The Enugu State gubernatorial candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Ayogu Eze has refuted allegations of embezzlement bordering on diversion of money meant for road contracts.
The case subject has been taken up by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Speaking to journalists on Thursday, through the spokesman of the Ayogu Eze Campaign Organization, Mr. Steve Oruruo, the Senator said he was yet to be invited by the anti-corruption agency.
While accusing the PDP of being behind the petition against him before the EFCC, he said the onus lied on the petitioner to prove that he diverted any money.
He described the petition as frivolous and called on his supporters to “remain calm. Let investigation be carried out by the EFCC. The onus lies on he who alleges to prove.
“The EFCC has not invited Senator Eze, but we are aware the petitioner has been invited as part of the investigation. So, there is need to clear the air. It is merely a campaign of calumny against our candidate.
“The people are yearning for change and that window is available.”
Oruruo further accused the PDP of coercing the Enugu State workers and traders into submitting details of their Permanent Voters’ Cards, PVC, with the sole-aim of manipulating the 2019 governorship election.
He alleged that “the Enugu workers and traders are being compelled to surrender the particulars of their PVC, apparently to scuttle the will of the people in the election.
“It’s being given as a condition for workers to receive their December Salary. So, we are calling on security agencies to rise up to the occasion and investigate this.”
But in a swift reaction, Comrade Igbokwe Chukwuma Igbokwe, the chairman of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, Enugu State, said the claims do not hold water.
He said, “Not to the best of my knowledge, there is no medium through which that has happened; to my knowledge, no worker has reported such to me, that he is being forced to release any details, and I have not had any meeting or conveyance of any such meeting.
“As far as I am concerned, there is no circular to that effect directing or instructing workers to do such. I am not aware and I can tell you no single worker has brought such complain to me as their leader.”
Describing it further as “laughable,” he said “no government takes such decision, it will communicate it through a circular and it will come from the office of the Head of Service and as far as I am concerned, we have not seen a copy of such circular.
“The issue of forcing workers to submit details of PVC for salary, no government can do that as far as Enugu State is concerned. We will have been the first to come out publicly and challenge it. Workers’ PVCs are personal to them. So, there is nothing like that as far as the workers of Enugu State are concerned. Anybody making such claims should come and prove it.”
Similarly, the President-General of the Enugu State Amalgamated Traders’ Association, Mr. Temple Udeh described the allegation as unfounded.
He said in a reaction that “we were shocked that our members are being forced to surrender their PVC details. We want to say that it is a lie from the pit of hell. There is no iota of truth in it. They don’t know what they are saying, they should not subject traders to their politics of lies.
“Even the traders’ grant courtesy of the Enugu State Government, which has positively affected the lives of traders in the State, there is no condition attached. We have about 100 beneficiaries every month and it has been on for the past 3 years, and nobody has been asked to even show evidence of having a PVC.
“So, this is lie of the century. Nobody has ever asked us of PVC. We are just hearing this for the first time. Do we even have a polling booth in the market? So, how are you going to do the maneuvering, let them go and do campaign and win voters not cheap political ideas.”