Gov. Sule accused of Draining State purse to secure appeal court judgement

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By David Okpashi

Nasarawa State governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, who was candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC in the March 18, 2023 governorship election has been accused of syphoning the state treasury in a bid to pay his way through at the Appeal Court and overturn judgement of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which earlier declared candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. David Umbugadu as the rightful winner of poll.

A group of young Nigerians under the auspices of ‘Youths for Justice’, said this in a statement made available to journalists in Lafia, the state capital, saying that the state account has been drained to red.

Speaking through the convener of the group, Iliya Mustapha, they said, the state governor had last month redirected the state allocation from the federation account from the state ministry of finance to fund a scheme set up to induce the Appeal Court to reverse the tribunal judgement in his favour when constituted.

“An impeccable source in the state ministry of Finance who remain anonymous revealed that the State Governor, Engr. Abdullahi Sule, has redirected last month allocation from the Federation Account to fund a scheme set up to bribe some officials of the Federal Judiciary in the hope of securing a favourable judgement at the Court of Appeal following the upturning of his election by the Tribunal.

“The group said the inability of the Governor to convene the state’s Joint Accounts Allocation Committee Meeting was mainly because the funds are no longer there, as they have been funneled to the pockets of some corrupt officials who promised to influence the outcome of the judgement of the Court of Appeal in Sule’s favour.

The group quoted the source as saying, “I can confirm to you that the coffers of the government have been cleared out. Even before the last allocation from FAAC came, the accounts are in red. Substantial amounts from the state’s accounts are being redirected towards the governor’s legal expenses while the rest are being funneled to some pliant officials in order to bend the rules at the Appeal Court,” the anonymous source stated.

They expressed deep concern over recent developments regarding the utilization of Nasarawa State funds especially since the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sacked him from office, stressing that all government functions have been put on hold except for those that will give the Governor visibility in the media.

“This raises serious questions about the propriety of using public funds for personal legal matters, especially in a context as sensitive as an election-related trial”.

Still quoting, the group said, “According to the sources close to the state ministry of finance, “every individual is entitled to a fair defense, we emphasize the importance of transparency and accountability in the use of public resources” the source stated.

The source claimed that even with the advice of the state ministry of Finance, the Governor has insisted that he will use every thing in his authority to remain in office at all cost, not minding the consequences of his action.

“In fact, some of his flippant supporters are already jubilating that one of the judges, whom they expect to be on the panel, has allegedly agreed to work with them having been induced last night.

“They are just awaiting for the unveiling of the full list of judges in order to activate their other plans into action.

“The governor has taken all the state’s resources for this purpose, but the people of Nasarawa State are hopeful that the judges will uphold merit and might turn down his offer in the interest of Justice.

“We urge the judiciary to ensure impartial and just trial process, free from any external influences that could compromise the integrity of the court outcome,” the source said.

The source also alleged that a prominent traditional ruler has been under pressure to activate his Abuja contacts in order to achieve their goal.

“The traditional ruler was overheard saying that the governor is visibly disturbed and unsettled leading to the importation of an Indian talisman or marabout who was accompanied to Keffi by other equally prominent northern chiefs in the guise of attending a sudden public lecture at the university.

“Our source further disclosed that part of the plan is to perfect strategies and deploy influence to aid the governor’s success at appeal.

“They were all over the place yesterday night in Abuja desperately trying to conclude deals with one of the judges who they expect will be a member of the panel.

“They were also once again making all efforts to see the VP in this regard yesterday. The team included a Senator hoping to succeed Engr Sule in 2027, a wealthy northern businessman, an Emir who doubled as the judge’s contact man, been a retired judge, as well as a popular national leader of the APC.

“All these endeavours are being sponsored with the state’s meagre resources. They are mentally comfortable now to the extent of issuing a press release calling on their members to remain calm as there is no cause for alarm”, the source alleged.

Meanwhile, in order to get the governor’s reaction, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor Sule on Public Affairs , Peter Ahemba when contacted, said since the matter involves finances, the Commissioner for Finance was in a better place to speak

Attempts however to get the finance commissioner to speaker proved abortive as she was off line at the time of filling this report

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