30 Jan



Godswill Akpabio, Akwa Ibom State Governor

Godswill Akpabio, Akwa Ibom State Governor

“Had the AKHA been alive to its constitutional responsibilities, Akwa Ibom state would have been spared this ugly financial situation staring everyone in the face. With revenue profile of over a trillion Naira and debt burden of well over N300 billion, it is difficult to exonerate members of the AKHA for their role in giving life to this monstrous scenario”. Eyenisong Ibibio Eyenisong, You ask questions and reach/draw conclusions that any reasonable person, educated or not, schooled or not, should ask.

The same observations that you have made in your write-up above and in many others prior, are shared by many on this forum. I was also amused and noted the comments attributed to the Hon? chairman of the AKHA Finance and Appropriation Committee, Onofiok Luke, that “it will no longer be business as usual…..”. I join you in asking “why now?” Is it in the twilight of this administration that this committee is suddenly realizing that all along it has been business as usual and has actually allowed itself to be used in that manner? The implications of that statement attributed to the chairman of that committee are far-reaching. It is an indictment of monumental proportion, from one who should know, that there has been much malfeasance in the operations and finances of the state.

The indictment is vindicated by the cavalier attitude of the Commissioner in question, in responding to the alleged missing N1 billion. The scenario that played itself out before the Finance and Appropriations committee causes reasonable people to ask, “Is this how the state has been run and is still being run all these years?” . Do we have a feeding frenzy here or what? It is like child’s play! N1 billion!

A shrug of the shoulder and a cavalier attitude that says “why ask me?”. But this is hardly new and I can assure you, nothing is going to come out of this and no one is going to be held accountable. It will continue to be business as usual. That’s just the way the government has been run for years now. The serious business of running a responsible government, is routinely reduced to child’s play and fraught with a cavalier attitude as exhibited by our officials. Why wouldn’t it be? The governor allegedly asks his Information Commissioner for example, to account for a dubiously donated/sponsorship money of N10 million to a dubious organization; he is unable to do so; and the governor storms out of the meeting we are told; end of story. The next we hear are denials and counter denials in our forums but no one is held to account and before long, that story will be buried and forgotten. It’s been like that for quite a while now. Then we read, true or not, how the governor’s wife, who has no constitional authority/provision of any kind, will routinely corner allocations for the deputy governor and her office.

The deputy governor, we hear, is at the pleading mercy of Her Excellency, starved of funds and confesses to angry and impatient constituents waiting for their turn to be “empowered”, that their plight is caused by her Excellency, the real deputy governor? This same AKHA, if the story is true, refuses to launch an investigation and correct the anomaly. I can go on and on and on, but we get the picture Instead of threatening to cut off or not approve allocations to agencies and parastatals of government, why couldn’t the Honorable chairman through his committee, launch an investigation into the alleged missing money?. Because it has been business as usual for so long, the implication is that there have been many of such unaccounted for money situations in the past. Let the chairman redeem himself and that of his committee, by launching several probes into all of the situations that he has so thankfully revealed has been “business as usual”. Isn’t that part of the responsibilities of his committee? The AKHA has done that several times in the past when it would go after perceived enemies of the governor as a means of silencing any opposition and daring any probing/prying eyes into the affairs of government.

Why just stop at making threats? And I ask Hon Luke, if all this is true: Why was it ever allowed to be business as usual in the first place? For years now since the advent of this administration, many have been crying and calling on the AKHA to live up to its constitutional obligations as a check on the executive branch of government. Instead of doing that, it behaved as a willing extension/appendage of the executive, robber-stamping any and every bill and directive from that branch of government and jostled for the wrong kind of equality as a happy accomplice in the merciless fleecing of the state and its people.

Eyenisong you said it is difficult to exonerate members of the AKHA for their role in giving life to this monstrous scenario. I say it is impossible to exonerate them. For all who have knowingly but willfully refused to see, hear, or know of any evil/malfeasance of this administration for reasons that the perpetrators are their own “thieves” or for other pecuniary reasons to self as they would say in Nigeria; for those who have always cowardly sat on the fence or straddle the fence, never courageous enough to call a spade a spade in spite of the privileged positions they occupy and the weight/import with which their forthright comments would have made our leaders to take note and sit up but instead would come to our forums to pontificate to no end; for those privileged few, who are friends and acquaintances of our leaders, but would rather not take these people to task, because as they put it, they are not part of the government and are not accountable for what the government does, may you continue to remain quiet even in the face of these naked evidences and self-induced confessions; but do not be so bold to later show up, asking the people to vote for you to lead them. Moments such as this, call for courage and leadership, and these attributes seem to be in very short supply among those who are vying to lead the state.

Ufot Inyang Albany, GA

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