Tag Archives: corruption

Akwa Ibom: Former Gov Akpabio spends billions on #WhiteElephant projects, while its education system rots away.

2 Jul

, Premium Times

Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State 3 _ Photo credit_ Mapio.netRelated NewsGov. Emmanuel presents N651.5 billion budget to Akwa Ibom Assembly Poverty killing Akwa Ibom residents, supporter tells Akpabio. How corruption and poor governance are killing Nigeria, By Godswill AkpabioAkwa Ibom people not free under Gov. Emmanuel — Ex-MinisterEx-Akwa Ibom deputy governor defies Akpabio, picks PDP Guber formIn 2008, the Akwa Ibom State government embarked on the construction of a multi-billion naira massive leisure and business complex, with the hope of turning the oil-rich Nigerian state into ‘Dubai’.The complex, named Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, sits atop 168 hectres of land in Uyo, the state capital.It has a 14-floor storey building, the tallest in the state, meant for a 258-room five-star hotel, a Cineplex (six cinema halls), shopping mall, 5,000-seat convention centre, and a theme park, comprising wet and dry parks.“My vision is to produce a small Dubai within the Niger Delta (region of Nigeria),” the then governor of the state, Godswill Akpabio, who initiated the project, said in early 2012.By then the cinema was already open to the public, while the other components of the ambitious project were still under construction.“I have given them Dubai standard Cineplex,” Mr. Akpabio had boasted in a government-sponsored TV programme aired on Africa Independent Television (AIT). “So, you walk in there to watch films and you think you are sitting down in Dubai.”The complex was scheduled to open for business by the end of 2012.But 10 years after take-off, and three years after Mr. Akpabio left office, the Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, remains unfinished, despite the huge money sunk into it; except for the Cineplex and the bar close to it, the rest of the complex has been abandoned. The tall building and the area meant for the theme park look desolate.A popular retail business, Shoprite, in August 2015, laid a foundation stone for the building of its mall at the Tropicana. After a long lull, Shoprite just started work on its proposed mall in June 2018, PREMIUM TIMES learned.The Akpabio administration had said its construction would cost the state N33 billion, but three people familiar with the project said the cost was later reviewed upward to N120 billion.Aerial view of Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene _Photo credit_Skyscrapercity.com ” data-medium-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Aerial-view-of-Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-_Photo-credit_Skyscrapercity.com_-1.jpg?fit=349%2C349&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Aerial-view-of-Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-_Photo-credit_Skyscrapercity.com_-1.jpg?fit=604%2C604&ssl=1″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Aerial-view-of-Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-_Photo-credit_Skyscrapercity.com_-1.jpg?w=600&h=600&crop=1&ssl=1″ width=”600″ height=”600″ data-original-width=”600″ data-original-height=”600″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”Aerial view of Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene _Photo credit_Skyscrapercity.com” alt=”Aerial view of Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene _Photo credit_Skyscrapercity.com” style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 600px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 600px;”>But while the government shelled out such humongous amounts on white elephant projects, it left its schools decrepit.Hundreds of schools – primary and secondary – received little attention, a year-long investigation by PREMIUM TIMES revealed.In some terrible situations, pupils and students sit on bare floor to learn in roofless classrooms.Kids between the ages of three and four have been found sleeping on bare floor, in at least two schools in the state.The science colleges in the state are in ruin too. Same with the technical colleges. In one particular case, a top multi-billion naira technical college in the state have been closed down, strangely, and left for several years to rot away.Poorly-motivated teachers in the state, who sometimes go for several months without salary, are known to have resorted to corrupt practices, including collecting money to allow students cheat in examinations.Meanwhile, government officials and elites in the state send their kids to world-class private schools owned by one of them.The current administration of Governor Emmanuel, just like his predecessor, is yet to tell the Akwa Ibom people how much has been spent so far on the Tropicana project.The Commissioner for Housing and Special Duties, Akan Okon, whose ministry supervises the Tropicana, did not respond to calls and text messages sent to his phone line by this reporter.Mr Okon served for one year between May 2014 and May 2015, as commissioner for finance in the Akpabio administration. He continued briefly as finance commissioner under Governor Emmanuel before he was posted to the ministry of housing and special duties.The former governor, Mr Akpabio, who is the Senate Minority Leader, declined PREMIUM TIMES’ request for interview.Silverbird Showtime Ltd, a company owned by a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senator from Bayelsa State, Ben Murray-Bruce, was awarded contract for the construction of the Tropicana. (This was before Mr Murray-Bruce was elected senator in 2015).Mr Murray-Bruce said during the flag-off of the construction in 2008 that the Tropicana would create up to 5,000 jobs in Akwa Ibom State when completed.For now, only about 45 persons, including casual workers, are employed at the Cineplex and the bar, which is far less than the 5,000 envisaged, a top-level administrative worker at the Cineplex told PREMIUM TIMES.Former Gov. Godswill Akpabi and the present Gov. Emmanuel Udom Having lunch with an associate ” data-medium-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/THETHE1.jpg?fit=473%2C349&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/THETHE1.jpg?fit=604%2C445&ssl=1″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/THETHE1.jpg?w=600&h=442&crop&ssl=1″ width=”600″ height=”442″ data-original-width=”600″ data-original-height=”442″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”Former Gov. Godswill Akpabi and the present Gov. Emmanuel Udom Having lunch with an associate” alt=”Former Gov. Godswill Akpabi and the present Gov. Emmanuel Udom Having lunch with an associate” style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 442px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 600px;”>An average worker in the two sections earns about N25, 000 ($69) as monthly salary, this newspaper learnt.Both the cinema and the bar are also run by Mr Murray-Bruce’s Silverbird.The company has not made returns to the Akwa Ibom State government since the Cineplex was open for business in 2011, according to sources within the Akwa Ibom government.The top-level worker at the Tropicana said lack of formal agreement between the government and Silverbird is the reason the latter has not been making returns.“Silverbird isn’t paying anything to government yet until there is a formal contract,” says the worker who did not want his name mentioned because he was not authorised to speak on the matter.The worker said Silverbird wants to “recoup millions of naira” they claimed they spent on fixing lightings in the Cineplex.He said Silverbird has been spending money to maintain the facility, as well as buy diesel to power it (the Tropicana was not connected to electrical grid, until May 2018).In addition, PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the state government would not want Silverbird to run the cinema in a businesslike manner, so as not to hurt the locals who may not have the money to pay for the services.Akwa Ibom, rich in oil and gas deposits, is among Nigeria’s richest states. But poverty and unemployment levels in the state are amongst the highest in Nigeria, largely due to corruption and mismanagement of public funds.The state occupies the second position among the states with the highest unemployment rate in Nigeria, according to 2018 data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).It is a low-income economy, where most working class people earn moderate salary working as government employees.At Silverbird cinemas in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and in Lagos and Abuja, moviegoers pay about N2, 000 for a single movie on weekdays, and N2, 500 on weekends.But at the Tropicana, Uyo, ticket is sold at N1,500 for foreign movies and N1,000 for Nollywood movies.Front view of Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, Uyo_ Photo credit_Skycrapercity.com ” data-medium-file=”https://i2.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Front-view-of-Ibom-Tropicana-Entertainment-Centre-Uyo_-Photo-credit_Skycrapercity.com_-1.jpg?fit=524%2C349&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i2.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Front-view-of-Ibom-Tropicana-Entertainment-Centre-Uyo_-Photo-credit_Skycrapercity.com_-1.jpg?fit=604%2C402&ssl=1″ src=”https://i2.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Front-view-of-Ibom-Tropicana-Entertainment-Centre-Uyo_-Photo-credit_Skycrapercity.com_-1.jpg?w=600&h=400&crop&ssl=1″ width=”600″ height=”400″ data-original-width=”600″ data-original-height=”400″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”Front view of Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, Uyo_ Photo credit_Skycrapercity.com” alt=”Front view of Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, Uyo_ Photo credit_Skycrapercity.com” style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 400px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 600px;”>In the past, a movie ticket was sold for as low as N250 and N500 at the Tropicana.With billions of naira coming into the state coffers as oil derivation fund from the nation’s Federation Account every month, it seems, clearly, that Akwa Ibom’s development challenge, unlike most other Nigerian states, is not really about paucity of fund, but how to judiciously spend the much they have.In five years alone, between 2013 and 2017, the state received N1.029 trillion (about $2.8 billion) from the country’s Federation Account.This is beside the revenue it generates internally.Comparatively, a state like Osun, South-West of Nigeria, receives less than one-tenth of what Akwa Ibom gets from the Federation Account.While construction work was going on at the 258-room five-star hotel at the Tropicana, the state government was also building a 144-room four-star hotel at the nearby city of Ikot Ekpene which is about 20-minute drive from Uyo.Besides these two, Akwa Ibom already has its premier 163-room five-star hotel, Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, at Uruan which is about five-minute drive from Uyo.A Turkish company, Ronesans Holdings, handled the construction contract for the four-star hotel in Ikot Ekpene whose value government insiders put at about N50 billion.Photo showing the five-star hotel section of the Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, Uyo _ Photo credit_ Mapio.net ” data-medium-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Photo-showing-the-five-star-hotel-section-of-the-Ibom-Tropicana-Entertainment-Centre-Uyo-_-Photo-credit_-Mapio.net_.jpg?fit=262%2C349&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Photo-showing-the-five-star-hotel-section-of-the-Ibom-Tropicana-Entertainment-Centre-Uyo-_-Photo-credit_-Mapio.net_.jpg?fit=604%2C805&ssl=1″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Photo-showing-the-five-star-hotel-section-of-the-Ibom-Tropicana-Entertainment-Centre-Uyo-_-Photo-credit_-Mapio.net_.jpg?w=600&h=800&crop&ssl=1″ width=”600″ height=”800″ data-original-width=”600″ data-original-height=”800″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”Photo showing the five-star hotel section of the Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, Uyo _ Photo credit_ Mapio.net” alt=”Photo showing the five-star hotel section of the Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, Uyo _ Photo credit_ Mapio.net” style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 800px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 600px;”>The then governor, Mr Akpabio, said in January 2015 during an interview with AIT that he was “struggling to make sure” both hotels were finished and ready to host visitors expected in the state then for a friendly football match between Nigeria and Brazil.The friendly, which was to take place on March 29, 2015 at the 30,000-seat stadium built newly then by the Akpabio administration, was later called off by Brazil.“Akwa Ibom can’t afford to put additional money in Tropicana”Governor Emmanuel is frustrated with the “mega” projects initiated by his predecessor, Mr Akpabio.In a leaked audio clip of Mr Emmanuel’s meeting with some leaders in the state, the governor is heard explaining his frustration and what he intends to do with the Tropicana in Uyo and the Four Points by Sheraton hotel, in Ikot Ekpene.The meeting most likely took place at the Government House, Uyo, but the date is, however, unknown.“We are in recession, we can’t manage Tropicana,” the governor said, in the audio.“I am going to lease out that place, people will run it, they will give me money and I will use that money to do something. Whenever they run it and take their money, we take back our asset in the future.”Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State ” data-medium-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-1.jpg?fit=465%2C349&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-1.jpg?fit=604%2C453&ssl=1″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-1.jpg?w=399&h=299&crop&ssl=1″ width=”399″ height=”299″ data-original-width=”399″ data-original-height=”299″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State” alt=”Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State” style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 299px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 399px;”>Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State 3 _ Photo credit_ Mapio.net ” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-3-_-Photo-credit_-Mapio.net_-1.jpg?fit=465%2C349&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-3-_-Photo-credit_-Mapio.net_-1.jpg?fit=604%2C453&ssl=1″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-3-_-Photo-credit_-Mapio.net_-1.jpg?w=197&h=147&crop&ssl=1″ width=”197″ height=”147″ data-original-width=”197″ data-original-height=”147″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State 3 _ Photo credit_ Mapio.net” alt=”Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State 3 _ Photo credit_ Mapio.net” style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 147px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 197px;”>Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State 2 ” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-2-1.jpg?fit=465%2C349&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-2-1.jpg?fit=604%2C453&ssl=1″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-2-1.jpg?w=197&h=148&crop&ssl=1″ width=”197″ height=”148″ data-original-width=”197″ data-original-height=”148″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State 2″ alt=”Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State 2″ style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 148px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 197px;”>The governor said an incredible amount of money is needed to complete the Tropicana. “I can’t afford it,” he says.He says of the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, “That building is not yet a hotel!”Continuing, he says: “I can’t help it; we must still put in more money. I have heard a lot of people make noise that the governor has refused to open the hotel. Sorry, building is different from hotel. I need $7.2 million to turn that building into a hotel. As at today, I have paid a deposit of $4 million. It is remaining $3.2 million.”Governor Emmanuel also talked about the premier five-star hotel in the state, Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort, which he said has not been making returns to the state government.“Unfortunately, Le Meridien has not been audited in the past 10 years, and they don’t render account to the government. I have just discovered they don’t give even one naira to the government from all the money that is made in the hotel.“At the same time they didn’t even remit their technical management fees to their home office, so they want me to come and pay those technical fees for 10 years.“But in order to keep them, so they won’t leave, I just remitted $900,000 to them, so that they can stay for us to audit them,” Mr Emmanuel said.The governor said he eventually insisted that Marriot, the managers of the hotel, must leave.It’s not clear, however, if the state government claimed any money from Marriot.Interestingly, building of white elephant projects in Akwa Ibom has become a relay race where one leader hands over the baton to another; Mr Emmanuel, taking off from where his predecessor stopped, is currently building a second Akwa Ibom governor’s lodge in Lagos, and an international worship centre in Uyo, despite huge opposition from the people.The design of the International Worship Centre, Akwa Ibom State ” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/The-design-of-the-International-Worship-Centre-Akwa-Ibom-State.jpg?fit=526%2C296&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/The-design-of-the-International-Worship-Centre-Akwa-Ibom-State.jpg?fit=604%2C340&ssl=1″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/The-design-of-the-International-Worship-Centre-Akwa-Ibom-State.jpg?w=600&h=338&crop&ssl=1″ width=”600″ height=”338″ data-original-width=”600″ data-original-height=”338″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”The design of the International Worship Centre, Akwa Ibom State” alt=”The design of the International Worship Centre, Akwa Ibom State” style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 338px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 600px;”>Mr Emmanuel’s administration is also constructing a 21-storey office building project in Uyo. The cost of the project has not been made public by the government.Some people in Uyo who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES said the administration is “strategically” preparing office accommodation for Mobil Producing Nigeria, in order to put pressure on the oil company to relocate from Lagos to Akwa Ibom State where it is drilling oil.PREMIUM TIMES could not verify the information, as government officials in Uyo declined comment on the matter.Inibehe Effiong, a Lagos-based lawyer from Akwa Ibom, travelled to the state to lead a street protest in March 2017 against the building of the new Akwa Ibom governor’s lodge in Lagos.“Mr Governor, you took an oath of office as the governor of Akwa Ibom State. You did not take an oath of office as the governor of Lagos State,” Mr Effiong said to the crowd.“You took an oath of office to protect Akwa Ibom people, not Lagos State. Mr Governor, you do not need another lodge in Lagos!” he said.In the tension that ensued, several government officials were dissing out conflicting figures as the project cost. One senior government official said then that N10 billion was budgeted for the new lodge, while another said it was “less than N10 billion”.In responding to the criticism, Mr Emmanuel said the government was going to spend a “paltry” N1.6 billion for the new lodge which he said is meant to host people who would want to invest in Akwa Ibom. The old lodge in Lagos is dilapidated, he claimed.“Will Akwa Ibom people feel proud for me to host so many consular-generals, investors in those kinds of dilapidated buildings?” Mr Emmanuel said.Akwa Ibom State also has a governor’s lodge, said to be one of the most sophisticated, in the nation’s capital, Abuja.“Lagos State is a commercial capital of Nigeria, no doubt. But it is not the only entry point into Nigeria. It is also not a mandatory stop-over for potential investors, especially the ones who are interested in investing in Akwa Ibom State,” said Uyo-based lawyer, Imo Akpan, who was among those who protested against the building of the new lodge in Lagos.“The best place to receive an Akwa Ibom bound investor is Akwa Ibom. This is where to exhibit our rich cultural background; this is where to showcase our potentials; this is where to discuss and negotiate hands-on the deals that will move this state forward.“If you have investors who are attracted to the Lagos skyline, chances are that they will not invest in Akwa Ibom.“But if you have serious-minded entities that are committed to genuine business and must be hosted in Lagos, the best place will be to welcome them into the existing state government-owned Liaison offices in Lagos,” says Mr Akpan.How Funds Sunk Into Tropicana, Other Projects Would Have Helped EducationN120 billion Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, UyoIbom Tropicana Entertaiment Centre, Uyo _Photo credit_ Ubong Ephraim ” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Ibom-Tropicana-Entertaiment-Centre-Uyo-_Photo-credit_-Ubong-Ephraim.jpg?fit=526%2C296&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Ibom-Tropicana-Entertaiment-Centre-Uyo-_Photo-credit_-Ubong-Ephraim.jpg?fit=604%2C340&ssl=1″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Ibom-Tropicana-Entertaiment-Centre-Uyo-_Photo-credit_-Ubong-Ephraim.jpg” style=”max-width:100%;” />

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WHY YOU WILL NOT BE OUR GOVERNOR.

4 Aug

By Dr Sam Etuk

*WE are tired of ungubernatorial speeches

For weeks I have been contemplating writing this letter, but discarded the idea 12 times. But since Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka says that, ‘The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny’.-The Man Died (New York: Harper & Row, 1972- p. 13), I think I have seen enough tyrannies to force me to speak up because I don’t want to die. Yes it is not in my character to die as a coward, though all of us in Akwa Ibom State are being forced to take that option, we should see and speak not. When you speak friends desert you and declare you a no go area, some even blackmail you for pittance just to satisfy their bandwagon fear of the unknown, but I will opt out of the spineless crowd and differ from such idiosyncrasy, because I know cowardice is a devastating weakness, for the sake of myself, my Children and their future, I will speak up today, I don’t need any supporter. The truth must be told. I have not compromised my integrity, no not yet not within the labyrinth of lies and confusion, elevated by threats and stock piling of ammunition for their perceived craving for power.

For weeks I have been contemplating writing this letter, but discarded the idea 12 times. But since Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka says that, ‘The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny’.-The Man Died (New York: Harper & Row, 1972- p. 13), I think I have seen enough tyrannies to force me to speak up because I don’t want to die. Yes it is not in my character to die as a coward, though all of us in Akwa Ibom State are being forced to take that option, we should see and speak not. When you speak friends desert you and declare you a no go area, some even blackmail you for pittance just to satisfy their bandwagon fear of the unknown, but I will opt out of the spineless crowd and differ from such idiosyncrasy, because I know cowardice is a devastating weakness, for the sake of myself, my Children and their future, I will speak up today, I don’t need any supporter. The truth must be told. I have not compromised my integrity, no not yet not within the labyrinth of lies and confusion, elevated by threats and stock piling of ammunition for their perceived craving for power.

In the past months, I have had to defend some gubernatorial aspirants from Akwa Ibom State, who are angling for the 2015 ticket before my very cerebral children. They believe venturing into politics in our clime is a waste of time, they are not interested in the dubious financial gains, because  they believe their parents’ antecedent is worth dying for or protecting forever. They are always proud and keep reminding me of their great grand Uncle cum father, Sampson Udo Etuk, the Ibibio Union icon, who denied himself overseas scholarship, whereas he was in charge of the funds and administration of the educational award, to allow others, who did not have the wherewithal like him to proceed abroad under the scholarship scheme to further their education, why he sponsored himself and later his children.

Today’s politicians would rather pilfer the money to build mansions for themselves and their siblings, and rape the society of such a great opportunity. The likes of Sampson Udo Etuk have long gone; even his colleagues at that time were very   much undecided about issues that favoured others. One is proud to be chiseled out from such honoured and celebrated stock. These kids   yearn to keep the legacy.

 

I read Assam Assam’s letter to Udom Emmanuel with stoic calmness that was why I chose to read it around midnightor about 30 minutes past midnight. I needed that kind of a serene environment to enable me digest the letter and perfectly decipher what he was trying to convey, knowing that “The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism”-Wole Soyinka.

I know he wrote it and did not need to pay a letter writer to do it for him. He may be a cantankerous person as his critics claim including Udom Emmanuel, but  he  intelligently marshaled out his points, forget his so called antecedence, but his language were civil, although he flew off the handle in few places, it was logical. He did not dissipate his energy trying to lie to tell the truth or malign personalities, he focused on issues of import.

 

Days after, my loquacious human right activist colleague, Clifford Thomas woke me up from my sleep and dropped a printed version of the Udom Emmanuel’s reply on my lap. I was not disappointed because as most replies (advertorials) from the Akwa Ibom State present government connote, so many innuendoes were used to convey his message.

Udom Emmanuel

Although Udom made his points, such submissions were beclouded by the personal attacks on Assam, which made the letter amateurish. The art of discrediting your adversary before correcting any perceived cuff could work in a court room, but Udom can bear me witness that as a boardroom player that he is like me, it is usually counterproductive rather bare facts and truth work. Udom disappointed me and others of that class. He might have made his point but it was not very convincing for a man who hopes to rule us. Politics is a different ball game, one slip can affect the mindset of your supporters, forget about the executive rascality which is a Nigeria power fort, but when the time comes, the true supporters will be revealed based on your words.

While contemplating writing this letter I stumbled on my friend, Fani Kayode’s article and this quote attracted me: ‘”why should we speak out? Why should we bother? What difference will it make? Why should we risk our lives? Why should we swim against the tide? Why should we bother fighting against the government or the authorities because we can never win?” These are deep and difficult questions but thankfully Dante Alighieri provided the answer to some of them when he wrote that ”the hottest place in hell is reserved for those that remain neutral in times of great moral crisis”. This is not only true but it is also deeply profound.’

It emboldens me and I just let off a wry laughter because most of us have been hounded into the pit, and our mind is seared, without feelings. Those who perpetrated the 2010 hideous crimes are still around- The threesome. Therefore when those mean men arrogantly want to break every bone to triumph in a democratic set up, don’t forget we had been watching your back for years.

The office of a governor is respectable and should be treated as such. No amount of provocation should make a respected governor lower his esteemed position because he wants to trade words with a mad man on the street or show the public that he also has guts. Such brash bravery is not expected from anyone who aspires to such an office, this is why like many respected Akwa Ibom people, I am disappointed. The diatribe is a reflection of what we should expect if any of such ilks becomes our governor. I also wonder what we mean by backdoor even the one expressed by our governor, Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio was vaguely presented and if one reads meaning to it now, stones will start flying from all cylinders including the unintelligent passersby. This is one area we have not defined as we try to reinvent the story of Absalom. This is why we should succinctly present it before I write my own definition, which I have the journalistic license to do because for two good years I studied interpretative reporting, before they start accusing me of quoting Absalom, sorry backdoor out of context. Also I have THE POETIC LICENSE to be vague too. The Bible has been so battered by our claims to Christianity and respect for God, yet our actions do not portray the character of godly people. Perhaps, it is the religious titles that get our head swollen. According to the forerunner of Christianity, Jesus, the Christ, FORGIVENESS is a virtue in Christian living. It is highly desirable –even the Lord’s Prayer that we invoke on ourselves daily teaches us the right thing to do- “Forgive me my sins as I forgive those who sin against me.” Therefore it means if I don’t forgive others I will not be forgiven. God did not place this conditionality on us, we did it by ourselves by invoking it anytime we pray and should be responsible for it.

Mark my words our impetuous braveness will not make us governor of Akwa Ibom State nor claims which are underlined by lies. The Ibibio Elders Forum, once said to be a campaign team of a guber aspirant and not recognized by government as a reputable organization (advertorial signed by government appointees on behalf of the government stated this clearly) despite its founding father being late Dr Clement Nnyong Isong, our quintessential former CBN governor and civilian governor of then Cross River State, is now being used by aspirants to pep up their political profiling and their media touts resorting to blackmailing the group of those distinguished and accomplished elders, whose ages range from 55 to 90 years. A stone that was rejected….. Why claim an endorsement that has not happen,  the same Elders Council also hosted other aspirants and none turn around to claim, we’ve been endorsed by Ibibio Elders Forum.

Don’t let me say more. Once again accept my compliment and sincere gratitude for expressing your interest in contesting to serve us, but desist from insulting our sensibility, as more letters are coming from my stable in the near future.

Sincerely

Sam Inyang  Etuk

The Problem With Udom Emmanuel, Akpabio’s Puppet.

26 Jul
By Clayton Bane Udoh

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed. – Mahatma Gandhi

You could just hear the whispers of people’s minds, whispers that are so loaded with greed and Neanderthal selfishness that Akwa Ibom State truly needs deliverance from the actors in question.

People’s minds running like ……. if only Akpabio could stay long enough for me to complete roofing that house at Asong Ama estate! I had more cars to buy and now Akpabio is leaving! Oh my goodness, eight years is up and this regime is over and I still need more money! How can we do the impossible of extending our influence even if Akpabio is leaving? Then in comes the solution of a PuppetMaster called Udom Emmanuel.

Udom Emmanuel Akwa Ibom State SSG

People’s brains are now working out advance Calculus; I use to polish Commissioner Enoidem’s shoes and if Udom is in power he must listen to Enoidem, so therefore I will have a chance at survival. My name is so and so and I was the media slave for Governor Akpabio , I insulted everybody I could lay my hands on but if Udom becomes Governor there will be a chance for me to continue with behavior that I knew was stupid at the least! I went after Diaspora with insults and rudeness to impress Aniekan Umanah and the Governor and he gave me crumbs that were so satisfying and now this regime is up. Can I have some more time in the name of Udom?

No, your time is up and your master does not give a damn about you, he has more things to worry about like his underground vault of money!

 

 In the past I wrote an article about what is the greatest punishment of most politicians and I stated that it is “Time”. Eight years looked like a long time for the party to continue but eight years is up and suddenly the looters of the state have discovered that they need more time to continue what they always did and now their new food coupon is called Udom Emmanuel.

So apart from the number of Leeches and Parasites he is about to inherit from Akpabio what else is wrong with Udom Emmanuel ?

Udom Emmanuel’s case first starts with his sponsor’s problem that will be his manual for operation.

  1. This is the first regime in the history of Akwa Ibom State that has a blatant disregard for the sanctity of human life (Killing people’s Wives, Mothers, dragging people out of church and killing them and the Chief Security Officer of the state declaring death to all electoral contestants that are not hand-picked). It is a long story that ends with a state in which people are afraid to even state the obvious. A state in which people live in fear. The state sponsored terror led to the emergence of copy cats that have plunged the state into more chaos and killings then the fake attempts of “Law Enforcement” to stem the copy cats that imitated what the state introduced in the first place etc.
  2. The first regime in history that went after elders with a vengeance, insulting Don Etiebiet, Sending Dr Ime Umanah on exile, Elder Ukpanah shot to pieces and his son locked in custody for fear of evidence leaking. For this regime elders who refuse to get on their knees have been taught a lesson. Forget the Annang identity crap also because it does not save you from being marked for destruction as you can see from the examples above.
  3. The first regime whose major modus operandi was character assassination and defamation of all those who had anything to say that was interpreted as criticism or was interpreted as confrontation. A smiling governor who secretly encouraged this among his subjects and called for the most brutal treatment of his so called enemies because he has the monopoly on communication for Akwa Ibom State.
  4. The first regime that destroyed the unity of Diaspora because of the incredibly extreme need and desire to be worshipped by all and sundry. Diaspora looked a bit too sophisticated and knowledgeable for this regime’s liking and the fact of the matter was that the regime alone must always be in the spotlight. So a lot of the undesirables in Diaspora where recruited to bring disharmony and disunity in Diaspora. From the creation of the criminal organization, like AIDN to the structure of Diaspora spying on itself. Tribal politics was thrown into the mix to create the perfect storm. Government officials were instructed to insult and defame and degrade and embarrass diaspora at the very hint that they have refused to kneel for the almighty regime. Every, single indignation, was executed by the Akpabio government down to not even having the courtesy to redeem financial  pledges it made to AKISAN in  conventions they attended (So much power and cannot even redeem financial pledges because AKISAN was infiltrated by puppets).
  5. The first regime in history to abuse the youth and thumb their noses at the youth and recruit them for slave labor. The youth of Akwa Ibom State were only good for money dispensed in halls leading to stampedes and micro bank schemes that involved hard labor – Hard labor that they would not allow their own children to do. Now that they have ensured that the youth is desperate and hungry, it produces an army of political soldiers that will do anybody’s biddings for crumbs.
  6. The first administration in the history of Akwa Ibom State to make Intellectual Property theft and Nepotism standardized across the ranks and files of the administration.
  7. The first Administration in the history of Akwa Ibom State that has a chip on their shoulders as far as journalism and journalist are concerned. For the first time we hear stories of raiding of newspaper companies, getting members of the fifth estate arrested, beating journalist to pulp. Journalist being manhandled and intimidated .A total war against Journalism that is not state controlled and any other truth telling apparatus.
  8. This will also be the first administration in the history of Akwa Ibom State to short circuit the electoral process to install an Ideological dynasty.

 

I can go on and on but let’s connect the dots about Udom based on the points above;

First lie being sold to the people; he refused the position of Central Bank Governor to become SSG. This is the glamorous hero story being used to depict this man as being ready to give up stuff like Jesus Christ on the cross. The problem with the story is that there are far more qualified people in Nigeria to fill that seat. There is no evidence to prove that he was offered this position by Jonathan Goodluck.

 

Second lie being told to the public is that Udom’s administration will stop corruption instantly. They childishly use the fact that the present Governor is very generous and the state does not need that anymore. That’s a Cock and Bull story because the generous dash money from the Governor comprises of 0.001% of the total revenue of the Coffers. There is the other money, we should worry about that disappears, that has nothing to do with money dashed to crumb eaters.  The sell point is that he is an auditor by profession and that in the same vein he will not give a penny to anyone. There are some lies that is good to tell five year old kids and this particular lie is being peddled by the very people who have financially rip the state of everything.

 

Udom is not a career politician; this is true. However there is no research/documentation  in the world that proves a white collar worker makes a better leader than a career politician.

Also there is a danger when a neophyte like Udom just walks into the arena as a sponsored candidate with no knowledge of the political landscape. There will be an agreement on what he must do “As payment for being installed”. He has no knowledge of the fact that he is being played as a pawn because he is all excited with being able to rub shoulders with “Governor” .Hence his administration will be a continuation of the vices I have described.

 

Udom is not a decent man and here is the reason why.

Umanah Okon Umanah was removed from office on allegations that he started his campaign to be the Governor of Akwa Ibom State way too early for comfort.  However, I do not remember him declaring his gubernatorial ambitions anywhere.

Hon Bassey Albert as a very powerful Motivator and Organizer was invited to a secret meeting that involved the Governor giving out strategies to hand pick a Gubernatorial candidate. There, Hon. Bassey Albert told him clearly, to get his hands off the electoral process and not pencil a candidate into power, let the elections be free and fair. The Governor got angry and created the cabinet shuffle to get rid of the Hon Bassey Albert. Now if Udom was a decent man, based on these stories, he would have said to the Governor, “Your Excellency, based on how these individuals were ousted out of office, please do not start a campaign on my behalf until I resign my post and declare my candidature”. Instead he is so comfortable with the Governor cheating with the process on his behalf.  Now Uyo town is full of the local posters with the bush term “Udomestication”.

Nothing new just the same tactics like the spread of other funny words like “Akpabioism”.

I mean Udom leaves a lot to be desired as a former Zenith Bank Exco and PriceWaterhouseCooper Operative if he insists on campaigning while still in office and using the bush technicality, to explain that he has not declared anything, hence we should ignore all campaigns done on his behalf. For a banker he is not that law abiding as alleged. He is another megalomaniac that thinks he deserves special treatment while others were ousted on technicalities he is violating himself.

He has also relied on the bush man explanation that those campaigning on his behalf are doing it independently and the question is, “Should I force them to stop speaking freely?” How can you even stop them when they are sponsored from Hilltop Mansion is what you should rather say!

Well it is easy to deal with that, that’s why Oyinbo declares at the end of every political message,” This is so and so and I approve of this message!” You do not need to give such clarification anyway because I enjoy picturing Udom based on Aniekeme Finbarr’s analogy of him being a Mango tree with all the flies buzzing around it. That’s what happens when you leave your high powered financial world and join ranks with sycophants. You could be compared with a Hibiscus flower and Emmanuel Nicholas will merge your name with bible verses thereby creating the need for another bible version (Udom Emmanuel Version). Watch out for his next praise and worship pieces because he needs spare parts for that his Range Rover.

Udom is an extension of this government, with the pitiful publicity stunts of donating chairs to Primary schools. No need for the publicity, just donate them. You always see an Akpabio politician standing in front of a few bags of rice to be given to four poor people with the state sponsored Media all over the place, (like the poor people were chosen by lottery) and that has been the hallmark of Akpabioism and the promise of respite that never came. After months of unpaid salaries your bet is as good as mine about the true state of the masses.

Look,” Kpomo no get advert but it sells more than indomie!”

They can advertise Udom using the State’s money, day and night. Yep we will see the Neanderthal Udomistication, Udomific, Udomation etc. However this election does not belong to Godswill Obot Akpabio or Udom Emmanuel , it belongs to the youth and people of Akwa Ibom State.

Let me remind the youth ,there are fine roads but beware of the fact that if things continue the way they are going ,you will never have a car to drive on those roads, you will spend your life praising fine roads. Ibom Power plant is just there for selling electricity for Governor’s pockets, for youth like you, plan for a Generator and borehole.

Governor built Le Meridien abi? Let’s see the youth go and buy drinks there and relax. Banquet Hall is beautiful and I bet that beauty is all you need to be able to survive in the kind of poverty we are seeing back home. Has the youth been able to squeeze into the Civil Service yet as promised? 31 industries ? Something ?

True philanthropist, like the Hon Bassey Albert knows about the plight of the youth and are working tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of the youth. That’s why when the PDP National Chairman came to Akwa Ibom State the youth at the airport took off the crappy Udom t-shirts and revealed the true people’s champion underneath. To hell with the 3,000 Naira you gave them to wear the t-shirts (Equivalent of $12). Is that what you think the youth of Akwa Ibom State are worth?

Udom thought you guys are worth $12 to wear his t-shirts and stand in the Airport in the sun. Then Governor will wave at his t-shirt wearing slaves with the National Chairman and then move into the air-conditioned lounge while you guys remain in the sun.

Udom is the extension of that system and his own will be worst. His secret motto is,” Support me while you die of hunger”. “Support me because Governor is my Father”. “Support me because Uyo is beautiful”.

Udom’s government infested campaign system is so crappy that supporting it will lead to another name rush. It was said that in this last regime marrying an “Akpabio” family member was the real deal to escape from hunger, this time marrying anybody with the surname “Emmanuel” will be hot !

Right now let’s not deceive ourselves. There are only two men that when you meet them you feel the motivation and hope for a better future and that is Hon Bassey Albert and Hon Umanah Okon Umanah.

Get ready for another long, hard eight years of an Akpabio remote controlled Udom. He is planning to bring low paying assembly line slavery jobs to Uyo in the name of industry; just like China. Uyo and the state will have nice roads and great buildings while the masses are broke. Scared and broke.

He will award a lot of contracts and they will divide the cash among themselves and there will be a lot of underground business (He has already started with the campaign posters from outside the state). Contracts will be completed by Oyinbo and Yoruba and Igbo people – close affiliates. Meanwhile the indigenes will be totally destroyed with lack of resources and tribal conflict and unrest. When he is done, Udom will choose his successor and also seizes the senate seat from some unfortunate region in good measure.

Are you guys not tired? You are not tired of being scared and broke? That’s ok, I will remind you that I told you so !

 

Clayton “Bane” Udoh

Mesa, Arizona

2015: Ibibio Elders Again Reports Akpabio To Mu’azu.

18 Jul

-As Concerned Akwa Ibom Citizens Carpet Anietie Ukpe For His Dinigration of Ibibio Elders

Ibibio chiefs

Ibibio chiefs

Ibibio Elders Forum has again reported the Akwa Ibom state governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio to the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr Adamu Mu’azu, for what they said was the governor’s penchant for unguarded utterances capable of causing problems to the state.
The elders had earlier in an advertorial published in The Nations newspaper edition vol, 9 no 2896 of Thursday July 3, 2014, called attention to statements credited to the state governor, where he was alleged to have told the congregation during the investiture of Bishop Cletus Bassey as an Archbishop. The governor was said to have told the people that “I must produce my successor, no matter what is your feeling and there is nothing anybody can do about it. I don’t mind whose ox is gored”
In that release signed by Sir Dr Okon Akpan Uko and Obong Dr Okon Ekanem, the governor was equally quoted as saying in another occasion that he would deploy the police, army, SSS, and every power at his disposal to ensure that he produces a successor. He was also accused of using the occasion of the burial of the state PDP secretary’s mother’s burial to say that he was going to ensure that certain aspirants would not be allowed to come close to where the PDP primary is going to take place.
In denying the accusations, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Anietie Ukpe accused the two signatories as “men with questionable intentions”. Continuing, Ukpe said that the Ibibio Elders’ Forum was “the campaign organization of a desperate politician”, noting that the grammatical errors in the advertorial by the elders portrayed them as men not capable of speaking for the Ibibios. The CPS said that what the governor said was deliberately distorted to suit preconceived “dubious intentions”
But in addressing the current petition to the national chairman, the elders reiterated their earlier stand and said they stood by every word they credited to the governor. They added that they were pressed to write to the chairman because they identify with his effort to enthrone democratic values and internal democracy in the party. The said that the governor’s utterances if not checked were capable of imperiling the chances of the party in the state.
“We are genuinely worried about the ills that such unguarded utterances portend, because the people are beginning to read strong adverse meanings to them. Most of these statements are unwarranted and constitute a threat to the PDP’s credibility. Therefore, we appeal to all to call Governor Godswill Akpabio to order on time”, the elders wrote.
The appeal to the PDP chairman was signed by notable Ibibio leaders, such as Sir Dr Okon Akpan Uko, Obong Ukpong Dan Umoh, Obong Dr Okon Ekanem, Otuekong Sunny Jackson, Obong Rita Akpan, Obonganwan Imo Isemin, Dr Maurice Ebong, Dr Ita Udosen, Barr Tony Mike Akpan, Edidem Ime Dickson Umoette, Obong B.A. Nyong, Col. Ededet Bassey, and Otuekong Kingsley Ifot

Culled: InsightNews

Threat to Akpabio’s Life: Dr. Ime Umanah Wins Again.

6 Jul

BY NDON ASIAN

The Akwa Ibom State Government found itself at a cross road in the ongoing trial of Dr. Ime Sampson Umanah as Hon. Justice Ifiok Ukana ruled to reject the statement of the first accused person in the trial within trial. This is the second time that the same statement has been ruled upon and marked “rejected” in a second trial within trial.

Akpabio and Ime Umanah.

The first was by the Honourable State Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Idongesit Ntem Isua, whose earlier ruling has now been vindicated. Hon. Justice Ukana in a detailed and very well considered ruling captured every argument, evidence led, cross examination and important issues relevant to arriving at the conclusion in the mini-trial. Much of what rendered the case of the state against Ime Umanah and Ikemesit Iyire in the trial within trial hopelessly doomed included evidence of what transpired at the place of arrest of DW 1 (Mr. Ikemesit Iyire) before the departure from Ikot Ekpene to Uyo and inside the bus, which were not challenged nor contradicted.

It is instructive to observe that throughout the trial within trial the state either failed or neglected to have any of the operatives who effected the arrest of the first accused testify as one of its witnesses.

Again, the Court noted that the only version of event which transpired before and after DW1 was taken before the state Director of SSS is that of DW1, concluding that the state failed to cross-examine DW1 in respect of his narration of the event, that is the meeting with the Director. “The prosecution is divided as to whether the two pages of the statement are in the same ink. There is no evidence from the prosecution particularly PW1 (Uche Nwokolo) who said he supervised the taking of the statement that as the statement was being written by DW1 he encountered problem with the writing material he was using.

That evidence should have come from him but he did not offer any such explanation”, the Court pointed out on the issue of different shades of ink on the two pages of the alleged confessional. On the mutilated date on the confessional statement form signed by PW 3 (DSP Moses Eno), the Court had the following to say, “I have looked at the said confessional statement form. Directly after PW3 signature is his rank DSP next to it is the mutilated date. It shows a superimposition of 5 on 3 with 2 in front of 5 to achieve 25.

Thereafter you find a doctoring of 0 to 1 with another 1 in front obviously to change 11 to 10, all to present to this Court 25/10/2010 as against 3/11/2010. I have said that every document speaks for itself. What the confessional statement form has spoken with respect to the date written by PW3 is that it is mutilated, changed from 3/11/2010 to 25/10/2010”. And for the second time PW3 was said not to be a truthful witness. “Using this to assess the evidence of PW3 is without wasting words, is to say that PW3 is not a witness of truth. I cannot believe him”, the Court noted.

On the urge by lead defense counsel, Samuel Ikpo Esq. that the Court should expunge the evidence of Uche Nwokolo from the record of proceedings in the trial within trial, Justice Ukana ruled that “PW1 was listed as a witness in the main trial to that extent he could be accommodated in the trial within a trial. However given his reaction to the statement filed along with the notice of additional evidence on 12/7/2013 where PW1 distanced himself from the statement credited to him PW1 cannot be the person through whom any document considered fit can be admitted as exhibit in the main trial”. In the end the Court held that, “Arising from the totality of the foregoing I hold that the statement of the 1st accused person who is DW1 in this trial which statement is dated 25/10/2010 was not voluntary. It was a product of inducement. If the statement of 25/10/2010 is not voluntary, the confessional statement form cannot validate it and cloth it with a toga of voluntariness given its own problem.

Consequently the statement credited to the 1st accused and dated 25/10/2010 and the confessional statement form shall both be marked rejected”. The ruling has not only laid to rest the controversy which surrounded the statement but has additionally limited the options of the state to four. The state may proceed to appeal in what may certainly amount to an exercise in delay and waste of time or it may continue into the main trial without any exhibit to found a conviction.

The state may also wish, as a face saving measure, to enter a nully prosecui through the Attorney General, to discontinue the case or commence the trial afresh in another Court, but this option may be impossible to explain to Court why there should be no end to litigation. Speaking shortly after the ruling one Daniel Uko from Abak among the many consistent faces that had followed this trial who spoke with Weekly Insight praised the boldness and forthrightness of the Judge whom he described as “very intelligent and acting without fear or favour”. Uko also praised the defense team particularly Samuel Ikpo Esq. and wondered why the government should not read “the handwriting on the wall and save itself from the embarrassment of losing after this many years in court”, to withdraw. The state was represented by Mary Okobo (Mrs) while Samuel Ikpo Esq led a team of seven layers for the defense.

Udom Emmanuel will be a Puppet Master.

28 Jun

By Clayton Bane Udoh

” Udom Emmanuel is a banker; he knows how to count money he doesn’t know how to connect with the people…”

Udom Emmanuel, Akwa Ibom State New SSG

It is said that Triopas, king of the Thessalians, was so determined to complete and roof his own house that he tore down the temple of the Gods, built by the men of old. Hence he was punished with a far more damning fate of insatiable hunger, than the people devoid of a temple.

Tearing down the social fabric of the society by creating man made artificial scarcity is anathema. In the name of building a greed laden future for oneself as a member of a highly corrupt administration in Uyo. Only to release crumbs for the masses in the election cycle that they may scramble and do the bidding of the corrupt and morally inert politicians.In the process tearing down the establish wellbeing of mankind as mandated by God.

We are beginning to see that there is a problem of ignoring the people and hoping that political and financial elitism will save the day. This is especially relevant in the case of Akwa Ibom State where the political and financial elite think that the masses are stupid and deserve no better, than to kneel and worship them all day long. However the people still matter and are more dangerous than any hit squad on earth. Yes they will dump you for a plate of rice.

Eh…, I mean literally. The danger of being the only cock to crow and making sure that only your family and wives and cronies see the money and the rest float in poverty is that rice will defeat you in the elections.

I mean oily Jollof rice without meat in it, being giving to the hungry masses. Go and ask about what happened in Ekiti State!

 

For how long does the present political class in Akwa Ibom State think that they can impoverish the society? Then cover your system with spin and propaganda?  Yeah there are fine roads but how many people will ever drive on them? The Banquet Hall will be accessible for what kind of people? How many people will ever enjoy Le Meridian or the new Hilton that is to be built? Myriads of people will never board a plane in the Airport in Uyo! How many people will ever have the cash for treatment in the Millennium Hospital?  How many people will be able to afford watching an International match in the stadium at Uyo? Then like true Neanderthals you turn on the people groaning about their lot in life. Living a life of disregard for those who supported the present administration with all their resources and insulting all and sundry who refuse to be intimidated or forced to view things myopically as most backward politicians do. Yeah because of the artificial scarcity you guys have created, There will be a tip in the balance and the election will not go the way your evil mechanizations are targeted.

 

For primitive individuals that become elite corrupt politicians, the perpetuation of poverty is good business because this determines and separates the commoner from the elite “Akamba Owo”.

You guys create artificial scarcity that financially punishes the masses, then you finally release funds during the election time for the hungry youths and masses and mark my words that system is tired and outdated. This time around most of the political elites will spend a fortune and fail.

 

The people are tired of Bigmanism and greedy politicians that are invested in milking the state like cows for all eternity.The next scene of political reanimation will be Akwa Ibom State with the victory of the Hon Albert Bassey at the polls. I predict this because of two reasons namely;

 

Firstly, Godswill Akpabio has become blinded by hubris. I talked about this when he ignored the USA to go to funny places seeking for investment, when the USA is the Headquarters of global investment. I talked about this when he blew smoke about his fabled 31 industries with the impoverished masses. I also talked about this extensively when he decided to employ AIDN as the political Slave Masters for Diaspora and their historic trip to Slovenia for investment in Nigeria. I talked about this when he made the House of Assembly his rubber stamp group and later got his odious pension law passed. I have talked about a lot of things for those who like to keep record and then finally he wants to create a dynasty. Victor Attah who tried it, should tell Akpabio over a glass of beer what happened to him when he tried it!

 

Secondly, the person being given the candidature is as stiff as it gets. I have not seen any attempt by this individual to flow with the people. No contact with the people and stiff like ice! I do not even remember seeing a picture of him smiling with people not related to government etc. I have not seen any of his interviews or forays into town hall meetings etc. It seems this individual in question as a SSG is too busy to interact with the electorate.

Thirdly, we curse to the pit of hell the attempt to create a dynasty for the greediest set of administrators we have seen in recent times. We reject Udom Emmanuel’s administration alias “Gov Akpabio extension”. Already the very fact that Udom Emmanuel is so desperate to become Governor that he is ready to become Akpabio’s stooge and lapdog is regrettable. No puppetmasters!!!!

Simple Question; how can you solve the problem of the masses, when you cannot interact with them? Is he going to work to win the hearts of the people or is he going to walk like a king handpicked for Hilltop Mansion? I repeat Udom Emmanuel is as cold as ice, stiff as ice. Udom Emmanuel is a banker; he knows how to count money he doesn’t know how to connect with the people. Akwa Ibom’s version of Mitt Romney.  Enough of the big man-that-puts-everybody-in-poverty movie. We need elections that are Free and Fair that makes candidates connect with the masses.

 

We have heard of the touch that Hon Albert Bassey has with the masses even on this side of the Atlantic. A touch that is strong enough for us to hear the report of his good deeds over here. Too many to numerate. It is of no surprise to us because he has been like this for years now. I am proud to say that Albert Bassey was my classmate in Uniuyo and a damn good footballer too! One thing I will never forget about him was that he always had a heart for the guys and he loved helping people and he still does that today. If you needed help from Hon Albert Bassey he would not turn you down and in really heart wrenching conditions he would surrender the last thing he had to you.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we need a Governor that understands the importance of human capital and is ready and dedicated to lifting people up and bringing them to a place of empowerment that will cascade to others. We do not need a Financial Mogul like Udom Emmanuel that has spent most of his life handling transactions for the rich and the mighty.  He is a financial elite and a nightmare in the making.

 

Hon Albert Bassey knows the hunger we felt in the boys dorm of Uniuyo because he was one of us. He knows what it means to have your school fees paid just at the nick of time because of financial struggles. He knows what it meant to finish playing soccer in the field and then struggle to find water to take a bath after that. He knows what it means for us to be straining our eyesight with lanterns when there was no light for reading in the night at Uniuyo. He knows as a Youth Corper what it means to manage with sums of money that is barely enough to survive on. He can connect with the plight of the people. Hon Albert Bassey is down to earth and his experience has been the experience of so many young men in the society today. He knows what it means to agonize for the lack of a job with a living wage. This guy can connect with the plight of the people.

 

Udom Emmanuel was a Manager at PriceWaterhouseCooper. The kind of place in which only the rich invest. Even here in the USA only the top 1% of the population invest in such places that rival other notables like Charles Schwab,Edward Jones,Goldman Sachs etc. He has been a director in Zenith Bank and I wonder how many people of Akwa Ibom extract have been able to get great incentives from this bank through Udom Emmanuel. I repeat he is as cold as ice and can easily be defeated by Jollof rice like in Ekiti State.

 

One of the characteristics of Democracy is that it was designed to bring in a breath of fresh air to the citizenry once tenure of a particular administration is over. Every good thing has an ending. Then we now see the desperation of the greedy megalomaniac politicians of this administration that want a dynasty for the sake of their Stomach Infrastructure politics. They forget the masses are part of the system. So we in Diaspora do not care if Team Akpabio takes it personal or wants to kill somebody. We will take the lead and demand for an open election process with lots of candidates. Udom Emmanuel,Umanah Okon Umanah, Hon Albert Bassey etc. A lot of people feel the way we do including the Presidency that Governor Godswill Akpabio takes money to.

 

Since we are not interested in collecting money from each candidate we meet, we shall take sides early and leave the monkeys to do that . My ideal candidate is Hon Albert Bassey. The rest are so disconnected from the masses that they can be defeated by Jollof rice and I mean it literally.

 

Clayton Udoh, a socio-political analyst based in Mesa, Arizona

Obong Attah Slams Akpabio …Says Pension Law is Fraudulent.

31 May

 Ex-Gov. Attah attacks Akpabio over scandalous pension law: Says “Publish what you pay me”

Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Victor Attah, has challenged the incumbent, Governor Godswill Akpabio, to publish how much he has paid him (Mr. Attah) and past leaders of the state as pension.

Ex-Governor Attah

This followed claims by Mr. Akpabio that the government had been spending huge resources in taking care of former governors as well as deputy governors and their spouses.

Mr. Attah, who spoke in a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Friday, also berated journalists, especially those who recently interviewed the Akwa Ibom state governor, for not asking Mr. Akpabio pertinent questions about his management of the state resources.

He said, “If Godswill Akpabio says he conceived the new law to put a ceiling to the expenses made on previous leaders of the state, somebody should have had the guts to ask him how much he has been paying to the past leaders.

“You journalists are afraid of Godswill Akpabio and that is why you have always shied away from asking some pertinent questions.”

Governor Akpabio, who appeared on a breakfast show on Channels Television earlier in the day had described as laughable, the criticisms that have trailed the new law that would enable him earn over N200 million as pension annually.

Mr. Akpabio said, “It’s a laughable situation that people generate controversy over the pension law. The law has been in existence in Akwa Ibom State. I am the one implementing it.

“I know what I am talking about and because I wear the shoe, I know where it pinches. All the former elected governors and their deputies have been enjoying the pension. The pension was first established in 2000 and was further amended with certain provisions added in 2006.”
While explaining the general principles of the new law, he said, “It’s really not a retroactive law, neither is it a new law. It is an existing law that went through amendment.

He noted that the old law was open-ended in terms of benefits payable to past governors, deputies and their spouses.

He said, “We had a situation where bills from former deputies and their spouses worth N29 million were brought from several hospitals they claimed they went for treatment abroad.

“Because the bill did not specify whether the hospital should be in Nigeria or not, most of what I have seen in the past seven years has been bills from hospitals abroad.”

In the course of implementing the existing law, Mr. Akpabio said some former governors and their deputies have brought bills ranging from $50,000, $70,000, and sometimes $112,000.

He argued that it was against decorum to question the medical bills of past leaders on grounds that there are high, and mentioned an instance where a former leader requested for funds to hire an airline to take his spouse for treatment abroad.

But Mr. Attah, who sounded angry said, “Why don’t you people ask him how much the state has paid to its past leaders? Why don’t you people ask him how much has been paying to Obong Attah and others?
“I don’t like it when journalists always come to ask me about what is wrong in Akwa Ibom State instead of asking Godswill Akpabio.

“He is the one who said he has been paying so much to past governors and wanted to put ceiling on what is paid out to check wastage of public funds. Those who interviewed him should have asked him to mention just how much he has paid so far.

“They didn’t ask him such questions; they didn’t ask him to clarify on the projects he said he has been carrying out in the state.
“I don’t have anything to tell you since you do not have the guts to ask Governor Akpabio to present proofs of what he has been paying to past leaders of the state.

“You journalists should go and look at the law critically and ask him whether Obong Attah has been enjoying any of the benefits provided for in the law.

“You should also ask him whether he built a retirement home for me either in Uyo or Abuja. Ask him to tell you how much he has been paying to Obong Attah as retirement package after I left office.

“These are questions Akpabio should answer and should provide verifiable records to Akwa Ibom people and Nigerians. Journalists should stop asking me questions they should ordinarily ask Governor Godswill Akpabio. I want to enjoy my retirement in peace.”

Mr. Attah said journalists should stop using him as a shield against their inability to confront Governor Akpabio to tell them the truth about what is happening in Akwa Ibom State.

Culled from Premiumtimes

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