The past few weeks have not been the very best for the Governor of Akwa-Ibom state Godswill Akpabio. There have been several allegations of him misusing the government funds, originating from his donation of a Toyota SUV and plane tickets to Annie Idibia during her traditional wedding. Shortly after that, he offered N1 Million each to six state Chairmen of the Peoples’s Democratic Party (PDP) from the South-South geopolitical zone for lunch during one of their meetings. He was also caught on camera recently, making a self confession on how he rigged the senatorial primary elections in his state.
In a bid to save his reputation, his press secretary, Anietie Ukpe, has released a statement highlighting six reasons why Governor Akpabio is not a reckless money spender.
Please read them and tell us what you think:
1. All the money so far spent was budgeted and did not in any way negatively impact on the fortunes of Akwa Ibom and the people of the state.
2. The governor promised and actually donated only one Toyota Prado SUV to Tuface Idibia and his wife, Annie Macaulay, not two such vehicles, as was wrongly reported. When the most respected Highlife living legend, Dr. Victor Abimbola Olaiya, was honoured with the latest model of Toyota Avensis saloon car by Governor Fayemi of Ekiti State to mark his 80th birthday, did anybody complain?
3. The Governor promised to give twenty relatives of the bride, Annie Macaulay, who is an Akwa Ibom daughter, return tickets to Dubai to attend the wedding. The entire cost of these return tickets came down to just N3 million. Was that enough for such pent up fury?
4. On the donation of N6 million to the state chapter chairmen of the Peoples Democratic Party at Port Harcourt, in the 2013 budget, there is a provision for Hospitality, Grants and Donations by the Governor under Section 467/169. This provision is not peculiar to Akwa Ibom State; it is an intrinsic part of all government budgets in the world. How leaders decide on donations is not subject to legislative scrutiny or control, just as the legislature does not control how the provision for the security vote is spent.
5. Concerning the donation of N230 million (N10 million per state) by twenty-three PDP states for developmental projects in Mr President’s immediate community, the projects involved included cancer diagnostic centre, nursery school, primary school, secondary school, skill acquisition centre, hostel for NYSC youths posted to Bayelsa, and a deanery for prayers. All those who are upset about this donation have the option to channel their own donations towards the building of shrines, or even to Satan.
6. There are also issues with the Governor saying that he “once gave a cash gift of N10m to the national Under-17 football team, the Golden Eaglets, for beating Mali in a first leg African Under-17 Championship qualifier in Calabar last November.” Not true! Governor Akpabio met the kids a few weeks earlier at Abuja Airport and on interaction learnt of their financial handicap in prosecuting major competitions outside Nigeria. He pledged N10 million support to the team and redeemed same at Calabar after the team’s match with Mali.
Signed, Chief Press Secretary/Senior Special Assistant to Akwa Ibom State Governor, Pastor Anietie Ukpe.