•Insist appointment’ll disunite state
By Christiana Ekpa
Elders in the All Progressives Congress, APC, Akwa Ibom State have insisted on their position that President Mohammadu Buhari must not appoint senator Goodwill Akpabio as a minister in his second term.
The elders under the aegis of Ibom Integrity and Servant Leadership Culture Initiative had penultimate week written a formal letter to the president, saying that Akpabio who is the immediate past governor of the state was not their choice for a ministerial slot of the state.
They submitted that the choice of the Senator would destabilize the peace of the State.
But the statement was met with a rebuttal by the leadership of state chapter of APC which denied knowledge of the group’s existence and consequently dismissed their submission.
But in a statement signed by its executive vice president, Dr. Asuquo Edidem Etim yesterday and made available to Vanguard in Abuja, the group stated that they were standing by their letter to the president.
According to Etim, the allegations of corruption against Akpabio which were still under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, profligacy in public office, flippancy and haughty public utterances were an albatross to his appointment.
They said that nominating him for such an office would cast aspersion to the anti-corruption war of the present administration.
Etim: “The following verifiable factcheck will help to ascertain the objectivity and veracity of our earlier assertions as contained in our letter to Mr. President, which is that: 1. Senator Akpabio is still under probe of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)), hence unfit for ministerial nomination in the Next Level government.
2. That he was a destabilizing factor in APC in Akwa Ibom, which contributed to the party’s poor outing at the recent election. 3. That his profligacy in public office and hunger for power corrupts his sense of propriety which makes him ignore norms, standards and traditions. 4. That his flippancy and haughty public utterances still hurt our party till date.
“According to a report in the Punch of September 21, 2017, Akpabio was first quizzed by operatives of the anti-graft agency over an alleged N108 billion fraud few months after he left office following a petition by a lawyer who is also an activist. The legal practitioner had in the petition accused Akpabio, who was the minority leader of the Senate before his defection from Peoples Democratic Party, PDP ahead of the 2019 general elections of fraudulent withdrawal of N18 billion from the state’s share of the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) allocation.
“He also accused the former governor of spending of over N50 billion state funds during the 2015 election and withdrawal of N18 billion from the state’s treasury allegedly for special services, reception of very important guests and sundry items. The lawyer also accused the Senator of illegal acquisition of multi-billion naira properties in choice areas of Lagos and Abuja among other such accusations. As part of its investigations, EFCC had written letters to Zenith Bank, Keystone Bank, First City Monument Bank, Skye Bank, and United Bank
for Africa demanding information on the state’s accounts when Akpabio
“It can also be recalled that Akpabio had during his defection to APC claimed that he was no longer under investigation. But this was swiftly denied by former spokesman for the EFCC, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, who in a text message to Punch emphatically stated that Akpabio’s corruption case was still ongoing, according to Punch report of May 28, 2019, under the caption, “We haven’t closed case against Akpabio”.
“EFCC does not close cases or give clearance to anybody,” Wilson had said.
“And President Buhari during an interview aired on Arise TV which was monitored by our correspondent, according to he paper said he has not told EFCC to halt the former governor’s probe. “I don’t think Akpabio, when he moved to the APC, that I said he should be left alone. I cannot remember asking the EFCC, the ICPC, the police or anybody to spare any corrupt person or incompetent person.”he said.
Profligacy in Public Office and Hunger for Power
“It could be recalled that as governor of Akwa Ibom State, Akpabio, on April 9, 2013, invited and received the Ghanaian President, Dr. John Mahama who had no business being in the State aside Akpabio’s alleged stupendous investment in Ghana while in office. In the stupendous reception organised for Mahama with State fund, Akpabio ignored the conventions of protocol and delved into acts meant only for Nigeria’s sitting president by, among others, mounting a guard of
honour and reviewed same live on TV. That he only hurriedly dismantled
after alleged intervention by Aso Rock Villa.
“It was because of his hunger for power and appurtenances of it, Akpabio that found some weak links in the gullible leadership of the 8 National Assembly and deployed Akwa Ibom State resources, pursuance to his ever green moto of “what more money cannot do, much more money can”, and bent an aged long Legislative Rule to become a Minority Leader as first timer. It is on record that some official of National Assembly are still standing trial for criminal forgery of Senate Rules to make Akpabio’s emergence possible. Despite their trial, the beneficiary turned his back against them and decamped to our party leaving them to their fate, after all he paid them for the job.
Besides being an untrusted behaviour in pursuit of self goal, how many people can affirm that he actually fulfilled the role of Minority Leadership even for once until he left that office? Therefore he was not wonderful as a Senator, aside acting comedy to entertain all. And he ended up as the most ridiculed senator of the 8th Assembly as it was obvious during the valedictory session. But if such attitude is what qualifies one for consideration as minister, so be it. We however will not cease to fully alert the nation about the character called Sen. Akpabio.
On Intolerance of Opposing Views
“Recall that Akpabio had on March 27, 2011 led the arraignment of Sen John Udoedehe for treason over the violence he (Akpabio) orchestrated on ACN campaign rally in Ikot Ekpene which left scores of ACN supporters dead. And this came after causing his detention for weeks prior to the election in which Sen Udoedehe was his main opponent. It took the grace of the court to throw out the case on may 27, 2013, a ruling that was widely captioned “Another Loss for Akpabio by national dailies”.
“We make bold to say that in the 416 weeks (8 years) of Akpabio’s reign as governor, of which a minimum of 390 weekly Executive Council meetings were expected, barring public holidays, Akpabio never held 12 Executive Council Meetings aside the 16 convened to rubber stamp his budgets and supplementary budgets. We challenge the PDP government of Akwa Ibom State to publish records of Executive Council Meetings held all through Akpabio’s 8 years as governor. And this further leaves us in wonder as to why such a character that hardly knows the importance of Executive Council Meetings could be deemed fit for the nation’s Executive Council as a minister.
On Haughty Utterances
“While at a funeral ceremony in Aguobu-Owa, Ezeagu Local Government area of Enugu State on August 21, Senator Akpabio declared that APC’s takeover of Akwa Ibom in 2019 would be as total as the 1940 invasion of Poland by the German dictator, Adolf Hitler. His words: “Recently,
I had an occasion in Akwa Ibom State and this is what happened: I went just to make a floor declaration; others do it in the social media; others just sit in their offices; some do it by text messages that they have changed platform, what we call party. But in my own, I just decided to do it in an uncommon way because they call me uncommon transformer. It was watched in 59 countries and somebody asked what happened there, and I said just how it happened in Poland.
“When they asked Hitler’s minister of information how was the war in Poland? He said Warsaw saw war and war saw Warsaw. I will say that in the Ikot-Ekpene arena, when I stepped out, this is my first function after that, Warsaw saw war and war saw Warsaw. We can’t talk politics in the church but in 2019 Warsaw shall see war and war shall see Warsaw. The return will be victory.”
“The result of this very insensitive Warsaw declaration and his subsequent boast that he would capture the whole of south south states for our party without any visible strategy or networking, resulted in untold resentment against APC and the result was a dismal electoral result. Also the over 15 video clips on Apkabio’s name calling and denigrating utterances against Buhari and APC in the 2011 and 2015 elections were regularly broadcast by the PDP government in the State on TV and radio throughout the campaign period.
Akpabio’s defection and APC’s 2019 loss
“He came into APC with no recognizable political structure or any meaningful support base of any value. It was expected that a politician of that stature would be able to at least command the loyalty and following of at least half of the members of the House of Assembly, but he came almost empty handed with a lot of distracting noise. The three members that later joined him came with a huge baggage of controversy that robbed off on the party negatively. He couldn’t even convince his own cousin who was a commissioner in the state to join him. The situation was that bad. So, when PDP cleared all the 13 NASS seats, including his own, in Akwa Ibom, won 20 of the 21 House of Assembly seats in the state and retained the governorship of the state, it became very clear that we had actually overrated his electoral value and influence. The huge repugnance against the person of Akpabio and his politics robbed the party of it’s popularity and victory.”
Etim added that the rebuttals from the the state chapter of APC were feeble as it did not deny the issues of integrity deficit preferred on Akpabio.
“Ibom Integrity and Servant Leadership Culture Initiative, hereby state unequivocally, that we stand by our petition to President Mohammadu Buhari, dated May 24, 2019, entitled “Ministerial Appointment: Why Appointing Akpabio May be Counter Productive”, In spite of the obvious feeble rebuttal attempt by the state publicity secretary Nkereuwem Enyongekere, allegedly on behalf of the State Working Committee (SWC) of our party, All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom, aimed at contradicting the inner wishes of our teeming party men and women, via an unsigned statement a few days ago.
“The statement curiously focused on the registration status of the
group. And we know for a fact that the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), has not relinquished its constitutional responsibility of registering corporate entities to our state party chapter. We are are however, encouraged by the fact that the said unsigned statement didn’t deny any of the issues bothering on integrity deficit that were raised in our letter.
“In view of the above reasons, we hereby reinstate that based on our desire to have a representative in the coming cabinet of President Buhari, who would enjoy the support of majority of Akwa Ibom people irrespective of political background, and for equity and fairness in a party that is emerging from a depressing electoral experience, in the state, we need a unifying factor, not an overlord with a humongous ego and sense of entitlement. This is our simple, selfless and objective
request from Mr. President”, the statement added.