A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, Maj.-Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (retd), has said he will not join issues with the Edo State Government over its allegation that he was indicated in a $5m fraud while serving in the Nigerian army.
Airhiavbere and the state government have been in war of words, over an award as best performing Governor, given to state Governor, Godwin Obaseki by the national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers.
This is not far from the the supremacy battle between the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole and Obaseki.
Aivrhiabvere, a two-time governorship aspirant, had in an advertorial in a national daily, faulted the teachers’ recognition of Obaseki as the best performing Governor, insisting Obaseki had not done anything to deserve the award.
But, in response to Airhiavbere’s claims, the state Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Paul Ohonbamu, asserted that “the award by the NUT is the culminating event of the achievements of Governor Obaseki in the education sector.”
Ohonbamu, who said that “Airhiavbere’s action is not only actuated by malice and envy, but one in bad faith,” alleged that the retired General was implicated in a fraudulent transfer of $5m to offshore accounts while he was in the Army.
“There are some salient questions still begging for answers from Gen. Aihiavbere arising from the 2012 governorship debate between the then Governor Adams Oshiomhole and Airhiavbere which bothered on some antecedent moral deficits of the General when he was in the Nigerian Army. I hope he can give adequate answers to those questions now.
“Considering the makeup of Gen. Airhiavbere, Nigeria is puzzled to determine whether he is an apostate or an impostor, whether he has abandoned good principles or whether he ever had any.
“He was fingered in the fourth interim report of the Committee on Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement in the Nigerian Armed Forces from 2007 to 2015, which reported that the account Airhiavbere operated while in service in the Nigerian Army had a balance of $0.00, after over $5million was transferred from it to suspicious offshore accounts.
“For more revelations, the details of this are in the public domain, as can be seen in reports in national dailies,” he alleged.
But, Airhiavbere while responding to questions from journalists, said he retired meritoriously from the Army in 2011 and was never indicted as alleged by Ohonbamu.
“I retired meritoriously from the army and I have never been indicted in any issue. I retired voluntarily in 2011.
“What I see in the Edo State political affair is that those who advise leaders do not know how to advise them. And I can see that their level is very shallow. I want Godwin Obaseki to tell me his ancestral homes.
“I can not be a major general in this country and watch the people of Edo state led astray. And that is why we have to take the bull by the horn.
“This is a government where people have retired; the former Deputy Governor has not been paid his gratuities. Let us not trivialise the issues on ground.
“I have passed through two political parties and presented myself for governorship and I have been screened and cleared.
“When you are in the army ,you are meant to do the jobs you are supposed to do. I took the oath of allegiance in the army and I will not join issues with him,” he said.