EXCLUSIVE: Okowa’s Aide, Ochonogor, IPAC Chairman, Another Swim In Corruption, Dupe Political Parties Millions Of Naira

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.…….As Governor’s Contracts Cause Crisis In Parties

Reports just reaching HardReporters news desk from the capital city of oil rich Delta state shows that the Senior political adviser to the state governor, Mr. Festus Ochonogor, chairman of the Delta state chapter of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Mr. Frank Igwebuike and the state chairman of Accord Party, Mr. David Ashikodi are currently swimming in the ocean of corruption while the same time amassing wealth at the advantage of political parties in the state.

To this end, political parties under the umbrella of the Delta state chapter of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), have raised the alarm over the millions of naira allegedly defrauded them by the trio of the Senior political adviser to the state governor, Mr. Festus Ochonogor, chairman of the Delta state chapter of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Mr. Frank Igwebuike and the state chairman of Accord Party, Mr. David Ashikodi.

In a four pages petition titled “A case of Harassment, Blackmail, Intimidation And Shortchanging Of Political Parties By Chief Festus Ochonogor, Frank Igwebuike and David Ashikodi”, signed by Tony Ezeagwu, chairman, Labour Party, Obaro Unuafe, chairman, PPP, Peter Emuakpoje, chairman, Green Party of Nigeria, Victor Egweonu, chairman, Peoples Party of Nigeria, Joe Chukwu, chairman, African Democratic Congress and twenty-three other chairmen, addressed to governor Ifeanyi Okowa and couriered to HardReporters senior political correspondent in Abuja, informed the governor of how his political adviser and two others defrauded them of millions of naira.

“It is quite unfortunate that the jobs you gave us in the spirit of partnership and prosperity to all Deltans in order to alleviate some of us from the hard economic condition of the country has ended up in bringing sorrow, bitterness against your administration and acrimony among political parties in the state. We may also wish to inform you of the unholy, ungodly and greedy manner the SUBEB jobs were shrouded in secrecy by the senior political Adviser ( Chief Festus Ochonogor), Chief Frank Igwebuike (IPAC Chairman) and Pastor David Ashikodi.

“The political parties jointly tendered for five jobs in SUBEB and drew His Excellency’s attention to it and your usual way asked that we should be given, but to our greatest surprise we learnt that Chief Festus Ochonogor who unfortunately has hijacked the works and functions of SSA Inter-Parties have gone to SUBEB to collect the jobs and ordered that no information about the jobs should be given to us. This gesture has led to the parties splitting into various groups with each group vowing to engage the government through criticism, thereby heating up the polity if this issue of SUBEB jobs and other issues are not properly addressed.”

According to the political parties, during its meeting on the 11th of July, 2017, “Igwebuike came with three armed policemen with the sum of N1.1 million saying he sold the job for 10% and the value was N11 million, that order from above said he must not share the money to all the parties but 23 parties only. Meanwhile, contractors from SUBEB came to the venue with the intention of buying the job and they tendered N4 million.

“But Igwebuike refused and said he wants to sell it for N1.1 million and he has sold it to Chief Ochonogor. We became apprehensive and went back to SUBEB were told that Ochonogor left instruction that nobody should disclose any information to us in regards to the jobs. However, a staff in the office of the Board’s Director told us that the Governor gave us three different jobs, but Ochongor and somebody came to collect the award letters.

“Another case of fraud was on the 9th of September, 2016, when you released the sum of N2.5 million to the SSA on Inter-parties to enable him have an interactive session with the political parties, Chief Ochonogor and Frank Igwebuike used the Governor’s name to intimidate the SSA on inter-parties and forcefully collected the sum of N900,000 from the money.

“Then comes the issue of grant to political parties, the trio of Chief Festus Ochonogor, Frank Igwebuike and David Ashikodi held series of meeting on how the adviser will use his office and closeness to His Excellency to collect over 35% of the N30 million from the SSA the same way they collected over 40% from the N2.5 million, but the SSA refused to succumb to their threat and intimidation hence the hatred, blackmail, tarnishing of his names and usurping of the functions of his office by Chief Festus Ochonogor in connivance with Frank Igwebuike and David Ashikodi.

“On the 29th of May, 2017, (Democracy Day), Chief Igwebuike brought out the sum of N150,000 that the money is what the Governor gave the 40 parties that graced the occasion, on sensing that the parties were not pleased he went out and came back after few minutes saying he just spoke with the Governor and he is sending someone to bring additional N500,000 for us. Few minutes after, Chief Ochonogor walked in with a bag containing N750,000 and handed it to Igwebuike in our presence, though we smelt a rat but decided to let go.” the petition stated.

While dissociating themselves from the Igwebuke led IPAC, whose tenure will expire in September, 2017, the aggrieved political party chairmen introduced to the governor Mr. Tony Ezeagwu of the Labour Party as the new leader of the 40 political parties in the state which they said will work closely with the SSA on Inter-Parties and warned the senior political adviser to mind his office and stop meddling in political parties affairs which is the sole responsibility of the SSA on inter-party relations.

Several calls made by HardReporters to the trio of Festus Ochonogor, Mr. Frank Igwebuike and Mr. David Ashikodi were not responded to as at the time of going to press.

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