The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu State is enmeshed in a crisis over a plan by some party leaders to give the governorship ticket to a former Commissioner of Finance in the state, Peter Mba.
Mbah, who owns Pinnacle and Gas Oil Limited is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged illegal financial dealings and misappropriation of funds.
He was charged before Justice Samuel Candide-Johnson of the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere for intention to defraud and obtaining by false pretences the sum N986 million from the Nigerian government. He was said to have “requested to obtain payment payable to the Integrated Resources limited, by the Nigerian government, under the petroleum support fund, in respect of 19.347 million litres of PMS, which they falsely claimed to have purchased from Guinness Petroleum limited.”
The businessman was also indicted by the House of Representatives committee on fuel subsidy, the Ribadu report and the Presidential Committee on fuel subsidy.
Some aggrieved PDP members who spoke to SaharaReporters said imposing Mba on the party would be tantamount to making an effort to lose the next governorship election in the state to the rival All Progressives Congress (APC).
They accused a former governor of the state, Chimaroke Nnamani, of planning to enthrone the businessman and “use him to acquire back all his properties that are still in the custody of the EFCC such as the Cosmo FM Radio, Rainbownet Telecommunications and his other concerns in Abuja and the ones seized by the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation.”
The party members urged Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to note the case of a House of Representatives member, Vincent Ekene Ofumelu, representing Oyi/Ayamelum federal constituency in Anambra state, whose provisional clearance certificate in the PDP was withdrawn recently after it was discovered that he had committed perjury by lying on oath.
“Recall that in the last statement made by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) about Mr. Peter Mba, the CEO of Pinnacle Oil and Gas Limited, the commission’s spokesman, Wilson Uwajuren said that the temporary withdrawal of one of the oil subsidiary fraud charges against Mba and his company was to firm up and consolidate fresh charges for their re-arraignment in the court,” one of the aggrieved members told SaharaReporters.
“In the matter before Justice Samuel Candide-Johnson in Lagos State High Court, Igbosere, with charge, No. ID/117C/2012, the Integrated Resources limited, Durosola Omogbemigun, Pinnacle Oil and Gas and Peter Mba were charged for false pretence and intention to defraud, obtain from the Federal Republic of Nigeria the sum of N986.15 million, requested to obtain payment payable to the Integrated Resources limited, by the federal government, under the petroleum support fund, in respect of 19.347 million litres of PMS, which they falsely claimed to had purchased from Guinness Petroleum Limited.
“The question is: why has the re-arraignment not taken place since July 2012? Now, the accused Peter Mba is being tipped highly to become the next governor of the state. Mba elicits concern because of his frequent visits to the EFCC.
“The visits started in 2006 when he was Commissioner for Finance in Enugu state, which made him visit EFCC at the expiration of that administration in 2007. He was arraigned with his then governor, Chimaroke Nnamani, who is the most present-day promoter of Peter Mba for Enugu state governorship.
“We don’t know how odd or well this arrangement sounds, but there is an obvious smell of fraud and business protection interests in the whole arrangement. It’s no more news that Nnamani is the mask behind Pinnacle oil, as well as the promoter of Mba for governorship, who currently is behaving as if there is a tactical withdrawal from Mba by quickly procuring Senate nomination form, despite the zoning that he was an apostle of. Yet these folks will quickly criticise Ike Ekweremadu for throwing away political zoning arrangements.
“The serious matter is that somebody first committed fraud and like the crime chain he engaged in a series of committals. Mba has continued in the fraudulent claims such as in his PDP governorship screening form, section F, where he was asked if he has ever been indicted by an administrative or judiciary panel and his answer was no, but there is a white paper report where Mba, among others, was indicted for economic sabotage and stealing of Nigeria money to the tune of over N2 billion with the pretext of importation of subsidised fuel into Nigeria.
“Mba was indicted by a house committee on fuel subsidy; he was also indicted by the Ribadu report and the Presidential Committee on fuel subsidy. Mba was the 14th person, while his company, Pinnacle oil, was the 9th on the list of indicted persons and companies.
“Mba tried to bribe his way through these panels but failed. This is a lie on oath, which most politicians believe they could easily get away with. Mba lied before the PDP screening committee that he had never been indicted by any government panel but the truth is that corruption cases have been hanging on his neck which in his bid to wriggle out, he has continued to commit more frauds until he acquires immunity as Chief Executive which he hopes will protect him for eight years within which further crimes would likely be committed.
“Peter Mba has never been cleared or acquitted by the court, his matter with the EFCC was only withdrawn for refiling and crime does not have an expiration date. What is presently heating up the polity of the state is the grand plan of Chimaroke Nnamani to enthrone Peter Mba and use him to reacquire all his properties that are still in the custody of the EFCC such as the Cosmo FM Radio, Rainbownet Telecommunications and his other concerns in Abuja and the ones seized by the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation.
“Already, Dr Nnamani has hijacked the state structure of PDP and returned the state to Ebeano movement with his control of the delegate elections in some parts of Enugu East senatorial district and rendered Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi powerless as a Chief Executive of the state.
“What is more amazing is how Governor Ugwuanyi’s Manfriday, Ifeanyi Ossai has been turned into a servant of Mr. Peter Mba and converted Ossai into carrying Mba’s bags in the public arena with the bargain of becoming the Deputy Governor.
“Governor Ugwuanyi should understand that a leopard does not change its skin; the Governor should recall the Adoration tragedy of March 7, 2002, where many lives were snuffed off from Christian worshippers, all in the bid to silence the voice of descent and imposed totalitarianism on the people of Enugu state.
“This is what Ugwuanyi should be wary of so that his established peace in Enugu state will not be truncated. The main game has not started and Hon. Nnoli Nnaji’s house has been raised.
“There is a leaked plan to mount pressure on Governor Ugwuanyi, with the proponents stating that Ugwuanyi does not withstand pressures and will make him yield to the dictates of the violent and mischievous politicians. The grand plan has turned Nnamani’s home into some mecca of sorts which made Senator Ike Ekweremadu visit Nnamani at Agbani with the hope that he will be a benefactor of the conspiracy.”
Another PDP member from Enugu North said, “We know they have plan B, another Nnamani’s acolyte, Frank Nweke Jnr has been positioned in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) with the hope that if Peter Mba gets PDP nomination and is disqualified, PDP will be left with no candidate and then the dictating Nnamani would ask Ugwuanyi to support an APGA candidate which would turn out to be Nnamani’s acolyte that he has positioned in APGA, with the game plan the APGA Governor would later defect to the PDP.
“In these scenarios, it’s discernible that Nnamani is the master planner but will turn tragic if Governor Ugwuanyi succumbs to the Nkanu pressure and ‘dash’ (gives) them the governorship of Enugu state. Recent history in Bayelsa State where the APC lost its 2019 victory to the PDP because of a change of name should serve as a lesson as Enugu State contemplates its choice of a PDP candidate.
“The PDP should understand that with Mr. Ugochukwu Agballah as the state chairman of APC, it will no longer be business as usual in the Enugu state polity. Agballah is a seasoned politician who was instrumental to the making of Governor Chimaroke Nnamani governor in 1999 and now he is back with fury.
“Fielding a compromised and high-risk candidate such as Peter Mba in PDP would be giving the APC an opportunity to take over another state in the southeast. A PDP mistake is an APC victory. With the way Abia state has moved towards a preferred aspirant for the PDP, the state stands in danger of losing to the APC in the 2023 election.
“I am sure that the PDP in Enugu state does not want to lose its grip on the state it has held since 1999 and will do the needful when the time comes. It’s clear that the frontline candidates in Nkanu East have one EFCC case or the other just like Prof. Hillary Edeoga that has baggage of fertiliser scam on his shoulder.
“All the political, traditional and religious leaders in the state should bring Governor Ugwuanyi back to his senses and make him disown Ifeanyi Ossai who has become Ugwuanyi’s undertaker, and choose the best candidate for the state who will continue with the development of the state, from where Gburugburu will stop on May 29 2023.”