As the endorsement wind of Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel for a second term in office blows across the state, the state All Progressives Congress, APC, has scored the administration low for allowing groups and persons to use the rally to fleece multi-millions of naira from the state government.
Since the defection of Senator Godswill Akpabio from Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to All Progressives Congress, APC, prominent Nigerians- ex-president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo; Dr. Bukola Saraki, Senate President; Peter Obi- PDP Vice presidential candidate; Gabriel Suswan, the ex-governor of Benue State, first-class traditional rulers in the country, groups, organisations and bodies, among others have paid solidarity visits on Governor Emmanuel.
To a large extent, the ploy is said to have handsomely paid off as people called ‘contractors’ have used the visits or endorsement rallies to allegedly scam the state government of multi-millions of naira.
The lattest is the endorsement of the governor by some students under the aegis National Association Akwa Ibom Students (NAAKISS) in which N31 million released to Special Assistant to Governor on Students Matters, Ms Otobong Akpan ‘Aquila’ allegedly developed wings forcing angry ones and some miscreants to have smashed vehicles windows, burnt tyres and stole handsets and money from innocent passers-by.
One Etiowo Udoh has rejected the huge pay to drummers for a second term bid of the governor, but believed that Mr. Emmanuel has been dipping his hands into his whopping monthly security vote to grease the supporters.
Daubed “pickings”, a catchword used loosely to describe the scamming of Governor Udom Emmanuel, the party said this was the easiest way to “fleece a government in its desperation to retain power in the face of total and unequivocal rejection, as a result of its failure to address the needs, concerns and aspirations of its citizens.
“To achieve this ‘pickings’ game, all you need to do is sell a dummy to the governor that you could muster the entire state to come on a solidarity visit to the government house, then the millions would immediately start rolling in,” Mr. Eseme Eyiboh, Chairman, Information and Strategic Communication Committee, said.
In a press release issued Friday and entitled THIS INSENSITIVITY TO THE NEEDS OF OUR YOUTHS BY THE AKWA IBOM STATE GOVERNMENT UNDER GOV. UDOM EMMANUEL MUST STOP, Eyiboh who is also the spokesperson, Akwa Ibom State APC Campaign Council, said “For a populace that has come to identify their governor as “tightfisted” all through his stay in the government house until the current frenzy for a second term, the bazaar has been worth the while.
“The scamming has assumed a ridiculous dimension with all sorts of emergency groups daily thronging the government house for one solidarity visit or the other.
“Groups, ranging from men, women, even school children, whose ages are below voting age, have been sighted making the ‘pickings’ pilgrimage to the Government House, Uyo.”
“For us in the All Progressives Congress (APC), we have no problem with our people trying to lay hands on a few million Naira of their money that was only available to the few privileged cronies near the governor and his family members.
“We encourage our people to pick as much as they can from a government that left them hungry for close to four years only to remember to buy them a few cups of rice, wrappers, salts and peanut appearance fees for attending “pickings” rallies.
“The party frowned at the abuse of participants at such “pickings” rallies by rally contractors and unscrupulous agents who after collecting millions to organize such rallies end up not paying participants their appearance fees for rallies they are contracted to attend.
“The near riot situation and violent tension that engulfed the entire city of Uyo, following the refusal of the merchants of the students endorsement charade that took place on Thursday, January 10, 2019, to pay those hired for the rally the paltry N1000 each, promised them, is not only wicked and insensitive, but an abuse of the state’s most vibrant segment of her population.
“The rally contractors for that day ought to know that no Akwa Ibom student would genuinely, on his own rally support for Gov. Udom Emmanuel. His administration’s performance in that sector, as in all other sectors is abysmal. Gov. Udom met the state at number 12 on the table of performance in WAEC examination and took her to an all time low of number 17 on the table.
“Under Gov. Emmanuel’s administration, Akwa Ibom State, with her hundreds of thousands student population, has only a miserable six Computer Based Test centers, to cater for JAMB examination requirements of students. This anomaly has exposed Akwa Ibom students to untold hardship while trying to access facilities to write examination in other states,” Eyiboh noted.
He stated “Governor Emmanuel’s Akwa Ibom state has the highest out of school children population among the states of the South South, with an out of school average of 16.1 percent as against 9 percent for Rivers State. In the 2019 budget, Gov. Emmanuel allocated a mere N10.52 billion to the education sector in a budget estimate of N646.6 billion.
“Gov Udom Emmanuel in four years neither awarded scholarship to any Akwa Ibom student nor any bursary awards. It is a shame that Governor Emmanuel, who has never paid a kobo as bursary to Akwa Ibom Student, had to mouth intentions to pay at the rally, after he and his handlers had scoffed at the promise of Obong Nsima Ekere to pay Akwa Ibom Students a bursary of N25,000, when he is sworn in as governor in May 2019. Of course, the students understood that for what it was -a vote buying gimmick.
“Even grant assistance extended to some students to cushion the high cost of obtaining training in such fields as law school grants and special assistance to medical students, were stopped by the Udom administration. So on what basis would a student of Akwa Ibom State origin freely rally or canvass votes for Udom Emmanuel.”
In a press release issued Friday and signed by Mr. Iniobong Okopido, the state party Chairman in throwing weight behind the publicity campaign team said he was horrified by “the shameful and outrageous behaviour of Governor Udom Emmanuel before Akwa Ibom students Thursday.
“This governor has not paid a dime as either bursary or scholarship to any student since he assumed office in 2015. Our state-owned tertiary institutions (university, polytechnic and college of education) have been decrepit in neglect and largely unfunded by his administration. Many courses in the polytechnic and university are unaccredited. Of course, the parlous state of our secondary and primary schools have assumed national notoriety under Udom Emmanuel.”
Okopido, therefore, called on the former governors and eminent citizens of the dear state to rise in unison and condemn the nastiness of this governor.
In a manner reminiscent of admission of guilt by his party, Mr. Ini Ememobong, the state PDP Publicity Secretary, in a text posted on his Facebook timeline engaged in blame game of the APC’s misdeeds purported to be committed by the party instead of addressing the accusations levelled against his party.