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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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Paramount Ruler of Eket, Chief Oduonyi, Passes On.

1 May

The Paramount Ruler of Eket, and Clan Head of Ekid Afaha, His Royal Majesty, Edidem Nathaniel J. Oduonyi is dead. A family source who preferred anonymity said yesterday.

Chief Nathaniel Oduonyi, The Late Paramount Ruler of Eket

Edidem Oduonyi, the source said, died early April in an undisclosed hospital in Eket after he suffered a major stroke and brain aneurysm.
“I am categorically confirming to you that His Royal Majesty, Edidem Nathaniel Oduonyi had passed away.” Said the  source.
On whether Chief Oduonyi was laid to rest according to traditional rite or not, the source persistently declined to make a categorical statement.
“It’s not my place to tell you that. You can only hear that from the council of chiefs. I don’t want get into that.”
Speculations are common that the Eket monarch was already laid to rest according to traditional rites.
Chief Oduonyi ascended the throne as a paramount ruler of Eket in 2011 after the demise of Edidem Timkingiko Papaudo Enodien who was the former Eket traditional helmsman.
Meanwhile, consultation has already begun for the selection of the new Paramount Ruler of Eket. So far two contenders have emerged for the highest traditional stool.
The Clan Head of Idua Ekid , Chief Etim  Charles D Abia and Chief Sunday Otu Assam-Udo, the Clan of Ekid Offiong, are already earmarked by the core leaders of Eket Council of Chiefs, where one of them will finally emerged through an election. But speculations are already rife that Chief E. C. D Abia would be the likely winner giving that he is the most senior clan head alive in Eket Local Government, Akwa Ibom State.
Source: GlobalVillenews.com

Interactive Session with Ambassador Assam Assam in Houston, Texas.

22 Mar

 

Ladies and gentlemen,
We expect a governorship candidate for the state to rise above ethnic tendencies so that if voted to power and important decisions are made, equal consideration is given to everyone/ every part of the state. The last listening tour/interactive session with Amb. Assam Assam was filled with people from all parts of Akwa Ibom because our concerns, desires, hopes, and aspirations are the same. Others are encouraged to follow in the footsteps of Amb. Assam to come over and consult with us as stakeholders in Akwa Ibom project whenever possible.

Amb Assam Conferring With   Guests During Town Hall Meeting

Amb Assam Conferring With Guests During Town Hall Meeting

 Suffice to say that convening a meeting for Amb. Assam last Sunday to interact with members of Houston (TX) community was coordinated by Advocacy for Democracy group. Invitations were extended to all Akwa Ibomites as reflected on its flyers; however, target audience for initial interaction was Houston and other cities within its proximity. Members of AKISAN which is the umbrella organization for Akwa Ibom communities in Houston were invited. Equally, members of Eket Development Congress (EDC),  Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio, and  members of other organization were also invited to attend on individual capacity. 

Dinner with Amb Assam Assam in Houston Texas

Dinner with Amb Assam Assam in Houston Texas

My position is that Akwaibomites in the diaspora should not shy away when any of its sons or daughters is visiting the US for the purpose of interacting with citizens of Akwa Ibom State in the course of their campaign for a state-wide political office as long as we are not supporting ONLY one candidate to the exclusion of the rests. Therefore, it is incumbent on Advocacy for Democracy group  to provide and effect an enabling environment of support for all candidates  to carry out a successful listening tour/interactive session with Akwa Ibom citizens anywhere in the US. In the end, the public will make up its mind on who to support.
I hope this clarifies any misconception individuals might have had.
Thanks,
Margaret Itauma,
Houston, Texas.
for: Advocacy for Democracy Group. 

Amb Assam Assam Town Hall Meeting in Houston TX

Amb Assam Assam Town Hall Meeting in Houston TX

Amb Assam Assam Town Hall Meeting in Houston

Amb Assam Assam Town Hall Meeting in Houston

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I will establish industrial renaissance in Akwa Ibom – Amb Assam.

21 Mar

 

Amb Assam Assam at a town hall meeting in Houston

 

The Nigerian Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Russia and Belarus, His Excellency, Ambassador Assam Ekanem Assam  (SAN) has lauded the Akwa Ibom State governor, Chief Godswill  Akpabio for  changing the infrastructural landscaping of the State and making the state accessible to industrial revolution. Ambassador Assam made the commendation early this week   in a Town Hall Meeting with business community, intelligentsia and socio-cultural groups in Houston, Texas, the United States of America.

He maintained nobody was capable of faulting the governor when it comes to his infrastructural transformation agenda. He argued that when Akpabio talked about making changes with anger, it did not translate to mean he was an angry man; rather he came and saw the road decay, got angry over it and in the same vein, transformed it.

Ambassador Assam Assam in chit-chat after Town Hall Meeting in Houston

Ambassador Assam Assam in chit-chat after Town Hall Meeting in Houston

Ambassador Assam said when elected into office, he will transform the state to an industrial renaissance in a few years in office. He said there was no denying the fact that people of the state have complained bitterly about hunger and poverty as one of the indices critically bedeviling the state, a case which he said his administration will pay serious attention to, especially in areas of agriculture, technology, industry and trade.

“There’s no doubt that this administration has adorned the state with infrastructural facilities; and you will agree with me that this is the dot that connects industrialization. Akpabio must be applauded for this; and even his critics will be silent on this salient fact. I will no longer donate too much time on this direction but to ensure that our people get opportunity for massive employment. You cannot go to school and study when you’re hungry; you cannot even take medication with empty stomach. That’s why I’ll make Akwa Ibom an Industrial hub for massive employment to set in. It is a goal I want all of you all both at home and in Diaspora to support me with.” Assam said.

Ambassador Assam Assam chatting with top academic during Town Hall Meeting in Houston Texas

Ambassador Assam Assam chatting with top academic during Town Hall Meeting in Houston Texas

On whether he was intimidated that Governor Akpabio was fronting a particular candidate for the governorship position, he said he was not aware of anybody being anointed by Akpabio to succeed him, and the governor being a true democrat, he will not venture to impose a candidate on the people, as the people will resist such imposition. He maintained that any qualified candidate of the state will not hide behind the governor or the president to seek an elective office; only the misfit could do that.

“My people, I don’t think governor Akpabio has anointed anybody to succeed him. Let’s assume that this is coming from the rumor mill. The governor, whom I know, is a true democrat; and true democrats do not impose leaders on the people. The people are allowed by democrats to elect their leaders. If anybody intends to impose a leader on the people, the people will rise against such imposition. You’re the people, will you allow anybody to impose any leader on you? Assam asked rhetorically?

On whether the zoning system affects him adversely or favorably, Chief Assam maintained he was not contesting the governorship position based on the zoning arrangement. He stated that the rotation and zoning principle was entirely the People Democratic Party’s (PDP) affair. He explained that since zoning principle was enshrined in the PDP constitution, it was the party decision to make arrangement based on its constitution; and if it decided on the zoning, it would be more favorable to him given that he’s from Eket Senatorial District (ESD) which governor Akpabio and majority of the people of the state have zoned the position to; but if it were going to be a free for all contests, he sees himself as the most qualified candidate given his vast administrative, political, social and professional experience.

“I have served in various positions of the government. I graduated as lawyer since 1979 and was called to Bar in 1980. I have played active politics since then, and have represented my people both in the local, State and federal levels most diligently; this you all know. I have represented a lot of you sitting here, my brothers and sisters, in various cases in court and won. I have been an Attorney General of the state; today I am representing the Federal government of Nigeria as an Ambassador of Russia and Belarus. I don’t need to sing my praises; I just want to remind my people of the quality person that you will have to support as a governor of your state. It is my credentials that intimidate other aspirants. That is why some of them want to hide behind somebody to contest election.”

Assam called on the Diaspora to participate actively in the politics at home to change the thinking and orientation of the people and fight the culture of ethnic politics which is currently raging like wild fire in the state.

Amb Assam Conferring with Business Community during the Houston Town Hall Meeting

Amb Assam Conferring with Business Community during the Houston Town Hall Meeting

PHOTONEWS : Nigeria Secret Police Parades Killers Of Prominent Islamic Scholar Auwal Adam Albani Zaria.

3 Mar

 

The State security Services (SSS) in Abuja today paraded some 7 men it claimed were suspected to be Boko Haram members  that allegedly assassinated Zaria-based prominent Islamic scholar Sheikh Auwal Adam Albani , his wife and son in cold-blood while returning from a preaching session at Markaz Salafiyya Center ,Tundun Wada Zaria on February 1st 2014.

Previous attempts by the SSS to parade persons it claimed were engaged in terrorism had received public derision and skepticism as several commentators claimed some of the paraded criminals  had been previously paraded for similar crimes in the past.

 

-Sahara Reporters.

Akpabio’s 2015 Shenanigans: Overrules His EXCO, Eliminates Effiong Abia from Endorsement.

28 Feb

 

*Dangles SSG Position on Bassey Albert 

By Weekly Insight Newspapers

Governor Godswill Akpabio has again dipped deep into his bag of tricks and shenanigans, overruling his executive council barely 24 hours after he had made them sign an unprecedented endorsement document on who should be governor in 2015. On Tuesday, February 25, 2014, Akpabio called another meeting of his Executive council, where he informed them that the three candidates they had endorsed were too many. 

 

He said it was important to further narrow the choice to two candidates to make room for a better choice and a more effective coordination. He told them that Effiong Abia should be delisted leaving the battle for Udom Emmanuel and Ekpenyong Ntekim. As would be expected, there was no challenge to the governor’s decision, though coming just a day after he had led the exco members to select the trio of Udom, Abia and Ntekim.

Our source, a commissioner who attended the meeting said the entire proceeding was dominated by the governor, who continuously boasted that no power anywhere in the world can stop him from having his way as far as the 2015 governorship election was concerned. He said that he had the magic wand to buy over supporters of other aspirants not favoured by the Exco arrangement. He told them that even if it means using the state’s six months allocation to achieve his purpose, he was willing and committed to doing it. He said he has so far commenced the process of buying other aspirants’ supporters with the number of PRADO Jeeps already distributed, adding that more jeeps and millions of naira would be dangled before some of the aggrieved party members.

“His Excellency boasted that with the amount of inroad he has made in Abuja; that not even the national chairman nor the president of the country could stop his choice and urged us not to entertain any fear of defeat”, the commissioner said.

He was said to have pressured his Finance commissioner to drop his governorship ambition and support the preferred candidates. He was promised the office of SSG after the election. This was as a result of the commissioner’s refusal to sign the Monday night endorsement document in a meeting coordinated by Mr. Don Etim, regarded as the “Dean of Commissioner”.

This will be a major blow to supporters of Barr Effiong Abia, who had been upbeat since the signing of the endorsement document that included his name. His upcoming thanksgiving service in Oron next week has received a wide boost following the said endorsement. But one of the supporters of the Mbo-born politician insists that whatever the governor or any person is doing cannot change what God has already kept for Abia.

The elimination of Abia from the list is a surprise move by Akpabio, prompting many to assume that the governor has not still made his final moves. One Edet Amba, who spoke to Weekend Insight, insists that Abia remained the governor’s choice, adding that all the necessary assurances have been extricated from the governor.


Weekly Insight Newspapers

Akpabio Calls for Privatization of Ibom Airport

23 Nov
Akwa Ibom International Airport

Akwa Ibom International Airport


Governor Godswill Akpabio has called for the privatization of Akwa Ibom International Airport in partnership with Federal aviation authority for greater result and productivity.

Chief Akpabio made the call Friday when a 13-member committee on the “Production of Scheme and Conditions of Service for Akwa Ibom Airport Development Authority” headed by Mrs Cecilia Udoessien, state Head of Civil Service presented the report to him at Governor’s Office, Uyo said “My suggestion is that in future, the airport needs to be privatalised in serious partnership with the aviation sector”.

He remarked “The Ibom airport is a state-owned organization, but airport business belongs to the Federal Government where all aviation agencies of the Federal Government are involved. We would have waited for the airport to be completed before we talk about the the final scheme of service for the airport. We would have completed building the airport before employing staff, but the last administration needed to engage a lot of staff because that administration was thinking of getting a work force ready that would be employed in the diffrent arms of the airport. So, we had to train our children in the technical unit abroad to acquire skills to work at the Maintenance, Repairs and Overhaul (MRO) facility so that we can have a ready market when we have an operator.

“So, due to the excess number of staff at the airport, we must agree to the scheme of service and give a brand new appointment letter, which would specify that the letter is subject to the the state government being in charge of the Ibom airport. And if a federal aviation operator comes in, the staff have to abide by the federal scheme of service and since our children were employed for a long time and are rebellious, we then wanted to ensure their career growth”.

“The State Government is giving the airport staff confidence that you won’t be left behind and would make sure your interest is protected. And while we are struggling to build the airport, we would not want you to grow old before promotion as you had already waited for five years now.

“For now, we have frozen further employment at the airport until the staff are properly placed, which some of the staff would be sent to the state civil service depending on their disciplines and some who are professionals in their field could be sent to Akwa Ibom State University”, the Governor hinted.

Governor Akpabio said with the implementation of the scheme of service, all the illegal strike actions at the airport would come to an end, disclosing that an implementation committee would be set up to start the process immediately.

Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Committee, Mrs. Udoessien had disclosed that one of the reasons for the scheme of service was the incessant strike action and other management conflicts at the airport, which saw the need for the state government to prepare the scheme of service which she said include conditions of service, salary structure and conduct of staff.

Udoessien explained that the scheme of service consists of eight sections that are arranged according to departments, professions and work groups to guide the management of the Ibom airport.

She explained that the report on the conditions of service is an approved guidelines pertaining to workers benefits, rights, privileges and methods of appointment, and said the committee had to review the salary structure, which had an estimate of N31.3 million monthly with additional N5.8 million or 15 per cent.

Insight News

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