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AKPABIO IS IN CHARGE OF THE CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE IN AKWA IBOM – EKEFRE


A political activist and founding member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Elder Enefiok Ekefre, whom today is a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC), x-rays recent political happenings in Akwa Ibom State. He was a member of the defunct NCPN in Uyo, a member of the 2007 Campaign Committee that brought Godswill Akpabio as Governor, a Chairman of the Central Planning Committee of Senator Effiong Bob, a member of Senator Anietie Okon’s Campaign in 2003. He says he has been around enough to know the political chemistry of the state. Excerpts:

How do you see the recent comment by the Senate Minority Leader, SenatorGodswill Akpabio, that he did not steal money while in office but that people under him did?

Well! For me, I don’t know what Godswill Akpabio means by that statement. It was him that the sovereignty of the entire state was transferred to. As a manager, he owes the people of this state an explanation to mention which of his subordinates that stole money. I challenge him to come out clean by mentioning the people that stole the money because we need to know. What he says is not an excuse and no reasonable man would take that. If drivers, and people in a company stole and you are the General Manager, how can that manager deny it by saying others stole money. He should mention those who stole. There has never been a time where he raised any alarm that his political appointees were stealing. I think that reaction came after I raised the issue of the 4 trillion naira public fund that was not being accounted for. To me, whatever he said is an afterthought. He should be held responsible. Akwa Ibom has nothing to do with commissioners. The Governor, the house of assembly members, chairmen of councils and their councillors are the recognized elective offices. He should not try to extricate himself from what he did commander chief of the criminal enterprise that looted this state.

Governor Udom Emmanuel kept calling the citizens illiterates and idiots. What is your take on this, knowing his huge responsibility to the citizens ?

If Governor Udom Emmanuel actually said so, it means to me that Udom is not a good person. Nobody on the face of this earth is qualified to call another illiterate. For example, what is Udom’s qualification? He keeps emphasizing business school and the university degree. He is not a chemist, neither is he an engineer. As far as chemistry is concerned, he is an illiterate. As far as engineering is concerned, he is an illiterate. He specializes in banking. The entire problem of human being from the BCC 1 scandal of the 80s and the drugs. Bankers are part and parcel of the criminal enterprise that this present government is fighting against. I will not want to dignify him because he is not with the people. He has every right to call Akwa Ibom people uneducated because he is not with the people. He has every right to call Akwa Ibom people uneducated because nobody voted for him. He was imposed on the people.

The sovereignty of this state has not been entrusted. He only got to that office by the grace of Godswill Akpabio and the support of the criminal justice system of the Supreme Court. It was a fraudulent judicial process that threw him up. We only keep quiet because we are in a continuous democracy. You see! Udom is revealing his true colour, because, as the only educated person, he is presiding over fools. So, he himself is not an educated person because for one, I know he is a banker. He is not an aeronautic engineer; he is not a chemist and so, does it mean he knows everything? No, he does not. So as far as I’m concerned, Udom is a very useless illiterate.

The Commissioner for Works, Akparawa Ephraim Inyang recently brought up issues against the NDDC, saying they had too many abandoned projects, what is your take on this?

In one way, I will say that Ephraim Inyang is being patriotic because he did not mind that the criminal elements that looted the NDDC are members of his party, the PDP. He is far above party affiliation. I think he is thinking about posterity, not party politics. He knows that the PDP’s NDDC looted the contract process because he knows that these projects were not initiated by the present NDDC boss. I only want to enlighten him that there is nothing like the past PDP. PDP is PDP.

The present NDDC is not totally free from the allegation. He has raised an issue of fundamental importance and we need to discuss. The agreement in the project says it is successor-entitled. So the issue of embezzlement and fraud has been raised. So, I feel that Nsima Ekere as the NDDC MD and the supervising ministry headed by Nduma Egba has every need to look into the contract process. They should find out if the money was paid; how much was paid and to which contractor and then why the job is not done. Who were the conspirators on the side of the contractors, whether the chairman of the NDDC and the community people. So, as far as I’m concerned, it is a serious allegation and should not be swept under the carpet.

The whistle blowing policy of the President Buhari-led Federal Government has really yielded fruits and many funds are being recovered on a daily basis; why are we not having it in Akwa Ibom?

You know the immediate past administration of this state had introduced redundancy and fraud into the system. In the church, if you are not an ardent criminal, you cannot head a project. Nobody asks of the source of the money. They celebrate criminals and condemn descent people. If I may ask, the salaries of these people are fixed by the mobilization officers, and many people live far above their income and I challenged the immediate past governor while calling on the security people to conduct intelligent checks on his public officers.

You would have realized that our monies are in private hands. That is why the former Minister of Finance, Okonjo Iweala said the amount that was spent to develop this state was only about 1 percent of 4 trillion naira in eight years. I’m not a mathematician. Maybe Udom Emmanuel as a banker and accountant may have the technical knowledge to find out what the 1 percent of 4 trillion naira is. I challenge him to tell us what that is, so that we know the level of looting that was done to our fund. The good side is that Akwa Ibom people are quiet. But the situation is enough to incite people into a revolution. The people’s right to protect is intact. They can sack the government anytime. It has happened in many places. But the calm is very uneasy. My analysis is that if the EFCC refuses to look into the Akwa Ibom’s case of massive financial misappropriation, abuse of office and all that, I will appeal to Mr president to open the flood gate, allow everybody to steal and declare Nigeria a criminal heaven while releasing all those who were arrested for fraud because Akwa Ibom is a sub-unit of the Nigerian State. The law must not be selective. The other day, a former governor of Jigawa was arrested, that of Adamawa was sentenced to imprisonment. Certain groups of persons must not be allowed to walk freely when they should equally be smelling the rod. They should not be seen as untouchables. If our own looters cannot be nabbed, people like Mrs. Madueke must be apologized to while Nigeria should be declared a criminal heaven.

The issue of importation of 2000 cows into Akwa Ibom by the State Government to ensure good milk generated a serious hullabaloo, what’s your take?

The question is that, what do Akwa Ibom people want? Is it compulsory that we must have a cattle ranch? Udom, as far as I’m concerned does not have the policy; Udom is a copycat. He has no idea at all. Anything he sees somewhere, he feels he should adopt it. Of course, you don’t need to be told that Udom is not an original thinker. He had no plan of being a governor; he was drafted into this place by Governor Akpabio. May be that’s what Godswill Akpabio wants him to do as a channel that they will use to take money out. Recall that during the campaigns, he was dancing around that he was learning under Akpabio, the great teacher who taught him how to steal. If you teach well and your student is very meticulous, he must be better than you. So Udom is doing exactly that.

Do you think the President Buhari, who has just left for medical treatment abroad, is doing anything wrong?

The people are saying he should resign and that he is not fit. Health challenge is a natural thing. Everybody can get sick. There is no provision in the constitution that says you must not be sick as a president. It is left for the president to decide when he is fit to lead the nation. The president is right constitutionally to transfer power. He is doing exactly that. No matter what anybody says, my sovereignty and those of every Nigerian have been transferred to members of the National Assembly for a period of four years. So whatever anybody says, is baseless, useless and unfounded.

There are plaguing pictures that our Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) is questionable. Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited has said that it has paid N8billion to AKS in the past 24 months. How will you react to this?

Well! We need to first find out from Mobil what causes their disagreement. Before now, they have not told anybody they have been paying any money to this state except privileged few. Something must have happened between them to prompt that statement and I think more revelations are still yet to come to light. Where is the money? Is it in Ex-crude account? Is it a Mobil subvention to the state? Has it been budgeted for?

In a democratic setting, you cannot spend money without a sub-head or budgetary approval. You can’t start spending it because it came from Mobil. It must go through a process. So if what the Mobil is saying is true, we must plead Udom not to implement what he was taught by his teacher. Let it not be because somebody had stolen trillions in his own time, you will be enticed to follow the track record. Please don’t do it. Hand over the Mobil money back to them. I don’t want Mobil to start praising themselves to have spent a huge amount on Akwa Ibom when only one man is a direct beneficiary.

There was a disagreement between Cross River State and Akwa Ibom over oil well. It almost resulted in a shooting war and that deprived Cross River State a lot of their Revenue, based on data and facts. The Rivers State also had a running battle with Akwa Ibom over oil wells. The Federal Government during the Olusegun Obasanjo era set up a committee to look into who actually owns the oil wells. At the end of the day, the monies accruing to these states were put in Ex-crude Account. After the whole thing, the federal government awarded the oil wells to Akwa Ibom State. It is alleged that N404 billion naira was, as a result paid to Akwa Ibom State, during the Akpabio administration in one cheque and nobody ever mentioned that money. Where is that money? Was it a gift to governor Akpabio? We need to know. Akpabio must tell Akwa Ibom people where that money is because that, itself, is aside from the N4 trillion naira federal allocations he collected in eight years.

Now, let’s talk about the 2019 elections. As a politician, what do you see about Udom Emmanuel regarding his frequent endorsements by political groups and platforms?

I don’t want to discuss Udom because I am not a party to those that put him there. The other way round, he has every right to aspire. It is left for the people to accept or reject him. The re-election is like a company, at the end of every tenure the management of a company calls for Annual General Meeting (AGM) to confirm, re-elect or endorse an existing board. So that is what Udom is trying to do. But he is very insultive. In a corporate politics which he said he is educated and a graduate, he should know that everything in today’s world is all about dialogue, interface, networking and persuasion. This is a dictator, a man who knows nothing about public relations, a wrong man in a good place. Akwa Ibom people have a choice to make, they will decide if they want to continue with uncertainty, embezzlement of funds, massive fraud, open endorsement of useless policies and insults.

What is your assessment of Udom’s administration? What can you point out as major achievement of this administration?

I have so many things to point to. Udom’s tenure is the most useless government I have ever seen from creation of this state. I can point to abandonment of so many projects like the Tropicana, I can point to so many things that were started by his great teacher which he has abandoned. I can point to deceit when Udom said he was going to set up assembly plant. If Akwa Ibom people want to be deceived, that choice could be very dangerous. As for me, I know I did, just like millions of others, not vote for him. I owe the people a duty to keep informing them that this government is bad; it is useless. May be history, today or tomorrow will be kind to me.

Let me say that some time ago, there was a country. Even the Bible has written about that country. They call it the Philippines. It is the only country in the South East Asia. In Africa they talk about Egypt, Greece and all that. The people of Philippines were behaving like Akwa Ibomites. When the economy was very very sound and the system threw up Udom as Governor. This is exactly what happened there. Marcus squandered the entire fortunes of the Philippinos. They finished the entire country and today, Philippinos are here in Uyo. At Emco Lane, there’s a factory. You see carpenters there with master’s degree using good technology. Some are labourers, in Malaysia, Singapore; because of Marcus, and members of the criminal gang there, Philippines has been looted to virtually emptiness. Marcus faced revolt from the people who moved against him and succeeded in throwing him out. And from then, successive administrations have not been able to put back the economy. It is not that I have made myself a policeman. I have children and I don’t want to be part of what my friends are doing, to squander the future of the next generation.

You are a grassroot politician, what do you think your party, APC should do best to take over power from Udom in 2019?

Politics from time is a game of intrigues, conspiracy and intimidation. Even military coup is part of the political process. That is why when the masses are tired with misrule from a certain political class and they try removing them through constitutional process without success, it necessarily gives rise to military intervention to restore sanity. But in our case, since coup is no more fashionable, the way out is simple. Tension is very high. I tell our people that Godswill Akpabio is a wonderful person. He has decided to indoctrinate our people that they must live on peanuts – politics of master-servant.

I don’t want to discuss Udom because, normally, they don’t do elections. They only announce their vote allocation. I was one of the 20 people that came back with the party (PDP) and I have to apologize to the people of this state for the mess the party developed into under the tyrannical leadership of Godswill Akpabio. Essien Esema’s place became the first secretariat of the party. There was nothing like looting of public fund in the agenda of the party. It was PDP, power to the people. But after certain class of persons with high criminal inclination infiltrated the party, party politics died. Imposition set in and power was allocated to whoever accepted loyalty to the great teacher.

The last local government election in this state is one of the good examples of electoral fraud that PDP has become known with. AKISIEC did not announce the election. I, myself did not vote, I protested. I called the Director of SSS, telling him of the non-conduction of election in my unit which I was told that I have been voted for. I called the AKISIEC Chairman who simply told me that my complaint was noted. When the result of that election came, they just called local governments and said people were elected. They did not mention the scores of other parties. So, it is only God who owns this country that has chosen to scatter that party. I don’t think they will have the capacity to even present any candidate because PDP as a party has been divided into two.

Who will you want your party to put up for the governorship position in 2019?

Everybody has the right to contest. As a party man, whoever has the capacity to win the nomination, I will support. But there is what is called internal political arrangement and stability. The political stability of Akwa Ibom State must be taken into consideration. What gives rise to party politics is the stability of the constituent units. If the state is not stable, you cannot have a party. It is an established fact the power rotation was adopted here. It started with Uyo in Ibibio and then to Annang in Ikot Ekpene and each stayed for eight years. Now the power is in Eket. When Obong Attah, the man I just told you I was the chairman of his committee to constitutional conference, was the Governor went to Ikot Ekepene and made a pronouncement that power was shifting to Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District with a particular reference to Annang Ethnic Nationality. He stopped there. He did not point out that power would leave Ikot Ekpene to Eket Senatorial District with particular reference to Oron. Whether anybody likes it or not, Oro is a major political unit of this state. They say to whom much is given much is expected. For instance, if not for anything, Ibibio has 14 Local Governments in this state, Annang has eight and Oron has five. If you talk of sequence of seniority, the power should go to Oron so that people will have a sense of belonging.

But for Akpabio, instead of projecting an Oro man, he went around to bring an Ibibio man from Eket Senatorial District. Ibibio has three local governments in Eket. But you forget the five L.G.As in Oron. I am not from Oron and I have no blood affiliation. But I have something in me, justice. And, I stand to be corrected, out of 11 oil wells that we have in this state, nine is in Oron. I stand to be corrected. And this is where the resources come and the place is just lying waste without development. Instead of visiting them with huge developmental projects, people are rather bragging, using money to humiliate the owners of the money. I am not campaigning for them. But if Oron people don’t want to be in power, that is their business.

Why am I talking about Oron? It seems in Nigeria, people want violence. If you don’t cause problem, they don’t listen to you. Does Nigeria want Oron people to clamp down the oil well before she knows that these people have a case? I hope it would not come to that. Take the cause of Ijaw people for instance, if there was no militancy, Jonathan wouldn’t have been the president of this country. Is that what they want? Must one engage in criminal practice before being recognized? Oron people have 9 out of the 11 oil wells in this state. Udom may say he knows better. Maybe he is a geologist and may feel he is educated.

But as far as I’m concerned, based on data, that is the truth. My party has the right to choose anybody they wish. But if my party asks me of my take, I will tell them that Oron cannot be a governor without the support of Uyo senatorial District. Oro can appoint Uyo a Deputy Governor for them to smell power like what happened during Isemin’s time because there is a close relationship between the two, boundary wise and everything.
Let’s go back to memory lane. When Ibibio Union was formed in 1929, a delegation was sent to Oron that they should join the Ibibio. Oron Union was founded in 1925 before Ibibio Union. They said thank you brother, we have our own, but with this act of respect to us, anything you do, we will be with you. And they keep that promise even today.

Oro people are the intellectual basket of this place. Oro had what it takes to become the governor of the then South Eastern State in the person of the late Victor Akan, a formidable politician with his deep pocket. Everything was under his control. But he said no; he decided to give power to an Ibibio man from Onna. That showed respect. The Oro people maintained that bond of friendship. So, I remind the people of Uyo Senatorial district that to whom much is given, much is expected. During the 2015 election, Obong Umana proved a point. He gave a formidable opposition, a campaign with a focus. Oron people gave full support. They locked down the five local governments in support of Uyo. They opposed the federal government in power. They opposed the state. It was the only place people said PDP should not enter.

Today, Uyo people have to rethink. There must be basis for friendship. They were not thugs. But it’s the turn of Uyo people to support Oro people to be the governor. I don’t care who the person is. I will support an Oro man as governor. That is the only way to kill the fear that Oron people had during the agitation for the creation of this state. Their fear was that of dominance against them. That is why Oro supported the creation of Alantic State. Only two young men in Oron then, stood out. They were Antigha Eyoh Bassey and Okon Osung who is still alive. They sought for Akwa Ibom because they did not want to cross a long river before getting into the state capital. If Ibibio do not support Oron people for governor, it means that fear has been really sustained.

What is your last word to Akwa Ibom people?

My advice to the government of Akwa Ibom State, is that the government is not a private property of Udom Emmanuel. I am a stakeholder. The allocation that comes to the state talks about quality; it talks about population I was counted in 2003; school enrolment, I have children; landmass, I’m a member of property class. So, I advise the government not to personalize leadership. It is not his private property. For Akpabio who said he did not steal, if he is clean, he should come out and mention those who looted our funds under his watch as the commander in chief of the criminal enterprise. (Culled from Uduakabasi Ikpatt)

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