by crossriverwatch admin
Crossriverwatch has obtained documents that reveal that members of the Obudu Legislative Council requested for N1.6m from the Chairman in exchange for approval for his request for N6m overdraft from First Bank to procure an Award of Excellence billed to be presented to him at the prestigious Transcorp hotel in Abuja on March 8, 2013.
In a request letter signed by the Leader of Obudu Legislative Council, Hon. Prince Ugar Andeshi, he said: “Kindly approve the sum of one million, six hundred thousand Naira (N1,600,000) only to enable the Hon. Councilors attend the ceremony of your well deserved award for excellent leadership in Abuja scheduled for 8th/9th of March, 2013”.
The breakdown of the sharing formula as outlined in the letter will give the Leader of the House the lion share of N200, 000 while the Deputy will get N180, 000 while the Majority Leader and the Chief whip are to get N160, 000. The Deputy Majority Leader, Deputy Whip and other members, Hon. Akomaye Utoda, Hon. Akomaye Ben Abua, Hon. Amgbah Fidelis and Hon. Togo Fidelis are to get N150,000 each”.
The memo dated February 26, 2013 was said to have been delivered to the Chairman by the a committee that was set up by the House to meet with the Chairman and inform him of the decision of the House to have a guarantee of getting their N1.6m before the overdraft will be approved.
Crossriverwatch reported yesterday that the Obudu legislative council debated a request from the Executive Chairman of the local government Hon. Emmanuel Ikwen to approve N6m overdraft for him to pay a private company in Abuja for a personal award.
A source in the Chairman’s camp told crossriverwatch that, “the Chairman was infuriated by the crossriverwatch report and wondered how what was an ongoing cordial discussion between him and the lawmakers got to the Press”.
In a dramatic volte-face, the Chairman today informed the lawmakers in a charged seating that he no long needed the overdraft. He said he will source for the money elsewhere.
A source who was at the Chambers today said “the debate today was very hot. It was even the Chairman’s allies that were firing the salvos. The decision to approve the overdraft was upturned owing to the media attention and negative public opinion it is generating. The Chairman said he will source for the money elsewhere.
“We also set up another committee today to formally go to First Bank and get official confirmation on whether the overdraft has actually been collected as we learnt. If true, the House will initiate impeachment proceeding against the Chairman after we receive the report from the committee.”
In a telephone chat with the Leader of the House, Hon. Ugar Andeshi, he confirmed to crossriverwatch that the Chairman made a request for the approval of an overdraft of N6m but that the House has not approved the request.
He said his N1.6m request from the Chairman was to cover the DTA and hotel expenses of the councilors in Abuja and not a bargain for the approval as alleged.
When crossriverwatch reminded him that he described the award in his letter to Chairman as ‘your well deserved award’ and asked him if he agreed that the Obudu Chairman is the best in Cross River State, he said, ‘I just came out of a very hot seating and my head is still very hot please. I will talk to you later”.
In his reaction, a former Caretaker Chairman of the Council, Mr. Tony Undiandeye while speaking to crossriverwatch expressed dismay at the news and said it is scandalous. “This is certainly scandalous and horrible. Even if the Chairman deserves an award, must he pay for it? If he must pay for it, must it be council funds? I will make sure I still confirm this information and once that is done, we will advise the Councilors to do the right thing”. He said.
However, the council Chairman has said that he is qualified and well deserving of the award.
Speaking through his Special Assistant on Legislative Matters, Hon. Emmanuel Akwagiobe, he said: “Hon Emmanuel Ikwen, Chairman of Obudu local government area deserves the award as the best outstanding Chairman in Cross River State. He will not be the first to accept the award. Even the former Chairmen of Yala, Obanlikwu and other place in the State have been given the award in the past. The Chairman has executed projects in all the political wards of the local government and if an organization identifies him for an award, it is in recognition of his excellent work”.
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