Tag Archives: Godswill Akpabio

NOW THAT SCAM-ARTIST ATA IKIDDEH HAS JOINED NDDC MEDIA TEAM…

5 Jul

 

Ata Ikiddeh 2

“Why are you dissipating too much energy on Ata Ikiddeh, he has never been a serious person. He was my classmate at the defunct School of Arts and Science, Uyo. While in at UNICAL too, he was course mate of former Governor Godswill Akpabio. He used to dance breakdance at UNICAL. It was on this strength that he won an award then called Mr. UNICAL.”

That was a message, crispy and clear from a concerned Akwa Ibom son who felt Ata Ikiddeh’s noise was not worth the attention. But then anyone who ignores Ata, does so at his own peril. This is moreso when so many amiable indigenes of the state, like former screen delight,Regina AskiaWilliams who reside outside the country, are yielding towards the emotions raised by his ilk. I remember the build up to the 2011 elections, the same desperation and blackmail were employed by the same guy and the next thing was his strong persistent clamour to take over the media team of the then Governor, His Excellency Godswill Akpabio. It got to a point that Mr Ikiddeh would sent message after another to the Governor on how the Commissioner for Information Aniekan Umanah failed to properly inform the people, and how he waded in to redeem the image of the governor on the social and global media. His pestering was uncontrollable and anyone could just imagine the volume of pressure he mounted on the former Governor, who characteristically refused to succumb to blackmail. Most of the text messages undermining the Aniekan Umanah-led information team were usually forwarded to the subject of the blackmail.Ata Ikiddeh scam artist

For close to two years, between 2009 to 2011, Mr. Ikiddeh was usually seen with a small camcorder, recording projects and posting them on his social media platforms. Perhaps it is instructive to note that in 2009, Ata first came to Uyo with a group of about six diasporans on a fact finding tour, and despite being shown round the entire projects locations in one week, he saw it as a Vista for endless all expense paid trips. Most times even when he got the clips from the information team, he won’t hesitate to forward a message to the former Governor as his personal efforts at salvaging the battered image of the governor. Almost a month would not pass without Ikiddeh arriving the state with his small camera, and the usual text messages to get support. That is the story of a tall bespectacled dude at the tarmac of the newly commissioned airport, with his brown Elizabethan checkered blazers. Although unsolicited, the State government made it a point of duty to always find him handouts. Of course I was the Special Assistant to the Commissioner and had a fair knowledge of most of Ata’s activities. On one occasion, he wrote a passionate letter about his rent expiring in his London apartment, and his children being unable to attend school.

It is obviously not a surprise that he found his way to the doorstep of very humble and listening Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rd.Hon. Barr. Onofiok Luke. It takes a broad mind to imagine the pestering and harassment he may have meted on the peaceable number one state lawmaker. This aspect of Ata dates back to 2010 during the ‘Child Witch Saga’ that compelled the state government to intervene and rescue the children from the CRARN home in Eket. It was a very emotional moment, seeing the terrible condition of young children suffering from the ignorance of their parents. My involvement in the evacuation enabled Ata to have access to the process. He said he would like to join and we brought him along. When I received a call from the then Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare Mrs. Eunice Thomas, the following morning, I was shocked to hear that the same Ata in his usual nature had forwarded a text to the Governor on how he narrowly escaped dead while trying to rescue the children from their ‘captors’. He had painted a picture of a war scenario where he was the Rambo that helped wade of the savages that came out with machetes. The commissioner was upset with me, she said it was unfair for the Ata Ikiddeh to go a-lying to the governor. In the true sense of it, there was never a resistance from the center when the government team arrived and it took three trips to evacuate the inmates to the Divine Children’s home, built initially as the security village in Uyo.

Like I had said somewhere else previously, Ata is a lawyer by training, and his mates in the Nigeria Law School include the likes of Senator Godswill Akpabio, Senator Liyel Imoke, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Anyim, Senator Grace Bent, former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Chibudum Nwuche, among other notable Nigerians. He had no history of involvement in media services in any known media establishment or department, neither could he prove he had consulted for any reputable agency or government. These were obviously addendums to his penchant for blackmail, which probably accounted for his appointment as one of the numerous Special Assistants on Projects Monitoring, to the then governor in 2011, as against his crave for the soul of the information machinery. If ever someone exists who would have entrusted Ata Ikiddeh with the job of managing his image, it ought to have been His Excellency Godswill Akpabio. But he got a job of project inspection for all his troubles. It was like, let us find Ata something to do, and save ourselves the troubles of his harassments.

I remember the day I called Ata when he started rolling these spiteful messages on the social media against the Governor, I was in my office and when he received my call, I explained to him that it was not fair for him, a beneficiary of the system to attempt pulling the ladder down. He started explaining to me that he has done his best to get the Commissioner to involve him and that he even got recommendation from the Speaker of the State House of Assembly. After submitting his proposal, the commissioner has failed to send for him, and has not also been picking his calls. It was an absurd thing to hear, that someone could tell me he has resorted to media attacks on the governor because his proposal didn’t meet favourable consideration.

Most people have gone on the social media space, urging the state government to respond to the calculated jaundiced smear campaigns by Ata Ikiddeh and brothers. Like I said, genuine and reasonable people usually ask questions before to conclusions except where there is a malicious intent, like in this case.
Everyone who cares to know, has seen through the various communication media that the Governor of Akwa Ibom state His Excellency Mr Udom Emmanuel has clearly made a bold expression on the health sector of the state. Governor Emmanuel clearly stated that the medical equipment being brought into Akwa Ibom are bought first hand from the manufacturers in the United States of America, and are being shipped in 100 containers to Nigeria. The administration, he echoed resisted the temptation of purchasing equipment from several third world countries to be guaranteed of their quality and durability. So far more than 25 of those containers have been received and deployed for use. The hospitals in Etinan and Ikono have been well equipped and furnished and were commissioned recently by the Vice President Yemi Osibanjo and the Governor respectively. These much information are in the public domain, produced and circulated by Commissioner Charles Udoh. Ata has access to these. Because his interest is in his personal gains than these information, he overlooks them and goes for the jugular of the Commissioner for refusing him his outrageous media consultancy.

Other hospitals like Oron, Okobo, Eket, Oruk Anam, Uruan among others are undergoing renovations and re-equipping. If Ata and his cohorts were sincere, instead of writing and publishing on rag tag sheets, they would review government projects and come down to inspect and access before going to attack the commissioner for information and the media team. I remember the day I personally called him to advise against towing the path of self-destruction, he took it in bad faith, went on the media alleging blackmail.
In summary, it is well to note that Ata disturbed the Speaker of the House of Assembly and out of compassion, the speaker opted to introduce Ata to Charles Udoh. Note, Barr Luke possibly paid his transport fares and lodged him in a hotel, and for Ata, this means that his proposal ought to be accepted at all cost. If Ata Ikiddeh wanted information on the achievements of government, he got it, more than enough. Others get it when they seek. Currently, the state government runs a whole lot of media programmes on the achievements of the governor. Discover Akwa Ibom, Update Akwa Ibom and Akwa Ibom Rising are documentaries that run both on local electronic media and cable TV. There is a feedback mechanism for citizens to access the government spokesman on SMS,whatsapp messages, social media platforms and even the state website. Today, we have a man who benefitted consistently from government for over six years, coming out with a threatening proposal including a clause for hotel bills, flight tickets and other expenses. Didn’t he owned a house in Uyo while working for the state government a year earlier? That is story for another day.

By his own admission, Mr Ata Ikiddeh has joined the media team of Mr. Nsima Ekere, the Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, who is neck deep in the 2019 governorship race against the incumbent governor. He said Charles Udoh refused to give him attention, Mr Ekere picked his call and accepted his offer. Ata has repeatedly expressed his prowess as a media expert, without whom nothing can work in a media team. Methinks he would have set out for work immediately to gain acceptance from the already existent team members of the Nsima Ekere crew who may see him as a gold digger. Don’t get me wrong, no one is against his being accommodated in Mr Nsima Ekere’s media team, but he should promote Ekere and NDDC and stop knocking Governor Emmanuel and his media team. He is expected to bring that media ingenuity and show the world those achievements of NDDC in Akwa Ibom that every other media hireling has unfortunately failed to showcase in the past three years. He should exhibit his media skills at his new duty post and stop crying over the job he couldn’t get at the Hilltop mansion.

(c) Essien Ndueso

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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%;” />

Senator Godswill Akpabio’s Local Government under siege as ‘Akwa Marine cult group’ attacks many

10 May

I really sympathized with pensioners - Akwa Ibom Former Governor, Senator Akpabio - thekillerpunch news

Dozens of residents have fled a community in Akwa Ibom after repeated attacks by a suspected cult group, locals and security officials say.

Residents of Midim Atan village in Essien Udim local government area of the state said at least two people have so far been killed and many more injured in attacks by a group known as Akwa Marine.

“Akwa Marine led by Emmanuel Ben has been disturbing our community for many years. The problem is not just the cultists but the people sponsoring them and that is why it has been difficult to clamp them down,” said a local chief, Efene Jeremiah.

The unrest has lasted years, and police have made limited success against the group despite an investigation by a team set up by the former Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, to probe its activities.

The divisional police officer for Essien Udim, Alhassan Guda, said he was new at the post and could not comment on the activities of the gang.

But the spokesperson for the police’s Criminal Investigation Department, Chike Nwabuwa, told this newspaper that an investigation team had long been set up by Mr. Arase, to monitor and investigate the activities of the gang following several complaints. He declined to disclose the findings of the panel.

The Investigating Police Officer in charge of the case, Abdul Mohammed, did not also disclose the findings when contacted by PREMIUM TIMES.

Many residents say the group has been emboldened by police inaction.

The Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, which also received multiple petitions on the matter, also said police had not responded to its request for details of the attacks.

The civil rights department of the ministry told PREMIUM TIMES that the ministry had written to the Police IG’s office regarding the case, but had received no response for months.

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Security officials and locals, many of whom had fled the community, blame the lack of aggressive police response on links between the group and powerful politicians from the area.

They say the group was set up ahead of the 2011 elections to go after perceived opponents of top politicians from the area, including former Governor Godswill Akpabio, whom they accuse of providing support for the group.

Mr. Akpabio denies the allegation. His spokesperson, Anietie Ekong, told PREMIUM TIMES the former governor, who is now the Senate minority leader, would not sponsor a criminal gang.

“It is pure political mischief to link the distinguished Senator to a criminal gang,” Mr. Ekong said.

He said several petitions sent by community members to different law enforcement agencies, linking Mr. Akpabio to the group, were “politically motivated”.

Senator Akpabio Local Government under siege as ‘Akwa Marine cult group’ attacks many - THEKILLERPUNCH NEWS
Members of Midim Atan community in Akwa Ibom, who recently travelled to Abuja to protest against incessant attacks by a group called Akwa Marine. [Photo Credit: Ebuka Onyeji]

“Any criminal who has been apprehended by the security agencies should be made to face the consequences of his action,” Mr. Ekong said, referring to the recent arrest of Mr. Ben.

Attacks and killings

Ahead of the elections in 2011 and 2015, attacks by the group largely targeted those perceived to support political parties other than the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the state’s governing party, several security officials and witnesses told PREMIUM TIMES.

Victor Udom, a community member, told this newspaper how he and another resident of the community, Samuel Ikpa, fled the community after being attacked in 2015 on suspicion they supported the main opposition, All Progressives Congress, APC.

“On that fateful morning, we were suddenly surrounded by members of the gang led by Emmanuel Ben. Before we could say jack, kicks, hits and blows rained on us,” Mr. Udom, a former ExxonMobil staff said. “If not for some community members who saw what was happening and alerted the police on surveillance team on ground for the election, we would have been dead.”

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In recent months, the attacks have been more random, with gang members going after non-members suspected of supporting efforts to clamp down on the group.

Mr. Udom’s cousin, Udo Udom, was killed and set alight alongside another community member, Ekpenyong Uwa, in September 2016, by the group, this paper confirmed. The group accused them of theft, an allegation their families strongly denies.

After evading capture for years, Mr. Ben was finally arrested in February by the police, with the support of the State Security Service, SSS, and locals.

Mr. Ben was transferred to Abuja where he is currently being held at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, office on allegations of terrorism and murder.

But some community members say the police, under pressure from politicians, are making efforts to send him back to Akwa Ibom on claims his offences are not federal crimes. Police did not respond to that claim.

Seeking justice

In recent weeks, attacks have escalated in the small community largely in response to Mr. Ben’s arrest.

A fortnight ago, members of the gang attacked the local market, called Urua Nsong Eto, and vandalised shops, sending traders scampering for safety. They also torched homes of those suspected to be in support of Mr. Ben’s arrest.

Senator Akpabio Local Government under siege as ‘Akwa Marine cult group’ attacks many - THEKILLERPUNCH NEWS
Members of Midim Atan community in Akwa Ibom, who recently travelled to Abuja to protest against incessant attacks by a group called Akwa Marine. [Photo Credit: Ebuka Onyeji]

In a bid to get government’s attention on the activities of the gang, fleeing community members mobilised and travelled to Abuja for a protest march on April 27, but were denied permission by the commissioner of police, FCT command, Musa Kimo.Mr. Udom said police advised them to take the protest to Akwa Ibom. The community leaders later marched to Louis Edet House, the Force Headquarters in Abuja, where they narrated their personal experiences at the hands of the group’s leader, Mr. Ben.

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Amongst several crimes, Mr. Ben is accused of ordering the killing of the two men murdered in Midim Atan: Udo Udom and Ekpenyong Uwa.

Mr. Udom’s mother, Nse John, was one of the over a dozen community members who managed to travel to Abuja in April to seek justice.

She told PREMIUM TIMES her son was killed by the gang led by Mr. Ben on September 28, 2016.

“They came and took my child from the house at 7 pm. When they left with my child, I was not feeling well, I put on my clothes and walked gently. Before I could get there, they had killed him and cut him into pieces,” Mrs. John narrated amidst tears.

The community chief, Mr. Jeremiah, who corroborated the story, told PREMIUM TIMES the attacks have continued because of the support the group receives from powerful individuals.

“We have gone to many security agencies, when we call them, they will say the situation is a very bad one but nothing will be done,” he said.

 

By Ebuka Onyeji, PREMIUM TIMES

Akwa Ibom: Essien Udim People Demand Prosecution Of Cult Group Sponsored By Godswill Akpabio

8 Apr

The people of Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State are in the grip of panic arising from the activities of a vicious cult gang, Akwa Marines, said to be sponsored by Mr. Godswill Akpabio, Senate Minority Leader and former governor of the state. The group, led by one Emmanuel Ben, SaharaReporters reliably gathered, has been spreading terror around the local council for over a decade. Godswill Akpabio killer, Emmanuel Ben 2Godswill Akpabio killer, Emmanuel Ben

People in the council area are therefore calling for the prosecution of Ben and his gang as well as the restoration of peace in the area. Already, gang members are said to have started attacking those they suspect of providing information on their activities to the Police.

Emmanuel BenLocal sources said the group enjoys the support of other powerful and influential politicians, the reason it has enjoyed a free reign in Essien Udim, Mr. Akpabio’s local council. Ben is also said to hail from there.

Akwa Marines specialize in killing, maiming and intimidating of political opponents, robbery as well as sundry crimes

In 2014, Ben was said to have imposed a levy, dressed up as “security votes”, on traders during the communal harvest known as Oto-Okom. The levy, which was paid, was only recently challenged by a few brave members of the village. In February 2016, SaharaReporters was told, the gang carried out a robbery in the village market known as Urua Nsong Eto.

The cult group was also said to have kidnapped one Celestine Mel Ikpa (then a staff of Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation). On release from captivity, Ikpa reported to the Police, which arrested and charged the abductors to court except the gang leader.

Also on 28 September 2016, the gang murdered two young men, Udo Friday Udom and Udo Ekpenyong Uwa, ostensibly for stealing a goat.

Sources, however, disclosed that they were murdered for their refusal of offer of initiation into Akwa Marines. Udom’s mother, Madam Nse John Udom, was said to have told the Police that she saw her Akwa Marines members inflicting machete cuts on her 16-year old son and begged Ben to spare his life. The Akwa Marines leader, the traumatized woman was said to have told the Police, also ordered the victims’ bodies burnt. She subsequently fled the community.

A few days later, Ben, said sources, convened a meeting in the village square, where he took responsibility for the murder, saying there was a need to rid of community of goat thieves.

He was also said to have bragged that reporting him to security agencies would have grave consequences, adding that he has them all in his pocket all the security agents have been settled.

Apart from Ben, those who participated in the twin murders were Lucky Effiong Akpan (aka Pope), Marcus Ikut (aka Mbata), the group’s executioner-in-chief, and Philip Udo Udo Ben. Other members stood cult group stood by to watch as though it was a spectator sport.Godswill Akpabio killer, Emmanuel Ben

Godswill Akpabio killer, Emmanuel Ben

The murdered Friday Udom was a cousin to one Victor Udom who, along with Samuel Ikpa, a staff of Exxon Mobil, narrowly escaped assassination during a visit to their community in Midim. The assassination plot was hatched by Ben, Uduak Etim Udom and one Chrisanthus George Udoh.

The near-victims were rescued by a team of policemen on special surveillance duties. The team, led by one Mr. Effiong, an inspector, was said to have been alerted by indigenes. The matter was reported at the Divisional Police Station in Afaha Ikot Ebak, Essien Udim Local Government Area. However, the Police officers were reprimanded, ordered disarmed and subsequently detained by the Divisional Police Officer on the say-so of Mr. Nse Ntuen, the then Chairman of Essien Udim Local Government Area and an Akpabio partisan.  Mr. Ntuen, disclosed sources, claimed to have relayed the instruction of Mr. Akpabio, with whom he was in constant communication. Mr. Akpabio is from Essien Udim.

Last month, the gang broke into homes in the community, taking belongings from owners and destroying properties, an event that provoked a flurry of petitions to the Essien Udim Divisional Police Command, Area Command and the state Police Headquarters. But the Police have not been of much help. Two weeks ago, a victim said a policeman attached to the Essien Udim Police Command warned him against making distress calls whenever the gang decides to attack. The policeman was said to called key members of the gang on his phone in the presence of the victims.

Ben, the gang leader, was recently arrested by officers from the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Squad, a development that was said to have brought out political heavyweights and traditional rulers in the state to demand his unconditional release. He was, however, moved to Abuja. There are indications that plans are being finalized to have him moved back to Uyo, the state capital, where the Attorney-General of the state will arrange for him to be freed.

Ben’s connection to powerful people, said local sources told SaharaReporters, was proved on 8 March at the High Court of Akwa Ibom State, where he was sprung from could also be gleaned from charges of cultism, murder, armed robbery and kidnapping among other atrocities. Delivering judgment on the matter (Suit No. HT/FHR/10/2017) Justice NFN Ntong of the Ikot Ekpene Division of the state High Court ordered Ben’s release. Last year, Justice Ntong made the controversial ruling restraining the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and Police from investigating any past or present Akwa Ibom State government official.

Akwa Ibom: Essien Udim People Demand Prosecution Of Cult Group Sponsored By Godswill Akpabio

8 Apr

The people of Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State are in the grip of panic arising from the activities of a vicious cult gang, Akwa Marines, said to be sponsored by Mr. Godswill Akpabio, Senate Minority Leader and former governor of the state. The group, led by one Emmanuel Ben, SaharaReporters reliably gathered, has been spreading terror around the local council for over a decade. Godswill Akpabio killer, Emmanuel Ben 2Godswill Akpabio killer, Emmanuel Ben

People in the council area are therefore calling for the prosecution of Ben and his gang as well as the restoration of peace in the area. Already, gang members are said to have started attacking those they suspect of providing information on their activities to the Police.

Emmanuel BenLocal sources said the group enjoys the support of other powerful and influential politicians, the reason it has enjoyed a free reign in Essien Udim, Mr. Akpabio’s local council. Ben is also said to hail from there.

Akwa Marines specialize in killing, maiming and intimidating of political opponents, robbery as well as sundry crimes

In 2014, Ben was said to have imposed a levy, dressed up as “security votes”, on traders during the communal harvest known as Oto-Okom. The levy, which was paid, was only recently challenged by a few brave members of the village. In February 2016, SaharaReporters was told, the gang carried out a robbery in the village market known as Urua Nsong Eto.

The cult group was also said to have kidnapped one Celestine Mel Ikpa (then a staff of Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation). On release from captivity, Ikpa reported to the Police, which arrested and charged the abductors to court except the gang leader.

Also on 28 September 2016, the gang murdered two young men, Udo Friday Udom and Udo Ekpenyong Uwa, ostensibly for stealing a goat.

Sources, however, disclosed that they were murdered for their refusal of offer of initiation into Akwa Marines. Udom’s mother, Madam Nse John Udom, was said to have told the Police that she saw her Akwa Marines members inflicting machete cuts on her 16-year old son and begged Ben to spare his life. The Akwa Marines leader, the traumatized woman was said to have told the Police, also ordered the victims’ bodies burnt. She subsequently fled the community.

A few days later, Ben, said sources, convened a meeting in the village square, where he took responsibility for the murder, saying there was a need to rid of community of goat thieves.

He was also said to have bragged that reporting him to security agencies would have grave consequences, adding that he has them all in his pocket all the security agents have been settled.

Apart from Ben, those who participated in the twin murders were Lucky Effiong Akpan (aka Pope), Marcus Ikut (aka Mbata), the group’s executioner-in-chief, and Philip Udo Udo Ben. Other members stood cult group stood by to watch as though it was a spectator sport.Godswill Akpabio killer, Emmanuel Ben

Godswill Akpabio killer, Emmanuel Ben

The murdered Friday Udom was a cousin to one Victor Udom who, along with Samuel Ikpa, a staff of Exxon Mobil, narrowly escaped assassination during a visit to their community in Midim. The assassination plot was hatched by Ben, Uduak Etim Udom and one Chrisanthus George Udoh.

The near-victims were rescued by a team of policemen on special surveillance duties. The team, led by one Mr. Effiong, an inspector, was said to have been alerted by indigenes. The matter was reported at the Divisional Police Station in Afaha Ikot Ebak, Essien Udim Local Government Area. However, the Police officers were reprimanded, ordered disarmed and subsequently detained by the Divisional Police Officer on the say-so of Mr. Nse Ntuen, the then Chairman of Essien Udim Local Government Area and an Akpabio partisan.  Mr. Ntuen, disclosed sources, claimed to have relayed the instruction of Mr. Akpabio, with whom he was in constant communication. Mr. Akpabio is from Essien Udim.

Last month, the gang broke into homes in the community, taking belongings from owners and destroying properties, an event that provoked a flurry of petitions to the Essien Udim Divisional Police Command, Area Command and the state Police Headquarters. But the Police have not been of much help. Two weeks ago, a victim said a policeman attached to the Essien Udim Police Command warned him against making distress calls whenever the gang decides to attack. The policeman was said to called key members of the gang on his phone in the presence of the victims.

Ben, the gang leader, was recently arrested by officers from the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Squad, a development that was said to have brought out political heavyweights and traditional rulers in the state to demand his unconditional release. He was, however, moved to Abuja. There are indications that plans are being finalized to have him moved back to Uyo, the state capital, where the Attorney-General of the state will arrange for him to be freed.

Ben’s connection to powerful people, said local sources told SaharaReporters, was proved on 8 March at the High Court of Akwa Ibom State, where he was sprung from could also be gleaned from charges of cultism, murder, armed robbery and kidnapping among other atrocities. Delivering judgment on the matter (Suit No. HT/FHR/10/2017) Justice NFN Ntong of the Ikot Ekpene Division of the state High Court ordered Ben’s release. Last year, Justice Ntong made the controversial ruling restraining the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and Police from investigating any past or present Akwa Ibom State government official.

 

There is no man more corrupt in Nigeria like Godswill Akpabio – Robinson Uwak To Buhari

13 Sep

 

Is there a man more corrupt in our Nation than Godswill Akpabio? No not one!

The Anti- Corruption war of President Muhammadu Buhari must start from Godswill Akpabio. We have waited long enough… One year and four months!

ita-awak-and-godswill-akbpabio

Picture:  Ita Awak and Godswill Akbpabio

Not a case of stealing deserves to be tried in our nation if the gargantuan, monumental and cold-hearted stealing of Akwa Ibom state resources (meant for the good of the ordinary citizens of Akwa Ibom State and Nigerians in general) by Godswill Akpabio and his family is not tried and concluded.

What happened to the several cases of killings,kidnapping and bloodshed of the very people who trusted the Akpabios with governance. The time to ask questions is now!

Get ready to sign up to the ” COALITION FOR THE ARREST AND PROSECUTION OF GODSWILL AKPABIO ” launching Friday the 23rd of September, 2016.

That Akwa Ibom may be free indeed….ita-awak-comment-on-akpabio-about-corruptionIta Awak Facebook comment calling on the EFCC to arrest Akpabio for corruption.

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

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