22 Mar


By Elder Enefiok Ekefre.

Governor Akpabio.

Governor Akpabio.

Most Nigerians have come to to know the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpabio as one individual who will stop at nothing to seek public approval and validation. Chief Akpabio’s penchant to indulge in endless and crude self glorification has become offensive to most Nigerians. There are many governors in Nigeria who with less resources than Akpabio have performed creditably well. These governors can be found in all the geo political zones in Nigeria. Some of these governors have built brand new universities, brand new modern primary and secondary schools, new airports, new hospitals, expansive road networks. Many of these governors are providing free and compulsory education at primary and secondary school levels and have been commended by world financial institutions for their prudent management of their financial resources and their ability to attract investments to their states.These governors include  Ibrahim Shema of Katsina, Babatunde Fashola of Lagos, Adams Oshimole of  Edo, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta and Sen. Liel Imoke of Cross River and Peter Obi, the immediate past governor of Anambra. It is instructive that these governors have been outstanding even when some of their states earn less than twenty percent of the revenues available to Governor Akpabio of Akwa Ibom. It is instructive that these performing governors have shown humility, modesty and decorum in their speeches and general conduct. Unlike Chief Akpabio, these other governors have not spent billions of naira to promote and advertise their  achievements on AIT, BEN TV etc. Unlike Akpabio, these other governors have not asked their colleagues or even Mr. President to come and learn from their examples of “uncommon transformation”.
 Governor Akpabio is currently touring the federal constituencies in Akwa Ibom to hold town hall meetings. According to Chief Akpabio, the town hall meetings will afford him the opportunity to present his score card to the people. The people of the State will also present their problems and suggestions to the Governor. It is a good idea to hold a town hall meeting but for many discerning Nigerians the timing is suspect. The motive for Governor Akpabio’s town hall meetings at this time is also suspect. Why is Akpabio holding town hall meetings at this time when he has barely one year to complete his tenure? Why were these meetings not held before the preparation of the 2014 Budget(the last full budget of the Akpabio administration)? Why is Akpabio the only outgoing second term  governor who is renting crowds to sing his praises on live television under the guise of town hall meetings? Why is Akpabio the only governor who desperately wants approval and validation from Nigerians? Why is Akpabio so insecure?
 The achievements advertised by Akpabio at the town hall meetings are already well known to the people of Akwa Ibom State and indeed all Nigerians. In the last 3 years, billions of naira have been spent on AIT and BEN TV to promote every week without fail the achievements of Governor Akpabio. Based on average expenditure of twenty million Naira a week, Akpabio has so far spent close to four billion  Naira to promote his achievements under the Uncommon Transformation series on AIT and BEN TV. Nigerians therefore already know that Akpabio completed the airport, Ibom Power Plant, a gas plant, four flyovers, some roads and the so called e-Library. They also know that the Ibom Tropicana, the Specialist Hospital and the new Stadium are under construction. They also know about Akpabio’s claims to have completed over 6000 “projects” based on a bogus definition of projects. To deceive Nigerians, for Akpabio every transformer installed anywhere in Akwa Ibom is a “project”, every borehole is a “project”; in a typical school, the gatehouse is a project, the fence is a “project” and every classroom bock in the same school is a separate “project”! Akpabio can therefore boast of 6000 “projects” and he is telling Nigerians how tired he is in going round to commission a transformers, fences and  classroom blocks. Nigerians also know that there are governors in Nigeria with less resources who built brand new universities and secondary schools  and an entire university campus with with structures and road network was commissioned as one project. If Akpabio had built something similar, he would have counted every structure in the campus as a project and would claim he completed 2000 projects.
 So far at the town hall meetings Akpabio has not told Nigerians or the people of Akwa Ibom anything new about his achievements that they have not heard or seen every week on AIT and BEN TV. The truth is that while some Nigerians have appreciated Akpabio’s efforts, his penchant for continuous self praise and self glorification have become offensive to Nigerians.  Why is Akpabio spending sixty million Naira a day (ten million Naira per hour) to further offend the sensibilities of Nigerians by using the platform of the town hall meetings to indulge in further self glorification. At the end of the town hall meetings Akpabio would have spent over one billion Naira. We ask again why is Chief Akpabio the only outgoing governor who desperately wants the validation and approval of Nigerians? What does Akpabio want? Why is Akpabio so insecure? Why is he doing too much to promote himself using rented crowds if he is truly popular and loved by his people? Nigerians have heard enough of Akpabio’s story of uncommon transformation. The story is stale. Akpabio’s achievements can only be evaluated within the context of the State’s revenue profile. It is curious that at these town hall meetings Akpabio has been silent about the fact that Akwa Ibom in the last 7 years has so far received over 3 trillion Naira or 17.6 billion dollars. In the last 7 years the average  budget of Akwa Ibom State has been over 450 billion Naira a year. There are many countries in Africa who do not earn up to 17.6 billion dollars in 7 years. Why is Akpabio silent about the debt profile of the State which has been put at at over 400 billion Naira. Are the debt profile, revenue profile and cost of projects not the salient issues an outgoing governor should have dealt with in the so called town hall meetings.
 Nigerians now know that Akpabio is using the town hall meetings to pursue his political agenda to impose his preferred governorship candidate on the state. The town hall meetings are stage managed and only those who support Governor Akpabio’s agenda are allowed to speak. According to Governor Akpabio, the Governorship position should be zoned to Eket Senatorial District because that district is yet to produce a governor. But Akpabio is insincere in his claims for the following reasons. First all senatorial districts in Akwa Ibom have produced Governors in the past either in Akwa Ibom State or in the much larger territory of old Cross River State. Mr. Nsima Ekere, former deputy governor, confirmed at the Ikot Abasi town hall meeting  that Eket Senatorial District produced Governors Udoakaha Esuene and Clement Isong who served for a total of 13 years in the larger territory of old Cross River State. Second, Akwa Ibom State has always had a tradition for open contest and in the 2006 Governorship primaries, Akpabio contested against 56 other aspirants from all parts of the state. Third, Governor Akpabio is not talking about zoning for the Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district since that will not favor him. Fourth, why is Governor Akpabio going against the declaration of the The National Chairman of the PDP that primaries at all levels will be free, open and fair and that the party will present the most popular candidates. Fifth, why is Governor Akpabio  preempting and subverting the will of the people by declaring that the next governor must come from Eket Senatorial District whereas other leaders in the state including the leadership of the Ibibios have called for open contest. It was the same Akpabio who last year on live television during the Good Governance Tour town hall meeting that he was not a product of zoning and that the contest to produce the next governor of the state will be open to all. The question today is what has changed.
 As many Nigerians have noted, Governor Akpabio has been boasting that because he is the chairman of PDP Governor’s Forum, member of the Caucus of the PDP, member of the BOT of the PDP, that whether the people like it or not, he will impose his preferred candidate on the state as governor.  Akpabio’s paid agents, appointees and sycophants have also argued that because of Akpabio’s “performance” it is his right and entitlement to impose anybody he likes on the state as governor. But Akpabio was elected to build infrastructure. He was not elected to nominate or appoint his successor in the same way he appoints his commissioners or nominates persons for appointment as ministers. Akpabio should allow the people of Akwa Ibom State to exercise their right to choose the person they want as governor no matter where there person comes from. Those who want the next Governor to come from Eket Senatorial District will reflect their choice in the way the they would vote. Those who want to vote on the basis of other considerations should also be allowed to do so. The people do not need Akpabio to teach them how to vote. Governor is threatening and harassing all those who do not support his plan to manipulate the political process through the exclusion of popular candidates under the guise of zoning. No other governor in Nigeria is doing what Governor Akpabio is doing. His actions constitute an affront to the authority of the National Chairman of the PDP who directed that that primaries at all levee should be open, free and fair.
Elder Enefiok Ekefre, Founding Chairman, PDP,
Uyo Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State.

Culled From Nation Newspaper


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