The seeming historic looting of Akwa Ibom State’s treasury during the Godswill Akpabio years (2007-2015) has drawn the ire of former Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory and an old war-horse of the All Progressives Congress (APC), John James Udoedehe.
At the flag-off of the electioneering campaign of the APC governorship candidate, Nsima Ekere, at the Uyo Township Stadium, the former minister took on Akpabio, pointing out that before Akpabio’s ‘uncommon defection’ to APC, he has been accusing the former governor of looting of the state treasury and violence, including assassinations, kidnapping among others.
The former FCT minister told the the gathering that Akpabio cannot go to jail because the money he allegedly looted from the state was shared among the people. According to Udoedehe, Akpabio cannot go to prison alone. ‘’How can Akpabio shared money with the people and you want him to go to jail alone’’, he said.
Udoedehe said nobody should use those allegations and accusations he made against Akpabio, Ekere and former PDP members, who are now in APC, because then they were doing intra party matters.
‘’When we are doing politics, we abuse others. I cancel all that I used to say about Nsima and Akpabio in Jesus name’’, declared Udoedehe.
Defending himself from the open attack and reckless spending, Akpabio explained that a governor of a state can make donations to any cause under a subhead of grant and donations provided for in the budget.
He justified his excesses that when a governor gives out money it is not from his pocket but from the budget. Akpabio continued that people are shouting about stealing and theft during the period he was governor but insisted that there was no theft.
He charged Ekere: ‘’when you win as a governor, give something to this people. Any person that supports a political party wants gain.’’
Responding to a remark by his wife Uloma, that ‘’Nsima Ekere was chased out from office as a result of an evil conspiracy in 2012, he said today, God has taken away those evil conspirators.
Akpabio told the gathering that he was not interested to know why Ekere resigned as his deputy. Even though I was part of the conspiracy that send Nsima away, I am on the conspiracy to bring him back again as governor’’, Akpabio said.
Ekere however, announced that his vision for Akwa Ibom is for the collective prosperity of the state and to lift the people out of poverty, declaring that Akwa Ibom people have no business with poverty because of the enormous resources that the state is endowed with.
Ekere, who promised to banish poverty out of Akwa Ibom State said this will be anchored on a five point agenda which include massive investment in public work and creating a conducive environment for the private sector to thrive.
If elected, Ekere said he will invest in the infrastructural development of the state; investment in education, health and social protection; security of lives and property will be taken seriously as well as embark on governmental reforms that will enable the state public service run smoothly.
Ekere declared that the forthcoming elections is a referendum on the current administration in the state, therefore the campaigns should be on performance and issue-based.
Continuing, he said the elections should not bring division to the state as it is not about Annang, Ibibio, Ekid, Oro or Obolo, and insisted that we should not allow to divide the state.
Ekere also advocated that the campaigns should be deviod of religious sentiments rather clerics should preach salvation and peace instead of politics.
Dignitaries at the rally include: Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, Senator Magnus Abe; Don Etiebet, Umanah Umanah among others.