By Appolos Christian
In view to the second term inauguration of President Muhammad Buhari, on Wednesday 29 May, a group of elders from the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State have said they are against any plan by the presidency to shortlist Sen. Godswill Akpabio for a ministerial appointment.
The group, Ibom Integrity & Servant Leadership Culture Initiative in a letter titled “Ministerial Appointment: Why Appointing Akpabio May be Counter Productive”, signed by the Executive Vice President of the group, Dr. Asuquo Edidem Etim and copied to the national Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomole, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha and the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari tagged Akpabio as a “destabilizing agent”, went on to say that Akpabio was once the nemesis to their party in Akwa Ibom.
“The same Senator Akpabio that in years past had been our party’s nemesis cannot suddenly become the gadfly of your political generosity”. They, said, and noted that Akwa Ibom State boasts of men of immense integrity who can fit into the ministerial positions to help realize the next level agenda of the APC government.
The letter read in parts: “Mr. President, this second mandate affords you the opportunity to select your ministers in a manner that will ensure that they do not become liabilities to your government or dent your impeccable image. Characters with known corruption allegations or propensity for pettiness, mischief, treachery, profligacy and vendetta, should be avoided. Senator Godswill Akpabio, unfortunately, is one of such integrity deficient individuals.
“Akpabio is a destabilizing agent. The poor showing of APC in Akwa Ibom state in the last general election was to a large extent as a result of the destabilizing and authoritarian tendencies of Senator Akpabio, who only believes that it’s either his way or nobody’s. Many had thought that his joining APC would bring cool breeze of good fortunes to the party in the state, but rather his highhanded nature and disrespect for internal democracy in the party and the will of the people to chose their leaders, became a raging storm that uprooted the recognized structures of the party right from the grassroots, as he imposed party leaders from the wards and even unit levels. Leaving many party men and women very bruised, trampled and disgruntled. This sadly affected the chances of our governorship candidate, Obong Nsima Ekere.
“Akwa Ibom has many respectable, level headed personalities that would represent the state with grace at the federal executive, just as our son, Mr. Udoma Udo Udoma, Minister of Economic Planning, has done creditably in the past four years. In terms of loyalty to the party and contributions to its development in the state, we have Party men including Chief Umana Umana and Senator John Udoedehe, among others who had toiled to keep the party afloat over time in the state.
“Akpabio’s uncommon profligacy in public office as governor in Akwa Ibom state is well known in political circles. He is irredeemably corrupt. Billions of Akwa Ibom funds were recklessly and dubiously converted into personal wealth, so much so that his corruption case with the EFCC has the potential of exploding into national embarrassment and credibility question for your government, should he be made a minister in a government that prides itself as anti-graft champion. We wish to remind you of your famous words, that ‘if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill us’.
“His notoriety for flippancy is well known among many people that have observed him closely. For instance, he is busy throwing his weight around in the state boasting to those who care to listen that “being already primed for a ministerial position is not arguable. Knowing how important I am in this country, the contention has been on which super ministry? Emmanuel has to know that stealing my mandate to scuttle my Senate Presidency offer cannot be the end. It’s a matter of time, we will know who is the boss in this state.” Claiming that it is a done deal, his aides who now hail him as “the final Obongowo”,cite his recent meeting with Festus Keyamo and former governor of Rivers state, Rotiimi Amaechi to drive home their point. And they wonder why the shortsightedness in reading the hand writing even when their boss’s wife, Unoma, could represent Mr. President’s wife as in a recent function at Aso Chapel as widely reported by Channels TV.
“We plead with you, Mr. President, to save our dear state Akwa Ibom from a potential ugly scenario, similar to that of Rivers state, between Gov. Wike and Amaechi, that has turned the state into a battle field of blood and destruction, fueled by ego and avoidable rivalry, especially, as the drumbeat of supremacy war and vendetta is already being fine tuned, with claim of a “federal powerhouse in waiting”, by his gang. His propensity for violence is well documented in the state.
“The same Senator Akpabio that in years past had been your and our party’s nemesis cannot suddenly become the gadfly of your political generosity. Watch the video clips of all the names he called you just few years back in the name of political campaign as Governor. Find out who drove your Party, our Party into the bush throughout his days as Governor fanned by his dictatorial mien and intolerance disposition towards opposition. Be guided by the fact that our poor outing in the first free and fair elections ever conducted in Akwa Ibom State, the 2019 general elections, was aftermath of overwhelming State-wide revolt against Akpabio and what he represents. He had unfortunately and treacherously sneaked into our Party to achieve a long held dream of stopping an APC victory in the State. Worry that to achieve him aim in court, the same Akpabio only recently and boldly told global television viewers that he “did not decamp from PDP but moved”. A camelion does not ever hide its colours, Mr. President.
” Finally, Mr. President, just as we, the masses of Nigeria openly accepted you as our leader by this renewed mandate, the people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial zone, where Akpabio won in only two of its 10 local Governments in the just concluded elections, in their wisdom, considering what they know about their son, have instructively, in the last election, openly rejected Akpabio as their representative at the federal level. So, we implore you, our dear leader, to be circumspect in considering him as minister in your government, so as not to appear insensitive to the people and counterproductive security wise, in the state, by allowing him acquire a fresh political power from the back door of ministerial appointment, which we fear he may use with vengeance against us, his people and the state. We believe he needs a sort of time out, to reflect and purge himself of bottled up negative emotions. And you can help him achieve that. You already have enough security challenges on your hands, a peaceful Akwa Ibom will be of better value to your Next Level programmes.
“May God bless you as you grant our request. Congratulations as you start a fresh term of office, Your Excellency.”