At last, Senator Godswill Akpabio has broken his long-held silence over issues of governace in Akwa Ibom State, South South Region he ruled for eight years that have given room for speculations in different quarters.
Akpabio who ruled Akwa Ibom State from 2007 to 2015 told his battery of supporters on Sunday “I collected N1.7 trillion in eight years from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC,’’ against purportedly bogus figure bandied by his critics that he collected more than N3 trillion.
The immediate past governor who recently left Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for All Progressives Congress, APC, also deflated accusations by his critics that ‘’I borrowed N80 billion in eight years, refunded N30 billion, and left N50 billion debt.’’
This amount sharply countered the N500 debt profile allegedly floated by Assam Assam, a one-time state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice and other critics to malign the ex-governor’s image.
Chief Akpabio, who is also the immediate past Senate Minority Leader, said his administration meant well for the people of the state. I was able to initiate life-touching projects across the three senatorial districts of the state, which he said are still valuable and appreciated till now.
According to him, “I don’t like talking about what I did during my administration as a governor, but it became necessary to mention that you people now have the opportunity to watch Real Madrid players live at the World Standard stadium built by my administration.
‘’There was a time that I slept-over in Owerri because I missed my flight because of bad roads. But today, people can now fly and land at the Ibom International Airport, courtesy of my administration. Or were you not aware that pilgrims were airlifted from Uyo directly to Jerusalem and Mecca, because we all pray to the same God? Even there was once one man heard at the Jerusalem airport ‘Those boarding aircraft to Uyo’ and fainted that the name ‘Uyo’ has been heard in Jerusalem.
‘’I wouldn’t want to talk about the many roads we undertook during my administration. What used to happen at Itam junction was so shameful. People were using polythene bags to urinate and then threw them into the water. Even the former governor of Rivers State, Chief Peter Odili when he visited the state experienced the same thing and was so shameful.
“Like what used to happen at Itam Junction closed to the Mega Station. There was always stagnant water and it was always a problem during rainy season. We had to construct pipe hijacking drainage system to Ibesikpo which also took care of the water at Obot Idim. Do you remember what used to happen at Obot Idim? We had to construct the best in West Africa and people are asking what we did with the money.’’
The immediate past governor who is the state APC Leader stated”For over 30 years, Ika and Etim Ekpo local government areas were disconnected from the entire state. Ika was very terrible that the whole local government area was deserted. When I came in as governor, I constructed new roads and the whole place was revived. Have you forgotten the Etim Ekpo bridge that consumed many lives. When I finished that road, I brought the then President Goodluck Jonathan to commission it. We were still driving in Etim Ekpo when he asked, ‘are we in Uyo?’ because the entire place had been transformed into a city. Now, all those people who ran away from Etim Ekpo and Ika had returned and the place is very busy now.
‘’Have you forgotten that during my tenure, I brought Naval base to Ikot Abasi and also brought Army base to Ika? Have you forgotten that during my administration, I brought Federal Polytechnic, Police College and also built state University? I connected many villages to the national grid. That’s why I am telling people that the reason I left PDP is for the interest of everyone. There are changes we need to make, but I can’t do them from outside. I need to be there when certain decisions are taken and I will make sure that we, the minority are not left out in the scheme of things’’ the Senator narrated.
“During my administration, I turned band-boys into men. You know a lot of them. Most of them were guards, gatemen and band-boys on the streets of Uyo. But when I came in, I had to invest in the lives of our youths and that’s why you could see over 35,000 new houses in Uyo. Thousands of cars ply our roads now. You see new cars and I can assure you that I developed many young people. I helped many people and sponsored them abroad for trainings.
“That idea of Free and Compulsory education changed the entire perception about Akwa Ibom State. Before now, when you go to visit people outside the state, they will tell you to bring Ekaette and Akpan when next you’re visiting because their relatives are in need of house-helps. It was always a very shameful situation. Immediately when we came up with that idea, the whole menace stopped. Today, our children are well respected outside.
“I’ve read of many accusations and blame that I belong to many cult groups. I am not a member of any cult group and I have never sent anyone to kill anybody. The other day, I stood at Ibom Hall and said that if I’ve ever sent anyone to kill anybody, that it should not be well with me and my children. Let them also come and say like that if they will not die that same spot. Throughout my tenure, we made sure that security of lives and properties were intact.
“I never said that my decision to go for Udom Emmanuel in 2015 was a mistake. If I say so, it means something is wrong. Udom was right then, but now….busted into laughter. I’ve not regretted every decision I took when I was the governor. Every decision I took during my tenure as governor, If I am given the opportunity again, I will take them again except one,” the former governor said.