Editor's note: The imminent defection of the former governor of Akwa Ibom, Godswill Akpabio, to the All Progressives Congress (APC), has sparked off very intense political debates in the state, as Akpabio's move exposes the crack in the relationship between the Governor Udom Emmanuel and his predecessor. Ntiense Akai, PHD, gives an insight into the situation with a robust response to Clemant Ikpatt.
It has become Mr. Clement Ikpatt’s pastime to ceaselessly malign the character and reputation of Governor Udom Emmanuel through all manner of false and malicious publications. As he runs down Governor Emmanuel, Mr. Ikpatt laboriously distorts facts to launder the image of his paymaster- former governor of Akwa Ibom state, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
I will now address the infantile allegations of Mr. Ikpatt against Governor Emmanuel.
1. That Governor Emmanuel betrayed Godswill Akpabio
This allegation is laughable. According to Mr. Ikpatt, Akpabio virtually picked Udom from the gutter and single-handedly made him governor. Ikpatt further claims that ‘Akpabio has been betrayed, insulted and humiliated by his prodigal ward.’ It is clear from the tone of language of Akpabio’s spokesperson that Governor Udom Emmanuel was expected to be Akpabio’s servant, stooge and ward. Udom Emmanuel as governor was expected to be loyal and accountable to Akpabio and his family and not to the people of Akwa Ibom state who elected him.
Governor Udom Emmanuel has done the right thing by choosing to be loyal and accountable to the people of Akwa Ibom state and his God and not to a man called Akpabio who is delusional and still sees himself as the governor of the state 3 years after his tenure had ended on May 29, 2015. This explains why Akpabio has consistently disrespected and humiliated Governor Emmanuel by attending public functions several hours after the governor. Recently he engaged the services of Clement Ikpatt who insulted Governor Emmanuel by calling him Akpabio’s prodigal ward (read stooge and servant.
Ikpatt and Godswill Akpabio should stop insulting Governor Udom Emmanuel and the good people of Akwa Ibom state. This state is not the personal property of Godswill Akpabio. This nonsense and insult that Akpabio is the master and that Udom Emmanuel a sitting governor is (in the words of Clement Ikpatt) “a prodigal ward” must stop forthwith. There were people who helped Akpabio to become governor, none of them called Akpabio his ward or servant. Akpabio was allowed to run the state without interference.
Udom Emmanuel is an accomplished professional who rose to the pinnacle of his banking career before the people elected him governor.
In 2007, there were people like Obong Ufot Ekaete, Umana Umana and John Akpanudoedehe who helped Akpabio to become governor. Mr. Clement Ikpatt should not speak on the subject of betrayal until he studies how Akpabio humiliated all those who helped him in the past. It is a long list. I will only mention a few: Late Christy Essien Igbokwe, Chief Emeka Onwuegbuzie, late Dr. Ime Umana, Chief Don Etiebet, Obong Victor Attah, Chief Ufot Ekaete, Obong Umana Umana, John Akpanudoedehe etc.
I commend Governor Emmanuel for not breaching his oath of office and deciding to be accountable only to the people of Akwa Ibom state. Governor Emmanuel is only following the glorious and honorable path traversed by others before him like Chris Ngige, Sullivan Chime, Theodore Orji who as elected governors refused to be anybody’s stooge or “ward.” A recent example is Governor Willie Obiano.
2. The allegation that Governor Emmanuel is incompetent because he has abandoned Akpabio's projects
This is another puerile and baseless allegation. So how did Akpabio as governor demonstrate competence when he failed to complete 95 per cent of his major projects after receiving over N3 trillion or over $35 billion dollars in 8 years.
Akpabio started some of the uncompleted projects like the Tropicana Hotels, the Tropicana Convention Center, Theme Park, Etebi- Ewang Road in 2007 but left them uncompleted when he left office in 2015 despite the huge resources that accrued to the state. Pray where was Clement Ikpatt when Dr. Ngozi Iweala former finance minister berated Akpabio for his penchant to share Akwa Ibom’s money to all manner of persons?
Where was Clement Ikpatt when Dr. Iweala emphatically stated unchallenged that Akpabio did not deploy up to 30 percent of the revenues received to the development of the state. With all the uncompleted projects Akpabio left behind has Dr. Iweala not been vindicated? Where was Clement Ikpatt when Akpabio called himself an uncommon transformer and bombarded Nigerians with propaganda messages claiming that these same uncompleted projects were completed by him?
Where was Clement Ikpatt when Akpabio deceived Nigerian and commissioned these same uncompleted projects? Were was this fellow Clement Ikpatt when Akpabio listed uncompleted projects as completed in his propaganda documents such as the “Uncommon transformation” and the “renaissance.”
Where was Clement Ikpatt when Akpabio paid out or shared N11 billion for Uyo Airport Terminal building and yet the site is overgrown with weeds? Where was Clement Ikpatt when Akpabio sourced a loan for the 100 percent completion of the hotel project in Ikot Ekpene but left the project uncompleted? Who diverted the-funds for the completion of the project ? Where was Clement Ikpatt when Akpabio in just 2 years diverted over N108billion from Akwa Ibom state government accounts in UBA and Zenith through fraudulent cash withdrawals in multiples of N10m? And this is just a tip of the iceberg.
Clement Ikpatt should ask Akpabio why he didn’t use the funds diverted to complete these uncompleted projects. I urge Udom Emmanuel not to allow himself to be blackmailed by Akpabio and his cohorts into putting additional public funds into projects that were clearly conduits for the diversion and stealing of public funds. Questions must first be asked and answers on the status of these projects provided by Akpabio.
Udom Emmanuel cannot be made the scapegoat for Akpabio’s incompetence and corruption. It is ironical that today Akpabio and Clement Ikpatt could have the effrontery despite the very messy situation of unprecedented financial improprieties linked to these projects to brazenly accuse Governor Emmanuel of incompetence when Akpabio should be made to provide answers as to why funds were diverted and why uncompleted projects were listed as completed.?
Clement Ikpatt must understand that despite his diatribe Governor Udom Emmanuel is not and will never be Akpabio’s stooge, servant or ward. Emmanuel is the sitting executive governor of Akwa Ibom state who should protect the public interest at all times no matter whose ox is gored. He must remain accountable to the people of Akwa Ibom state and to the Almighty God.
The personal and self -serving grievances of Akpabio who in his delusion sees himself as a master and regards and treats a sitting governor as his ward or servant must be ignored.
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