Our attention has been drawn to the mischievous and misguided vituperations of a politically- motivated call by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) for the arrest and investigation of Distinguished Senator Godswill Akpabio.
It should be noted that these incessant calls and smear campaigns against Akpabio started shortly before his nomination by President Muhammadu Buhari as a Minister-designate and was amplified immediately thereafter.
An indepth but independent investigation into the false allegations of SERAP reveals that they are not only economical with the truth, but have become an appendage and willing tool in the hands of vendetta-seeking, dubious and desperate politicians. We are aware that a certain public servant currently serving in President Buhari’s government, having failed in his lobbying for ministerial appointment is disgruntled and has resorted to inundating media houses and venal civil society groups with spurious claims of graft against Senator Godswill Akpabio, a minister-designate from Akwa Ibom State.
This veiled, sub-terranean antics of this known politician includes leading campaigns of vicious calumny replete with malicious intent to traduce the character of a man who has been vindicated by his proven records of inimitable and outstanding performance.
For the avoidance of doubt, it is vital to mention here that Senator Godswill Akpabio was neither the contractor nor was he involved in the contract execution process. Secondly, the supplies of hospital equipments, provision of solar- powered boreholes, VIP toilets, construction of markets across the 10 local government areas of Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial district, donation of skills acquisition/recreational centers are all eloquent expressions of Senator Akpabio’s stellar performance just in four years. To further demonstrate his magnanimity and undying love for his people beyond boundaries, Akpabio donated an ambulance with medical components comprising 150 (One hundred and fifty) mattresses and pillows to the Cottage hospital in Ibiono -Ibom local goverment area where Senator Ita Enang hails from. Others include staff executive chairs, air-conditioners, etc.
It should be noted also that the above mentioned hospital equipment and facilities donated to Ibiono- Ibom local goverment area is situated in Uyo senatorial district where Senator Godswill Akpabio neither hails from nor represent. In furtherance of his uncommon gesture of positively touching and affecting the lives of his people in the most uncommon ways, he extended life touching and transformational facilities and amenities to the third Senatorial District (Eket Senatorial District) where he built, renovated and furnished dilapidated classroom blocks with state of the art borehole and water storage facilities in Community Secondary School, Udung-Uko Local Government Area. In Governor Udom Emmanuel’s Onna Local Government Area, still in Eket Senatorial District where Senator Akpabio neither hails from nor represents, Awa Comprehensive Health Centre received the following:
150 Pieces of Standard Hospital Mattresses, 300 Pieces of Patient Pillows, 300 Pieces of Bedsheets and Blankets, 150No Hospital Beds, Supply of Drugs for Primary Health Centre, 30No Standard Drip Stands, 20No Ward Screen, 20No Drugs Trolleys, 1No Ambulance with 102Hp Petrol engine, 6No Split Unit Air Conditioners, 1No Wheel Chair, 1No Hematology Analyzers (Abacus 380), 1No Chemistry (STAT TAX330), 1No Dectrolyte Analyzers (IONYTL), 1No Elisa Systems(STAT FAX 4200, MICRO PLATE READER), 1No Microbiology (LISA SCAM EM ERBA),1No Blood Bank (COOL STORAGE INSTRUMENTS), 1No Urinanalysis Machine (Urinanalysis URD – DIPCHECK 240E), 1No Pharmacy Refrigerator(IPR225 HELMER PHARMACY REFRIGERATOR), 1No Biosafety Cabinet (LAMIL PLUS 7), 2No Microscope (BINOCULAR MICROSCOPE THEIA – 1), Purchase and Supply of Consumables at Cottage Hospital, Awa Iman, Onna Local Government Area of Eket Senatorial District.
110 Pieces of Standard Hospital Mattresses, 220 Pieces of Patient Pillows, 110 Pieces of Bedsheets and Blankets, 110 Hospital Beds, Supply of Drugs for Primary Health Centre, 30 No Standard Drip Stands, 20 No Ward Screen, 20 No Drugs Trolleys, 1 No Ambulance with 102Hp Petrol engine, 6No Split Unit Air Conditioners, 1No Wheel Chair, 1No Hematology Analyzers (Abacus 380), 1No Chemistry (STAT TAX330), 1No Dectrolyte Analyzers (IONYTL), 1No Elisa Systems(STAT FAX 4200, MICRO PLATE READER), 1No Microbiology (LISA SCAM EM ERBA),1No Blood Bank (COOL STORAGE INSTRUMENTS), 1No Urinanalysis Machine (Urinanalysis URD – DIPCHECK 240E), 1No Pharmacy Refrigerator (IPR225 HELMER PHARMACY REFRIGERATOR), 1No Biosafety Cabinet (LAMIL PLUS 7), 2No Microscope (BINOCULAR MICROSCOPE THEIA – 1), Purchase and Supply of Consumables at Community Hospital, Ikot Uba, Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area, Uyo Senatorial District, Akwa Ibom State.
Shortly after Senator Akpabio’s uncommon defection of August 8th 2018, he empowered his constituents with two hundred and fifty thousand naira each, and about four hundred and fifty farmers benefited from this gesture in collaboration with Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, (SMEDAN).
It is noteworthy to also state without any fear of contradiction that one thousand, two hundred men and women (1200) received one hundred thousand naira cash gift each (#100,000) for entrepreneurship development of various vocations geared towards poverty alleviation and development of the local economy on June 8, 2019 in a closing ceremony of his exit from the 8th Senate.
In early January 2019, eleven thousand six hundred (11,600) beneficiaries obtained ten thousand naira (#10,000) each alongside startup packs in collaboration with the National Directorate of Employment, (NDE) and Future Assured Programme, a pet project of the Wife of Mr. President, again not limited to the Senatorial District of Senator Akpabio.
Not yet done with his people, Senator Akpabio donated Scholarship awards to two hundred and seventy-four indigent students (274) at the independence hall Abak with each going home with one hundred thousand naira (#100,000), another milestone in the promotion of academic excellence
Available documentary evidence in the public domain, sequel to our painstaking investigations revealed that the Border Communities Development Agency saddled with the onerous task and responsibility of ensuring the execution of sustainable socio-economic and infrastructural development of border communities in Nigeria which handled some of Senator Akpabio’s constituency projects has in a letter dated July 16th 2019 with reference number BCDA/PDI/CONST/17/139 through its director in charge of projects development and implementation, Mallam Farouk Maitarure, clarified unequivocally that the contractor had performed the supply of the said hospital equipment in full as contained in the bill of quantities though payment by the Agency is yet to be fully liquidated.
From the foregoing, it is crystal clear that Senator Akpabio has not only accomplished his mandate to justify the confidence reposed in him by his people but expanded the frontiers of benevolence for the positive transformation of Akwa Ibom State.
Against this background, we frown at SERAP’s orchestrated cheap blackmail and brazen display of infantile mischief.
We caution SERAP to refrain from allowing itself to be used as a willing tool in the hands of attention-seeking, desperate politicians. Senator Akpabio, instead of vilification, deserves due commendation for his meaningful contributions to the growth and development of his people to encourage people-centred programmes and policies of Governement. His gestures and magnanimity are indeed worthy of emulation.
We challenge SERAP therefore, to prove its claim without which we will be compelled to seek lawful redress against their spurious, irrational and irritating tissue of blatant lies.
We urge SERAP to ponder on the illustrative and the illuminating words of the former Prime Minister of Britain who averred that ‘truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end there it is’ and I add, unshaken as the northern star..
Finally, it needs not be over-emphasized that beyond all doubt, Senator Godswill Akpabio remains an uncommon performer with undying love for Nigerians, any day any time.
Leo Ekpenyong (Esq)
Professor Itse Sagay, Chairman BOT, SERAP/Chairman Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC)