Defection: Chime vows to deliver 2019 Enugu governorship to APC

By Ikenga Chronicles May 4, 2017

Defection: Chime vows to deliver 2019 Enugu governorship to APC

Former governor of Enugu State Barrister Sullivan Chime, who left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) recently, has declared his decision to formally join the All Progressives Congress (APC), adding that the ceremony would take place this weekend.

Chime noted that the PDP now has two of its chieftains laying claim to the chairmanship of the party, which technically meant that it has no leadership and, therefore, is not functional.

Chime disclosed that he has made all necessary consultations with the APC party hierarchy in Enugu State, saying that the members are excited that he is coming to join them just as he is excited to join them.

He said that he chose to join the APC because it is the only national party that is capable now to take any active politician to his destination.

“I don’t think there is any serious politician that is still in the PDP. Don’t be surprised the PDP will not have a candidate in the Anambra election this year. Anambra State will be used to teach this lesson. In 2019, if things continue this way, APC will win the governorship election in Enugu State, but I will not tell you who the candidate will be,” he said.

Chime, who became governor on the platform of the PDP and ran two terms of eight years said that he left the PDP because the party is dead.

The former governor told newsmen that he joined the PDP in 1999, saying that today the party has been run down so badly that it no longer exists.

“The party (PDP) was mismanaged; it abandoned its constitution. All the rules that guided all of us until the party came to where it is today – dead,” he said.

The former governor was angry that as he announced his exit from the PDP, some politicians in the state started attacking him, branding him a failure while he held sway as governor.

He said that those who are attacking him now are thinking that he would run for the Enugu West Senatorial seat in 2019, saying that he has no ambition to occupy any office now except if the constituency comes out to approve it.

Chime particularly tackled the Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, who he said had accused him at a function at Aninri Local Government Area of abandoning the people of the council.

His words: “The Deputy Senate President so shamelessly accused me of abandoning the people of Aninri, that I never even appointed a permanent secretary, that Aninri didn’t even have a commissioner. I used the word shameless because as somebody who has been in government, he should have cross-checked his facts than to issue lies.”

Chime explained that like is done at the federal level in the appointment of ministers, he ensured that all the 17 local government areas of the state had at least one commissioner, adding that Aninri at that time had at least three Permanent Secretaries.

“I have not attended any function since I left office without a stranger coming to thank me because of the way I served Enugu. The people who hate me are the ones I refused to share money with,” he said, pointing out that these are the people who are now sponsoring secret meetings to disparage him.

On his Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) investigation over the N450 million campaign fund given to Enugu State, he blamed Mrs Rita Mba who was the secretary to the Jonathan Campaign Organisation in the state for being economical with the truth when the anti-graft body invited her.

“We gave directives on how to disburse the money, but Rita denied seeing the money and that was why I was invited by the EFCC, but later she said yes I saw the money,” he said, adding that the EFCC should be allowed to do their job.

He explained that he ran a responsible and responsive government during his eight year rule of the state, adding that it was the prudent management of funds that kept his administration afloat.

According to him, the rumour is being championed by his political opponents who were aggrieved that he refused to share the resources of the state with them, noting that since he announced his exit from the PDP, he had been branded a total failure.

“Rumours were flying there that I got money from the World Bank and I was just laughing.I ran such a very responsible government that by the time we were done with my administration, we had expended a lot of money on behalf of the Federal Government. In other words, the Federal Government owed us a lot of money that we spent on federal infrastructure,” he said.

The former governor said that though he would not make comments about the current administration in the state, it was imperative to set the records straight.

“Till today the state government will tell you they are expecting some amount of money from the Federal Government and the money is in respect of what we did. Any refund you are hearing is that they are actually pursuing the money earned by my administration because as at the time I left office the Federal Government owed us more than N40 billion,” he said.

Chime said that the money expended on the rehabilitation of federal roads in the state was about N24 billion.

“In 2008, when they shared the Paris Club money, some states like Akwa Ibom, Rivers and others got about $1 billion each but we got nothing because they said we owed. They started deducting money from the state but later found out that all those deductions were done in error. So by the time I left office, the Federal Government had confirmed to us that they owed us about N24 billion apart from the Paris Club refund and that is the money this administration is enjoying now,” he said.

He said it would be uncharitable for anybody to judge the current administration, adding “whatever the government is doing whether well or not well can never be attributed to Enugu State owing any money.”

“It does not exist. Go and look at the account books of the state and forget about the rumours flying here and there,” he said.

Chime said that throughout his eight years in office, other governors from the South East were amazed at his performance and were asking where he got the money from.

“I can assure you throughout my eight years in office, the excess crude money that came to Enugu State was N19 billion. That was the only extra money that came apart from the monthly allocation that was hovering between N2 billion and N3 billion. This is not the opportunity to criticize or eulogize any government, but when I became governor the state owed three months arrears of salaries,” he said.

Chime said that the situation was so bad that the then President gave instructions to the Accountant General of the federation not to release the monthly allocation for May 2007 until they were sworn in.

“When we were sworn in, the money was paid into the then Intercontinental Bank but the money disappeared. It happened that the then administration in anticipation of the money coming in had taken an overdraft to that sum, so
there was no money. We started from day one to struggle,” he said.

He said that his administration had to make arrangement in 2007 with Bank PHB on how to pay salaries.

“That was how payment of workers in the state every 25 of every month arose.So from 2007 till we left office, we paid salaries consistently on the 25th or there about of every month. The records are there,” he said.

The former governor said his administration was adjudged one of the three sustainable states in the federation at the time.

“Before I left office, the state was adjudged as one of three states in the federation that were found to be very sustainable. This rating included those receiving huge derivation,” he said.