The Ibom Integrity and Servant Leadership Culture Initiative have called on President Mohammadu Buhari to reframe from appointing Senator Goodwill Akpabio as a minister.
The group noted that appointing the former governor as minister will dent the integrity of president Buhari who is seen as an anti-corruption Caesar, adding that Akpabio should not be shielded from the numerous corruption cases he has pending with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The group consisting of APC elders insisted that the mention of Akpabio connotes corruption and therefore should not represent them. They added that the immediate past governor as a minister representing their state will only increase disharmony within APC members in Akwa Ibom.
In a statement signed yesterday by its executive vice president, Dr. Asuquo Edidem Etim which was made available to newsmen in Abuja, the group said that making Akpabio a minister will further cast doubt in the mind of Nigerians against the sincerity of the President in fighting corruption as it should be.
“The following verifiable factcheck will help to ascertain the objectivity and veracity of our earlier assertions as contained in our letter to Mr. President, which is that: 1. Senator Akpabio is still under probe of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)), hence unfit for ministerial nomination in the Next Level government. 2. That he was a destabilizing factor in APC in Akwa Ibom, which contributed to the party’s poor outing at the recent election. 3. That his profligacy in public office and hunger for power corrupts his sense of propriety which makes him ignore norms, standards and traditions. 4. That his flippancy and haughty public utterances still hurt our party till date.”
Continuing the group stated “Recall that Akpabio had during his defection to APC claimed that he was no longer under investigation. But this was swiftly denied by former spokesman for the EFCC, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, who emphatically stated that Akpabio’s corruption case was still ongoing. “We haven’t closed case against Akpabio”. “EFCC does not close cases or give clearance to anybody.”
“And President Buhari during an interview aired on Arise TV which was monitored by us said he has not told EFCC to halt the former governor’s probe. “I don’t think Akpabio, when he moved to the APC, that I said he should be left alone. I cannot remember asking the EFCC, the ICPC, the police or anybody to spare any corrupt person or incompetent person”.
On Akpabio’s defection and APC’s 2019 loss, the statement said; “He came into APC with no recognizable political structure or any meaningful support base of any value. It was expected that a politician of that stature would be able to at least command the loyalty and following of at least half of the members of the House of Assembly, but he came almost empty handed with a lot of distracting noise.
“The three members that later joined him came with a huge baggage of controversy that robbed off on the party negatively. He couldn’t even convince his own cousin who was a commissioner in the state to join him. The situation was that bad. So, when PDP cleared all the 13 NASS seats, including his own, in Akwa Ibom, won 20 of the 21 House of Assembly seats in the state and retained the governorship of the state, it became very clear that we had actually overrated his electoral value and influence. The huge repugnance against the person of Akpabio and his politics robbed the party of it’s popularity and victory.”
Etim added that the rebuttals from the the state chapter of APC were feeble as it did not deny the issues of integrity deficit preferred on Akpabio.
“Ibom Integrity and Servant Leadership Culture Initiative, hereby state unequivocally, that we stand by our petition to President Mohammadu Buhari, dated May 24, 2019, entitled “Ministerial Appointment: Why Appointing Akpabio May be Counter Productive”, In spite of the obvious feeble rebuttal attempt by the state publicity secretary Nkereuwem Enyongekere, allegedly on behalf of the State Working Committee (SWC) of our party, All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom, aimed at contradicting the inner wishes of our teeming party men and women, via an unsigned statement a few days ago.
“The statement curiously focused on the registration status of the group. And we know for a fact that the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), has not relinquished its constitutional responsibility of registering corporate entities to our state party chapter. We are however, encouraged by the fact that the said unsigned statement didn’t deny any of the issues bothering on integrity deficit that were raised in our letter.
“In view of the above reasons, we hereby reinstate that based on our desire to have a representative in the coming cabinet of President Buhari, who would enjoy the support of majority of Akwa Ibom people irrespective of political background, and for equity and fairness in a party that is emerging from a depressing electoral experience, in the state, we need a unifying factor, not an overlord with a humongous ego and sense of entitlement. This is our simple, selfless and objective request from Mr. President”.