The embattled governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, has accused his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Wike of stealing public funds belonging to his state (Rivers).
This is the latest attack in the war of words between Umahi and Wike since the sacking of the former by a court.
Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, had ordered Umahi and his deputy, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, to vacate their offices for defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Wike had followed that up by saying Umahi should return the mandate he got on the platform of the PDP, later adding that he was behind his colleague’s travails.
Umahi had replied, saying he could not be sued as a governor and that the judgment poses no threat to his presidential ambition.
Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, Umahi attacked Wike, calling him a thief who lacks intellectual capacity.
He said, “You heard him on Channels (TV) boasting that he is behind…, a mere man that depends on the breath of God, I pity him. It is a shame. You are boasting to remove another governor.
“What qualifies you? Just because you are packing money that is public funds, not intellectual material, but just packing public funds and you are boasting about it.
Otherwise, who are you? I became a billionaire at the age of 25.
“I’ve worked all my life and I have asked him to come for public debate. I do not commission 3.4 km roads, I commission 35 km roads. I commission twin flyovers running into 1km, I commission megaprojects with little resources. So, if he says he has done well and is Mr This or That, let him come for a public debate with me. Let’s start with our childhood, so I’m not disturbed.”
Reporters had published a report about how Wike revealed Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja as the judge he uses for ‘dirty jobs’.
“Wike had during his recent inauguration of the reconstructed 3.4km eastern bypass in Port Harcourt said he was behind the sacking of David Umahi as governor of Ebonyi state.
“You carry the vote of another party and join another party. Can you transfer votes? If you are defecting, leave the seat. And this will checkmate most of these political harlots who will never sit in one place, looking for excuses here and there.
“You can’t take our property and say we should close our mouths. How can we close our mouths? And say those who are behind it. We are behind it.
“If your friends don’t want to tell you, me, I’m involved. So, nobody should threaten us. You are not our friend. You are not a member of our party. Leave what belongs to our party,” Wike had boasted.
Umahi left the PDP in November 2020, attributing the action to the “injustice” done to the South-East.
Consequently, the PDP instituted a suit against the governor, his deputy, the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In his judgment, Justice Ekwo held that having defected to the APC, both Umahi and his deputy had by dumping the PDP also forfeited the votes that belonged to the party.
He added that going by the outcome of the governorship election, the offices of the governor and deputy governor in Ebonyi state belong “to the plaintiff and no other political party”.
However, sources at the Federal High Court in Abuja told SaharaReporters that Justice Ekwo is known as “Wike Judge”.
They added that the judicial officer is so enmeshed with Wike that the governor permanently has lawyers stationed in his court to monitor his cases.
“Were you surprised when Governor Umahi criticised Justice Ekwo over the judgment, describing him as a hatchet man? Justice Ekwo is known as ‘Wike Judge’ here.
“He is so enmeshed with Wike that Wike permanently has lawyers stationed in his court to monitor his cases.
“The Rivers State governor is known as the ‘Golden Boy’ of the judiciary over his ability to bribe judges at all levels. He was known to have awarded the contract of building the Court of Appeal to a sitting judge, President of the Court of Appeal, then, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa.
“Back to Justice Ekwo, some of the cases with him are cases Wike is directly or indirectly involved in,” a source had said.
Another source had added, “The Ebonyi governor didn’t lie when he said we were in trouble in this country because justice could now be purchased anyhow, the reckless statement of Wike yesterday confirmed that.
“He has turned Justice Ekwo to his homeboy. This same judge was used to remove Sowore as AAC (African Action Congress) chair and Malcolm Fabiyi as his deputy. He refused to hear the case on merit. And when he gave the judgement, he refused to make copies available before going on vacation.
“When your medium (SaharaReporters) wrote about this unethical behaviour, he hurriedly called off the vacation to make a copy of the judgement available. Ever since then, he has avoided Sowore’s cases assigned to him. He typically returns them to the Chief Judge.”