…Says he will strictly follow Gov. Umahi’s Directives
By Angela Nwaeze Mbaocha
Member representing Ezza South/Ikwo Federal Constituency, at the National Assembly, Hon. Lazarus Nweru Ogbee, has refuted recent publication which claimed that he is a betrayer and have successful betrayed his political masters he worked with including former Gov. Martin Nwanchor Elechi.
Ogbee while interacting with journalists in Abakaliki described the claim as unfounded even as the publication stated that among those he also betrayed was Chief Innocent Chima.
The National Assembly member stated, “I have never worked under Innocent Chima as my master or as my colleague in the political community and there is no way I could have act as a betrayer to him.”
Speaking on betraying former Governor Martin Elechi, he noted that if he had betrayed the former governor as claimed, he wouldn’t have been allowed to serve as chairman of Ezza South Local Government under Elechi after being a coordinator. Adding that 2014 was a tumultuous period in the politics of Ebonyi State which was orchestrated by the battle of who would take over from Elechi as the next governor of Ebonyi State.
“We came together in 2007 when I was appointed a coordinator by him, under his administration; if I did betray him I wouldn’t have been allowed to become the chairman of Ezza south local government council. I was a coordinator for two years and two months and I resigned and contested for chairman in Ezza south LGA and won…
“So many other factors culminated to my becoming the first Ezza South person to be reelected to the position of chairmanship or chairman of the council for a second term successfully. A betrayal wouldn’t have landed such a plum position, or wouldn’t have had the nod of the governor of the state.
“Thereafter, we had a tumultuous period in the polity of Ebonyi state that was in 2014. The then governor Elechi, presented three names of people he wanted to succeed him.
“Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, the then minister for health, Prof. Chigozie Ogbu former Deputy Governor, and David Umahi, the present governor of Ebonyi state.
“He gave us the opportunity to make choice and I chose David Nweze Umahi, and without mincing words I meant every business with the choice and I went all out to campaign for him that was not a betrayal.
“Eventually, the then government of the state went out of their way to drop the three earlier possible candidates mentioned, and then went for architect Edward Nkwegu of Ebonyi North. Nobody should have said that anybody betrayed him, I made my choice out of the three and I went for my choice.” he maintained.
On his present relationship with governor Umahi, Ogbee said that it is cordial and that as an ardent follower of the governor, he will strictly adhere to his directives as long as Ebonyi politics is concerned.
Stating, “I don’t think father or son will go out to the market and say this is what I say to my father in the night or in the morning. If I have any reason to request for anything from the governor of the state I will go to him, and if there is any reason to call my attention to anything either in my local government, ward or anywhere he has always done that. And I think the cordiality has been there and it has been doubled.
“That is why we accessed his performances and called for a second chance for him to serve as the governor of the state. The Governor is always happy with me as a son.
“I don’t think father or son will go to the market and say this is how we are relating. If I have any need to make any request from the governor, I will go straight and do that, our relationship is cordial. If he has any reason to call my attention to anywhere, he has always done that” he noted.
The federal lawmaker also spoke on other issues which include the ‘Abuja group’ sponsoring bills, as well as some of his projects. Below are the interactions.
May we meet you Sir,
I’m Hon. Chief Lazarus Nweru Ogbee, Onyechimereze 1, of Ezza South, member representing Ezza South/ Ikwo federal constituency at the green chambers of the national assembly.
You have been accused of betraying your political masters including former governor Martin Elechi, what is your take on this allegation.
Yes, recently, my attention was drawn to some publications both in the national dailies and our local tabloids.
In the said publications, there was this allegation that I, Honorable Lazarus Nweru Ogbee, have in so many areas and some quarters betrayed those that worked with me in politics or people that I worked under in the business of politics.
That is why I am here to refute that and to actually put straight some of the allegations made against my personality in the write up.
I came from the political dynasty of late senator Vincent Obasi Usulor, so there wouldn’t be anyway anybody would be alleging that I betrayed Innocent Chima. I have never worked under him as my master or as my colleague in the political community and there is no way I could have act as a betrayal to him.
In all, the way I have been in politics especially between 1996 that Ebonyi was created or carved out form Enugu and Abia state, I have worked with PDP and I’m in PDP.
Without prejudice to the image of Chief Innocent Chima or his integrity, he has been freelancing from APP to ANPP to PDP and back to APC. But I have remained in PDP except for once that I joined my leader late senator Vincent Obasi Usulor, Senator Ngiji Ngele, Ambassador Lawrence Nwuruku very briefly to ANPP and we returned back to PDP.
It is never correct that I betrayed Innocent Chima, we never worked together in politics not to talk of one betraying the other.
On the side of my father, my master, Chief Martin Elechi, we came together in 2007 when I was appointed a coordinator by him, under his administration, if I did betray him I wouldn’t have been allowed to become the chairman of Ezza south local government council. I was a coordinator for two years and two months and I resigned and contested for chairman in Ezza south LGA and won.
After just one year and some months, we had the opportunity of been accessed by both the NUJ Ebonyi state chapter, local government administrative council at the state level, beyond the state, beyond south east and the entire country. Even the committee on LGA in the National Assembly and at each quarter, I was adjudged the best chairman.
So many other factors culminated to my becoming the first Ezza South person to be reelected to the position of chairmanship or chairman of the council for a second term successfully. A betrayal wouldn’t have landed such a plum position, or wouldn’t have had the nod of the governor of the state.
Thereafter, we had a tumultuous period in the polity of Ebonyi state that was in 2014. The then governor Elechi, presented three names of people he wanted to succeed him.
Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, the then minister for health, Prof. Chigozie Ogbu former Deputy Governor, and David Umahi, the present governor of Ebonyi state.
He gave us the opportunity to make choice and I chose David Nweze Umahi, and without mincing words I meant every business with the choice and I went all out to campaign for him that was not a betrayal.
Eventually, the then government of the state went out of their way to drop the three earlier possible candidates mentioned, and then went for architect Edward Nkwegu of Ebonyi North. Nobody should have said that anybody betrayed him, I made my choice out of the three and I went for my choice. So many other local government chairmen made their choices and so many joined me in the quest for Engr. Chief David Umahi, to become the Governor of Ebonyi state and I don’t regret my position.
When it was time to present at the national secretariat of PDP, I presented myself, and when it was also time to present another person or join another person to the national Secretariat I did not go.
That didn’t show betrayal, that didn’t show that I was a coward and that didn’t mean that I can’t stand up to what I choose.
Actually, I am happy to announce that David Umahi made it as the governor of Ebonyi state and to the glory of God all of us are enjoying it today, nobody is bringing remunerations to Laz Ogbee, some of us that were the earlier apostles, that saw the star, not only that we followed the star to the place of birth. So I have never betrayed anybody that is my master.
It was gathered that you were restrained from the sponsorship of cult groups in the guise of Onyechimereze association which you floated to technically drive home your political ambition.
Onyechimereze as a title was given to me by my community. My community assembled, everyone in my community came together and invited the public for a thanksgiving ceremony when I was the chairman of the council. That was where, how and when the title came in.
It did not emanate from me but from my Traditional ruler and the entirety of my community called Amaezekwe which is the oldest community in Ezza south LGA. They crowned me Onyechimereze, which means the “One crowned by God”.
When I had the opportunity to be giving a title by the Ebonyi state college of Education Ikwo, they equally crowned me “”Onyechimereze”of Ikelegu Kingdom, which is the kingdom they have in Ikwo.
As a traditional titled chief of my community, I had to go by the title, people call me the name and I so cherish it, because my people thought about it for years before they gave me the title.
It has no relationship with any group, either cult group or any other social group or any other group at all. I am not a member of any cult group, I do not belong to any and I don’t wish to belong to any. And if anybody is annoyed with the name the person can equally pick onyekwensumereze, I.e. the one crowned by devil 1. Then we will be calling the person that name along the streets of Ebonyi state. But for me, I cherish what my people gave me as a very good title. One crowned by God and I so much reverend God, because without him I wouldn’t have been here today to address you.
It was also alleged that all the funds designated for constituency projects such as renovation of schools, access roads, portable water supply, have been diverted into payment of hotel suites where you accommodated your girlfriends
I don’t have any enemies; I have both male and female friends. If anyone comes to me for assistance that I can easily afford, I will oblige you. If I have need to help anybody, both less privileged, downtrodden, I will not hesitate to help because I represent not only the people of Ezza south/Ikwo, but those from other areas.
But to put end to that allegation, actually, I stand to be challenged the record is there, nobody that has represented my constituency Ezza south/Ikwo constituency that can come close to my achievements within the four years I have represented my people.
About primary schools, you can go round the state and find out how many of my colleagues and what they have done in education, but for me I am talking about myself, I have been able to attract primary school buildings both in Ikwo and Ezza south where l came from.
If you go to central school Oronha today, in Amagu community, in Ikwo LGA you will see the building there attracted by Laz Ogbee, community school Ameka Ikwo the same, community school Amezekwe, community school Ndiagazu, Ezza High school Amuzu where I attended secondary school, the longest building there was attracted by me so that is it on education.
You go to health sector, the little time we have here cannot not be enough for me to enumerate my achievements in that sector, but I have catalog of what I have been able to attract for my people.
In power sector, I have completed electricity projects in Ndufu-Alike Ikwo, Enyibuchiri, Umunnwagu Idembia and several other places.
Have you sponsored any bill in the green chambers?
I have sponsored bills in the House, I have supported motions. Anybody talking about Laz Ogbee not moving any motion, supported or seconded any motion is actually talking nonsense and the person cannot actually say he/she knows the workings of the National Assembly.
There are also claims that you do not assist your people in getting federal employments, what is your take?
I cannot blow my trumpet, you can go to my constituency, even beyond my constituency, and you can see people that I have helped to get employment both in police, military and so on. Let me start from home, in Alex Ekwueme Federal University Alike Ikwo (AE-FUNIA), I have people that got employment there through my request. I attracted employment for some people at the Bureau of Public Procurement Abuja, in the foreign Affairs I have two persons from Ebonyi state, one from Ezza south one from Ikwo.
Just like I mentioned police, in the last police recruitment I have three ASPs and six inspectors. I won’t be counting rank and file; I’m counting from officers’ cadre, and in the army too, every other areas of employment. Other federal parastatls and MDAs, you can go there and if you want I can release the names. Anybody saying that I have not attracted employment is a joker and probably the person cannot read and write not to talk of mentioning names of people.
Why I don’t over stress myself on such issues is that people making such allegations have never contested election from councillorship to presidency. They have never contested election until recently they thought they can contest and win Laz Ogbee.
You cannot come into the field of politics and think you can win a field marshal like me. I am a field marshal in the field of politics. We contest to win because of our pedigree, because of my antecedent. I have positively touched the lives of so many people, and I have not betrayed any of my masters or people that are serving me. I have represented very effectively at every level of representation I found myself and that is why the people have not found any reason not to vote for me.
If I have the opportunity of contesting any other election tomorrow or next tomorrow I will still win as usual, it has become a normal setting in my own activities.
It is out of jealousy or whatever they may tag it, that those people are talking rubbish both in the print and broadcasting Media. I will be doing favor to them by replying them. I’m only trying to put some records straight.
Do you think all these ‘persecution’ and propaganda is still an off shoot of the election, and we are aware that the matter is still lying before the court, is the future bright for you?
Well, whatever I have been on earth I have not actually made it for myself, it has been God and God alone and I think laying so much emphasis on my opponent in the last election will be giving him much credence. I have actually called as somebody that contested election against me to come over let us join hands together for further development of our place, I.e. Ezza South/ Ikwo federal constituency. I don’t think I should be giving much attention to him if he has refused, just as he has refused to come over.
About the petition he wrote to the tribunal, it is already there, and hopefully by the special grace of God, the will of the people demonstrated on the 23rd of April 2019 would be upheld.
Are you bothered by that?
I am not bothered and that is not the first time I’m being taken to tribunal. When I won as the local government chairman of Ezza south for the first time I was taken to tribunal, the second time I was also taken to tribunal. When I won for the National House of Representatives in 2015, I was taken to tribunal and I won. So I don’t think that should bother me.
I am more concerned on how to deliver very actively and sincerely, the dividends of democracy to my constituents. No amount campaign of calumny can force my humble self to capitulate in the face of unfounded allegations by passers by in politics.
Since the issue of Abuja group came on board has it by any means affected your relationship with the governor and is the bond you people shared when he was a deputy governor still there?
I don’t think father or son will go out to the market and say this is what I say to my father in the night or in the morning. If I have any reason to request for anything from the governor of the state I will go to him, and if there is any reason to call my attention to anything either in my local government, ward or anywhere he has always done that. And I think the cordiality has been there and it has been doubled.
That is why we accessed his performances and called for a second chance for him to serve as the governor of the state. The Governor is always happy with me as his son.
On the issue of Abuja group, people are using it to draw attention but it will be a waste time, and our God given knowledge to answer to such things because we know the level of our relationship and no person can come between us in my relationship with the governor. I did not go to take excuse from anybody to support my Governor, and I will not take excuse from anybody to continue to support him. Just like he didn’t take excuse from anybody to support me to become a house of reps member and to go for a second term. If by tomorrow he says I should not go again to House of Reps or I should support so person for any position, I’m making myself very clear, I will be readily available to support whatever is his programmes in the state. As you can notice in all the activities of the government you have always seen me there and I have made myself clear about my position in the programmes of the state and I don’t think the insinuation of the neophytes in politics should attract attention.
A situation where the petitioner realizes some of his mistakes and comes begging, will you be readily available to forgive him?
I don’t have vested interest in prolonging any issue with anybody, we have forgiven so many people including those that fought us to a stand still in the then Labour party /PDP in 2015 and the petitioner was equally part of it and he is equally part of whatever arrangements that have been going on against the government of the state. Anytime he decides to repent and become a very good citizen of the state we will give him a very rousing welcome. He has serve PDP as the Youth Leader, so anytime he decides we will bring him back and re-baptize him.
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