False report about Gov Akpabio
We have come across a news item entitled:“Gubernatorial Corruption: Wammako, Uduaghan and
Akpabio being monitored for graft” in which Chief
Godswill Akpabio was mentioned. Ordinarily, given the
confusion of the reporter and the deceit inherent in
the supposed “intelligence report”, we probably would
not have bothered to react; except for the fact that
falsehood often repeated could be misconstrued as
The said story based on obviously dubious“intelligence report” started by naming the three
states under investigation as Sokoto, Delta and Cross
River (sic). Although the story was supposedly from “a
reliable source who is familiar with the intelligence
reports” – whatever that means – it is clear that
given the confusion, it could not have been Governor
Akpabio that was meant to be mentioned there.
However, since the governor was inadvertently
mentioned, may I state unequivocally that Governor
Godswill Obot Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State is not under
any known probe! Rather, he has been roundly commended
for turning Akwa Ibom State around for the better in
just seven months.
Let us tackle the allegations accordingly:
(1) According to Sahara reporters, “The intelligence
reports accuse him of contract inflation”.
However, even an elementary school pupil can see that
this allegation lacks bases. To accuse a governor of“contract inflation”, there must be a corresponding
analysis of the said contract and the correct value
stipulated – based on expert considerations like bill
of quantities, etc.
Gov Akpabio as a lawyer has unparallel regard for due
process. Again and again, he has said his
administration is a corrective one. The reason many
old politicians hate him today is because he has
refused to allow them to do “business as usual” with
state funds. He insists on due diligence and proper
monitoring of all projects to ensure realization of
completion dates. Before any contract is awarded, it
if first advertised and tenders received and
considered. Experience and ability to deliver are also
viewed. Then, everything is exhaustively discussed at
the Exco meeting, with contributions taken from all
the members before a decision is taken. Thus, there is
no room for fraudulent practice.
Indeed, Akpabio, has constantly reminded his
commissioners and aides that in these days when
governors leave offices to prison, he would rather go
home than prison. Such a man would rather be given to
meticulous, transparent processes in governance. Such
a man can not accused of contract inflation unless
somebody produces a convincing detail of what the
project should be worth.
(2) Saharareporters: “He is also cited for demanding
$10 million kickback from a U.S.-based company that
bid to set up a refinery in the state”.
Another falsehood! We presume that by “a US-based
company” the reporter was talking about the promoters
of Amakpe Refinery. If that is the case, there is need
for a little education here.
When Chief Akpabio assumed office on May, 29 2007,
there was a case in court already, involving Amakpe
Refinery and Akwa Ibom State Government. Originally,
the Government, under Arch Obong Victor Attah, had
entered into an agreement with the Amakpe promoters.
That led to the government advancing them $US10million
to initiate the processes of bringing the refinery
into reality. The promoters were then to raise money
from EXIM Bank. But they never did. Rather, they
converted the state government’s money into 20 percent
shares equity; a situation which the government felt
uncomfortable about and went to court.
Akpabio inherited that case. But convinced that the
refinery would bring development to the state and
provide jobs for the teaming population of Akwa
Ibom/Nigerian youths, he entered a fresh negotiation
with the Amakpe REfinery. The result was that the
state recovered about $US3.5 million; while the rest
are to be converted to equity shares for the state.
Where then did Akpabio demand “$10million kickback”?
(3) Saharareporters: “Governor Akpabio is also accused
of wastage of state resources in several international
trips that had no bearing on state matters”.
Please note: Chief Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State
has not traveled out of the country more than twice
since he assumed office as Governor. The first trip
was when he attended a Gulf of Guinea conference in
Holland; which ultimately had to do with the Niger
Delta question. The second trip was when he went to
New York to renegotiate terms of contract engagement
with DynCorp, the company handling the construction of
Again, note that when Akpabio resumed office, about 90
per cent of the contract sum had been paid but the
work on ground was not up to 20 per cent. The terms of
the previous contract made it possible for the company
to collect a stipulated amount of money every three
months without any process of monitoring to ensure
what it was used for.
It is worthy of note that Gov Akpabio, a prudent
manager of resources, postponed his trip to New York
for the DynCorp arrangement to coincide with the time
Samuel Peter, “the Nigerian Nightmare” for fighting
for the WBC title. Recall that it took Akpabio’s
patriotism for Nigerian to watch that match live. It
was also his presence and constant encouragement – as
confessed by Peter himself - that spur the Akwa Ibom
son to win the title.
(4) Saharareporters: “The document … noted that the
governor... has brought in some Port Harcourt-based
contractors with whom he inflates state contracts”.
Again, the latest allegation lacks merit; bases and
facts. IN fact, it does not make sense. If a governor
wants to inflate contract sum, he doesn’t need to
bring in a company from Port Harcourt before he can do
that. And for the avoidance of doubt, Akpabio has
brought in a number of world class companies like
Julius Berger, Stemco, Setraco, etc to handle the
numerous road projects in the state. However, many
other companies have been attracted by his laudable
policies; the entrenchment of peace and security in
the state, which act as a panacea for development.
For instance, as at the last count, companies like
CCC; Statoil Hydra; Sentrica; etc have all berth on
Akwa Ibom shores for one private sector driven project
Thus, a governor who has awarded road contracts – some
of them Federal roads - of about 300 kilometres at the
cost of about N77.4 billion can not be said to have
inflated costs. Even a cynic knows that the cost of
road construction in the Niger Delta is double what
obtains in other parts of the country. So, a governor
who is thus prudent deserves commendation.
By Usoro I. Usoro
Usoro I. Usoro, Chief Press Secretary to Governor