By Jim Derek.
A popular Catholic clergy and a Former Director of Justice Development and Peace Commission who served as a member of DC-23 Governorship Aspirants Screening Committee, Very Rev Fr Chris Ekabo, has denied involvement in any financial inducements alleged to have been demanded and received from governorship aspirants.
It will be recalled that a certain forum of elders within the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, wrote a protest letter/petition to the state party leader and governor of Delta State, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, alleging that huge sums of money exchanged hands before the three names of top aspirants was released recently by DC-23 lobby group.
Ekabo, in a statement made available to newsmen on Sunday 13th February, 2022, denied any knowledge nor involvement in the alleged unscrupulous financial inducements, adding that he served in the committee with the sole objective of ensuring that the best among the aspirants made the final list based on the terms of reference.
The Clergy however noted that he was not in a position to speak for other members of the committee, stating that in criminal matters and under criminal jurisprudence each accused persons must answer for themselves until a case of conspiracy and common intention is properly established in a Court of competent jurisdiction.
Ekabo, urged governor Okowa, to do everything within his powers as the party leader and Chief Security Officer of the State; to investigate the allegations contained in the said protest letter/petition, so as to unravel the remote and immediate causes of these serious allegations; to establish whether or not the petitioners acted based on verifiable evidence or acted on the basis of mere suspicion.
“I served in the screening committee of DC-23 lobby group based on invitation. I am not a card carrying member of PDP, and throughout the duration of our activities I ensured that we did what was right and acceptable based on our terms of reference.
“Majority decision was considered far and above minority votes, and as it were I had one vote.
“None of the aspirants approached me with the intention to either bribe me or committee members in order to get undue favour or recommendation. I am not aware of money exchanging hands in the committee.
“The petitioners owe Deltans a duty to provide primary and substantial evidence to prosecute offenders, to establish the actus reus, so as to enable relevant authorities sanction those who soiled their hands by collecting bribes or any form of financial inducements, if any.
“I can only speak for myself and I hope that at the appropriate time, the Chairman of the Screening Committee or the National Chairman of DC-23 Lobby Group will speak on the matter.
“I urge our amiable governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, to use his good office to investigate the allegation, because my reputation as a Catholic priest and clergy must remain impeccable,” Ekabo said.
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