The defection fever caused by Senator Godswill Akpabio representing Akwa Ibom North West in the National Assembly from the People’s Democratic Party, PDP to All Progressives Congress, APC, has thrown the state government and the party into tumult and panic.
Consequently, the defection drama has invariably put food on the tables and changed the wardrobes of some PDP leading lights and heavyweights in Akwa Ibom State, Straightnews has gathered.
Investigations carried out by Straightnews show that before now, some state government functionaries generally complained of paucity funds.
In less than one week, the song has changed from ‘’There is no money ooo’’ to ‘’This is money, will you endorse me for a second term in the office?’’
A top government official who confided in Straightnews stated that in some months Akwa Ibom state government collects more than N20 billion monthly as state and local government allocations from Federation Allocation Accounts Committee, FAAC.
The gripping defection ‘ulcer’ has rocked the foundation of the state including government and eventually squeezed financial water out of the rocky financial vault, thus making the beneficiaries to smile to banks and to project sites.
An insider in government, who wanted to remain anonymous, hinted Straightnews that the state government might have mooted the story that Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has frozen the state account as a decoy to dip its fingers into the treasury in case the commission wants to do so.
‘’In less than one week, the state government has awarded juicy contracts worth between N350 million and N500 million to some cronies to siphon the state funds into private accounts for use in funding the forthcoming elections,’’ the insider recounted.
A top politician in the state told Straightnews that 25 members in the House of Assembly of PDP family were allegedly greased N30 million each and the next day they visited Government House, Uyo on a solidarity/endorsement visit to the occupant of Hiltop Mansion.
‘’In fact, since the rumour of Senator Akpabio to APC, the ‘’ground’’ is now wet. We are happy. I pray this season’’ should always come regularly so that we can enjoy.
‘’For example, Akpabio defected to APC at Ikot Ekpene Stadium on Wednesday, we, in People’s Democratic Party, PDP equally organised rallies for the party in some local government areas of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District that same day. We went home with much money,’’ he enthused.
Another political leader narrated that some political gladiators and heavyweights in PDP from the three Senatorial Districts in the state are alleged to have collected between N5 million and N10 million to pledge support for their ‘principal ’ and renounce Senator Akpabio.
‘’Where was this money all the while? Was there money or was someone hoarding it for us to be famished? God will bless Godswill Akpabio. If not this defection, we will be languishing in penury.’’
Another warned ‘’Some of us may see this money as settlement and will later defect or vote for a candidate of their choice. I hope the governor knows the political jobbers who want money and dump his re-election bid.’’
However, a top civil servant expressed surprise at the attitude of the governor who has been professing ‘’No money’’ is spending for his supporters without clearing some entitlements to civil servants seen as the engine room of government.
He cited the non-payment of the statutory Federal Government-approved wardrobe allowance pegged at less than N300 million since 2015 by the state government to civil servants working in Governor’s Office, Deputy Governor’s Office, Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Governor’Office Annex, State Security Department, Ministry of Finance, Internal Revenue Service and Office of the Accountant General.
Again, the top government officer told Straightnews that the government paid gratuity to state civil servants up to November 2015 with a backlog of arrears over the years pending; some pensioners being owed arrears of pensions while pensioners of local Service Commission and State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, are being owed a backlog of gratuities and arrears of pensions by the government over the years.
‘’Unfortunately too, the Udom Emmanuel administration has not paid promotion arrears to civil servants. For example, a civil servant who merited promotion in May 2015 got a promotion letter in May 2018 as the financial date while the arrears of the three years are forfeited by the government.
‘’Don’t forget: the governor and the Head of Civil Service announced during the May 2018 Workers’ Day that the state government has promoted 20,000 civil servants. You can see that these civil servants have lost millions of Naira which would have had multiplier effects on the economy of the state.”
On the part of contractors, they daily lament non-settlement of their bills after they had executed their jobs and gotten job completion certificates most of them before 2015.
So, many businesses came to a lull on the pretext that there was no money.
Yet, the defection of Akpabio to another party has forced the state government to bring out money just to swell the rank of supporters.