Former political appointees in Ebonyi State have accused Governor David Umahi of forcing them to take oaths of allegiance twice.
The appointees, who were Community Development Coordinators, under the umbrella of G64, levelled the accusation on Thursday at a news briefing in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital.
According to them, while the first oath was taken in 2015 as a precondition for the appointment, the second, in 2017, was for continuous loyalty and support.
One of the Coordinators, speaking under anonymity, said: “We were given water from an unknown source to drink.”
Asked why they continued with the alleged fetish routine, he said: “We were afraid of our safety as we had no idea what awaited us outside if we should refuse.”
The Chairman of the group, Ukpai Okechukwu, and Vice-Chairman, Okoeze Fredrick, said: “In September 2015, he forced us to take oath as a precondition for offering us a political appointment of the intent of which was to compel us to always follow his dictates, show unalloyed loyalty to him and that he would make us millionaires.
“In September 2017 also, we were again compelled to take oath in furtherance of our pledge to give unequivocal and unwavering loyalty to him.
“The governor promised to give us new Hyundai branded jeeps, which we would take home as parting gifts.
“We were regularly taken to the Presidential Lodge, Old Government House Abakaliki, and shown the Hyundai jeeps and severally reminded that our getting the jeeps were solely and exclusively dependent on the 2019 election victory.
“He also promised to give each of us a parcel of land at Ochudo Centenary City and the sum of N5 million to fence it.
“He promised to give each one of us one lock-up shop at the International Market, which would belong to us in perpetuity and two lock-up shops for the development centres in which it would serve as a source of Internally Generated Revenue.
“In furtherance of this particular project, we were made to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that allowed the 13 local government areas in the state to pull funds for the prosecution of the project through the office of the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Kenneth Ugbala, who is the Chairman of the shops allocation committee.”
Okechukwu and Fredrick said Umahi told them to borrow money for the prosecution of the 2019 elections, with a mandate to deliver their Wards and Development Centres.
This was said to be the criteria for their re-appointment.
But this did not happen.
Rather, their March and April salaries were seized and then they were sacked on April 30, 2019, with a directive for them to reapply for their positions.
Umahi was to interview them personally.
Okechukwu and Fredrick added: “It was in the course of the interview that one of us, late Mr. Sunday Igboke, the immediate past Coordinator of Ngbo North Development Centre in Ohaukwu Local Government Area, slumped and died in his presence, just as soon as the Governor told him that he would not be returned as coordinator, considering the level of indebtedness that the governor got all us into, including the deceased.”
The Coordinators accused Umahi of plotting to destroy the Peoples Democratic Party with his move to the All Progressives Congress.
However, Umahi has denied the allegations.
His media aide, Francis Nwaze, said it was the Coordinators who tried to use voodoo on Umahi, but failed.
He said: “Those former coordinators are simply devils incarnate who are masquerading as humans.
“The said accusation is a lie from the pit of hell and is being spread by oscillating local champions.
“Governor David Umahi is a true Christian and a deacon in Christ Embassy Church and does not believe or have hand in fetish things.
“I can assuredly tell you that they failed in their attempt to use voodoo powers on Governor Umahi because of his firm belief in God.
“Discard the said information as it has no truth in it.”