In the past few weeks, the Akwa-Ibom state governor, Godswill Akpabio has been trending in the news for some gifts scandals involving state funds. Today, he makes a comeback to the headlines after confessing to manipulating the result of a 2007 Peoples Democratic Party senatorial primary election in the state. He admitted on live television to falsifying a senatorial election result and replacing the winner with the name of his preferred candidate.
He made this confession when a delegation of the National Good Governance Tour visited the state on March 9. According to him, his reason for doing so was to be fair to the people of Ini and Ikono.
He said he struck off the name of the winner of the Akwa Ibom North Senatorial elections in his party’s primaries, and replaced it with Aloysius Etok who went on to win the main elections and is currently the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service matters.
“The people of Ikono and Ini (Local Government Areas) from 1960 have never produced a Senator. I used my own hand to strike out the name of the person who has won before, and I said it is important for me to give that region a Senator in 2007, and I produced Senator Aloysius Etok for you; that’s where he comes from,” the governor said.
He then gestured to Etok, who was at the meeting to “take a bow”.
Although the concluding part of his statement was not recorded in the video, Premium Times reports that shortly after that, someone passed a note to him, probably drawing his attention to the effects of his comment. This made him retract his statement.
“So, I must say that I thank all of you, including the members of the National Assembly led by Senator Aloysius Etok. And when I said that I made Aloy(sius Etok) to become a senator in 2007, I need to explain it so that you don’t think that I wrote his name and he became a senator.
“During the primaries of the PDP, we zoned the Senate seat to his federal constituency. And from the federal constituency, he came first in the primaries. That happened in the PDP. So we said since he was the first among the people who came from his federal constituency for the primaries, then he must be the one to become the senator.”
“I used my own hand to strike out the name of the person who has won before” is as bad as it can get for the credibility of our political elections in Nigeria. If well deserving candidates are “struck out” at the primary elections, then it presents a bleak picture as the candidates who really deserve to lead don’t even get a chance to contest the general elections.
Watch the video below: