A civil society organisation, Network Against Corruption and Human Trafficking, on Tuesday asked anti-corruption agencies to probe the administration of Senator Godswill Akpabio for alleged corruption while he was governor of Akwa Ibom State.
The organisation alleged that the fortunes of Akwa-Ibom people were allegedly mortgaged for personal aggrandisement under Akpabio and so the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission should step in and probe the former governor.
The allegation is coming a few days before the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly with the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs as one of the front runners for the Senate Presidency.
The Executive Director of Investigation in the organisation, Samson Tega, and Operational Manager, Stanley Ugabe, told journalists in Abuja that Akpabio was not fit to be Senate President considering the allegations against him.
But when contacted, Akpabio’s Chief Press Secretary, Jackson Udom, described the allegation as a witch-hunt meant to scuttle the Senate Presidency ambition of the former governor.
Udom said, “Investigation is not conviction. Every public officer could be investigated after leaving office and that is the right thing to do. Senator Akpabio left office right years ago after a meritorious service to Akwa Ibom State and his legacies and performance as the State Governor from 2007-2015, are still visible in all nooks and crannies of the state.
“The question then is, why this letter to the EFCC now? Why all these blackmail and lies now? The answer is not far-fetched. Akpabio wants to be Senate President, he remains the candidate to beat and he must be brought down at all costs by those who can’t match his acceptance by his colleagues.
“His colleagues in the Stability Group are working round the clock to make him the Senate President of the 10th Senate, through the support of their colleagues across party lines. Their major concern is to give stability to the President-elect’s administration when it comes on stream on May 29, 2023.”
But Tega recalled that barely months after leaving office, the EFCC invited him (Akpabio) over allegations bothering on the misappropriation of funds from the Akwa-Ibom State Treasury.
According to him, while the investigations and prosecution are still on, civil society has not rested on its oars in its bid to ensure that corruption is nipped in the bud and that every penny of Akwa-Ibom taxpayers’ money is properly accounted for.
He said, “It is on this note that the coalition of civil societies led by the Network Against Corruption and Trafficking, NACAT, embarked on a comprehensive investigation of the Akwa-Ibom State Government Account between 2011-2015.
“NACAT through these discovered financial infractions and irregularities ranging from circumvention of procurement processes, suspicious payments of monies, possible money laundering, to award of contracts to non-existent Shell Companies”, he alleged.
“The questions begging for answers are: How will the All Progressives Congress accuse the PDP government of wasting 16 years of our nationhood and still reward a PDP-man in Mr. Godswill Akpabio who’s part of the destruction of Nigeria and only joined APC six years ago? It is akin to give a PDP member the number three position in the land and saying that APC lied against PDP destroying Nigeria.
“To make Akpabio a Senate President is a reward for monumental corruption orchestrated in Akwa Ibom and Ministry of Niger Delta/NDDC.
“Giving Akpabio Senate President mandate is to whittle down the fight against corruption as he will enact laws that will weaken the EFCC and ICPC since he has cases with them.
“The nation is dominant of three tribes, namely Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo. It is nationally irresponsible to deny the Igbos the number three position in the land whether they bring votes or not when they have ranking Senators of APC extraction who have not been tainted with corruption