt.
He said it was the Secretary to the State Government’s (SSG) own choice of words to have stated in the government’s letter to the former governor that the car gift was in recognition of his role in the promotion of democracy in the state and for other meritorious services.
He said the cars gift were meant for former governors and a former Senate President and was never for any other reason. He said the contractors which the former governor said he pursued were not genuine and no sincere government would have worked with them. Umahi said rejecting the car was not the best as Elechi had written to him when he assumed office to give his wife two cars which he quickly obliged.
He also faulted where the former governor said in the letter he never advised him, saying: “How can I advise somebody who does not take advice and never change his mind when he says something? “I advised him on the case of NigerCem and the clergy men also did which by now, Ibeto would have revived the company but he refused.”
Umahi said part of the petitions that have made Elechi regular visitor to EFCC was written when both were governor and deputy respectively and was never from him (Umahi). The governor said he had appealed to EFCC to leave Elechi because of his old age with a promise that if there was anywhere they found him wanting in money, he (Umahi) was going to pay, noting that he made the promise because of the fact that he brought him to leadership but pointed out that the gesture to rescue the former governor from the hands of the graft agency was in exception of his children.