I was never arrested says Senator Hope Uzodinma
Senator Hope Uzodinma, the Imo State All Progressives Congress governorship candidate, has negated claims of his arrest.
Reports circulating suggested that the Special Presidential Investigation Panel on Recovery of Public Property arrested him on Sunday, 11 November 2018, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja.
Uzodinma, Chairman, Senate Committee on Nigeria Customs Service, has said the report is not unconnected to INEC listing him as APC governorship candidate in Imo state.
“I was never arrested. I also read it in papers like every other Nigerian. Before I came to the Senate, I came from the private sector. I was in oil and gas and marine operations. I operated Niger Global. In 2004, we participated in an international deal and Nigeria Ports Authority was looking for partners to manage the channels and we were lucky.
“We were one of the companies that formed the consortium to manage Calabar Channels. Calabar Channels Management Company is a joint venture being operated by the NPA. They have the major shareholders. They have 60 per cent shareholding and then the consortium of like six other companies had different shares. Niger Global had five per cent share and there is a 5-member board, where NPA has three and the consortium of companies two.”
“Before I came to Senate, I was in the board and the technical partners to the consortium dredged the Calabar Channel under the supervision of the Calabar Management Board,” he said.
He further went on to express his shock over this issue.
“All I know is that some aggrieved persons are behind this, otherwise where was this panel since 2004. I was in the 7th Senate from 2011 to 2015, why did this issue not come out? I have been here in the 8th Senate from 2015 to date why didn’t the issue come up?
“To the best of my knowledge, the company worked, and though I am not in the management anymore, I am still one of the minority shareholders of that company. If there is any question that must be answered by the company, the majority shareholder should first answer their own query. If anything, I am a serving senator and a ranking one at that and the Chairman of the Southern Senators’ Forum.”
He expressed surprise at the allegations of non-declaration.
“Before I joined politics, of course, I came from the private sector. That was why I became even surprised when the panel said I should declare my asset for the past 20 years. I have never seen anywhere in any law where private people are made to declare their asset to government,” he said.
He, however, mentioned that he sent in his declaration and copied the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami.
“The Presidential Committee wrote me sometimes last month asking for my asset declaration form alleging that I did not declare my asset. I replied and attached my declaration form and copied the Attorney General of the Federation whom I suppose they are working under.”
“With what has happened in Imo State, I thought by now, some of these underdogs should repent but they are still plotting. I thought what they would do in the spirit of democracy is to appreciate the fact that some people are now in the party and the party will be better for it. It is not easy to do what I have done in recent times. To make sacrifice, I followed my people and encouraged them to be in the ruling party.
“So name calling, campaign of calumny and all of that is only a distraction. I have been around for some time and I understand the meaning of politics and I refuse to be distracted.”