Leading Imo State governorship aspirants in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) primaries held last year have cried out that they were swindled by the leadership of the party led by Chief Victor Oye of whopping sums in their bid to fly the party’s flag in the state.
Some of the aspirants who spoke to Sunday Sun yesterday following a memo written by the former National Chairman of the party, Senator Victor Umeh to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, who is also the party’s Board of Trustee (BOT) chairman, said that the party leadership had assured them individually of the party’s ticket without any of them knowing and collected huge sums of money, both in local and foreign currencies, from them.
The Umeh memo, which trended widely in the social media, claimed that four governorship candidates: Mr Okey Ezeh, Mr Stanley Amuchie, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, and Chief Humphrey Anumodu paid over N761 million to Chief Oye.
The candidates were said to have paid the money as follows: Mr Ezeh, a total sum of N273,250,000; Mr Amuchie, 280,000,000; Chief Ohakim, $300,000 and N100 million while Chief Anumodu parted with a 2018 Toyota Landcruiser Black Sports Utility Vehicle worth N50 million.
Anumodu is already in a Lagos State High Court with Oye and his wife over the N50 million SUV, which Oye allegedly claimed was a birthday gift from Anumodu.
In all the transactions, Hon. Chinedu Obidigwe of the House of Representatives was mentioned in the memo as having worked with Oye in the alleged deal.
According to the memo, only Mr Ezeh has been refunded in part of his money.
The amount refunded was put at $100,000 made in two installments of $50,000 each.
The memo dated May 30, 2019 and sent to Governor Obiano via his official email address saw Umeh expressing worry over the grave allegations by the Imo aspirants.
It read in part: “I see these as very serious moral issues particularly as Oye has consistently insisted that he did not take money from anybody during the 2018 primaries.
“I consider these revelations as serious embarrassment to the party and gross abuse of office.
“One unfortunate thing was that they engaged these fellows by dropping your name (Obiano) as supporting their actions”.
Reacting to the allegations, Chief Oye dismissed them as desperate attempts to blackmail him, saying nothing was true, but spurious and baseless.
He told Sunday Sun on telephone that the plot was to stop him from going for a second term in office, but that when the intrigue failed they resorted to cheap blackmail, saying that his media aides would react to the allegation officially.
Oye said: “This is election that took place in October last year and the people involved never shouted and he (Umeh) wants to shout on their behalf. Who is Umeh to speak on behalf of the party? You are a journalist, you should do your deductions and know that what is going on is blackmail.
“My media handlers will handle it. I don’t want to make any comment on it, it’s not necessary, but we will come out with the true position. If you read between the lines you will see the deceit in it. Four people wrote a petition…right…so what is Umeh’s part on the whole thing that is the question you should be asking? Is he the national chairman of the party? I am the national chairman, he is not.
“If there is any complaint it should come to me. If they want to see me won’t they see me? Am I a spirit that they cannot see? You must know some of the antecedents of those people, they are game men.
“They did what they are doing so that I will not come back for second term so when their plot failed frustration now set in. Somebody asked him who sent the memo to the press…do you know the answer he gave to the person? That he is not aware of it on how it got to the press. We are dealing with people that are not sincere, so don’t mind them”.
Meanwhile, one of the aspirants who pleaded anonymity told Sunday Sun said that things went wrong with the APGA election.
According to him, “this is not the way I am going to handle it, I know the channels open to me and I intend to follow those channels.
“It’s not a secret that a whole lot of water went under the bridge, but I don’t want to talk about it at this stage because there are other processes that we are following.
“It’s not hearsay, those characters did a whole lot of funny stuff, it’s not hearsay. That’s the much I can say for now. Those characters are funny”.
Sunday Sun also gathered that some of the aspirants have petitioned the EFCC on the matter.