Gov Akpabio under fire over “outrageous” wedding gifts to Tuface Idibia, wife

Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom

Friday’s presentation of two SUVs to Nigerian hip pop star, TuFace Idibia, and wife, Annie Macaulay, by Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio, at their traditional wedding, has got a lot of Nigerians railing at the profligacy  of public officials.

Mr. Akpabio had stunned guests that thronged the Apostolic High School, Esit Urua Community venue, along Eket-Ibeno Road, for the traditional wedding of the celerity couple with the announcement of a donation of two brand new Toyota Prado SUVs to them.

The lucky couple are also to travel in the luxury of the company of 29 delegates from Akwa Ibom to the United Arab Emirate, UAE, courtesy of the governor, who also promised to throw the state’s treasury open to bankroll an all-expense paid trip for the white wedding scheduled for March 23 in Dubai.

The Eket-Ibeno Road, which has remained in a bad state for a long time, is to be fully rehabilitated before the next child dedication ceremony of the couple, the governor said.

Although a couple of loyalists commended the governor, commonly derisively called “the uncommon transformer” in the state, for his reckless spending of state funds, a cross-section of other Nigerians have described the gesture as “misplaced priority”, “wasteful” and “abuse of public trust” in the management of state resources.

No official justification

The state Commissioner for Information, Aniekan Umanah, did not respond to calls and text messages by PREMIUM TIMES for official explanation regarding why the governor made the extravagant gesture in a state where salaries to civil servants are known to be consistently irregular.

A supporter of the governor, Egondu Okorie, was excited about the governor’s gesture, expressing disappointment in his Facebook page at those he said were making “shallow minded comments”, which he noted would not happen in civilized societies.

Another supporter, Ikazoboh Victor, blamed poverty for the comments by some of the governor’s critics, who condemned the donation, saying that “there is no big deal about just two SUVs as wedding gift”.

A self-serving ego trip

But not everybody is impressed, with some describing the gifts as outrageous.

“This is absolute rubbish”, an apparently angry Mary Udom said. “These (Tuface and wife) are no poor people. I don’t see why Akpabio is doing such a thing. If it were an ordinary man’s wedding, he (Akpabio) won’t even send a gift, talkless of giving cars.”

For Obo Effanga, Governance Manager, Action Aid Nigeria, the governor’s action is embarrassing, as it defeats the purpose for good governance, particularly in the allocation of resources.

“This is very embarrassing indeed! If governance is about being in a position to take decisions in the interest of the people of the state, when a governor allocates public resources to individuals because of their closeness to him, how does this enhance that purpose and the interest of the ordinary citizens in the state, on whose behalf the governor claimed he was making the donation?,” Mr Effanga said.

“It is even awkward that he donated two different cars to the couple, who, by virtue of their wedding, are supposed to be one in line with the marriage principle. He could as well have donated two different houses to them, as if he wants them to live separately!

“If the governor was doing this with his personal resources, which is very doubtful, nobody would be complaining. As if that is not enough, the state is going to bear the cost of 29 officials travelling to Dubai for the wedding.

“This amount could have been enough to do something more useful to the society. It could buy several volumes of books for University of Uyo that has been crying of funding challenges. That amount could sponsor a lot drugs that could be dispensed to citizens free,” he added.

Spokesman for the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, Rotimi Fashakin, said it is such profligate and reckless spending of available resources at their disposal by governors from the Niger Delta region that has made the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, to suffer a long delay at the National Assembly till today.

According to Mr. Fashakin, if it were his personal resources, Mr. Akpabio would not do what he did, but having realised that Akwa Ibom earns a lot, based on 13 percent derivation, he could afford to spend on anything that catches his fancies.

He said, “This type of financial recklessness from governors of oil rich states is another reason militating against the passage of the PIB. The 10 per cent being proposed for the host communities is seen as superfluous if this type of unimaginable imprudence becomes second nature for some of these governors. This type of anti-people expenditure is only symptomatic of a leader that emerged through the subversion of the people’s will and desire.”

For Tope Fasua, an Abuja-based public affairs commentator, such behaviours are clearly as a result of lack of vision by our leaders.

“The Bible says the people perish for lack of vision and knowledge. Akpabio lacks vision, because he is on an ego trip. He thinks he has arrived. But, the truth is that despite the huge oil money that goes to the state every month, the rate of poverty still affects 80 per cent of the population.

“Nobody is thinking about the fact that the price of oil could crash. That is what economists call the tragic choice in Akpabio’s behaviour. All that would unravel soon.”

Calculating cost versus value index

A return ticket, Lagos-Dubai-Lagos, on Emirates flight is about $806 (about N126,542.00) for one person; and when multiplied by at least 35 people, made up of the 29 delegates, the couple and their parents, or representatives, the total cost for tickets and other protocol arrangements, like visa application fees, would be about N5million.

It is not clear if the governor would prefer a chartered flight arrangement or the use of his private jet to guarantee executive comfort for the delegation.

To take care of the transport and accommodation of the delegation, it is not also clear if the protocol arrangement would opt for an Executive Limousine option and a top of the range hospitality arrangement befitting the status of a pop star by going for a $2,000 per room per night lodging in a five-star hotel, which might cost about $300,000 (about N47 million) for at least a four-day stay.

Other exigencies, including at least $3,000 for each delegate as estacode ($105,000), about N16.5million, and other bookings for the wedding proper and reception, would gulp about N10million.

Conservative estimates show that by the time the couple returns to Nigeria at the end of the trip to Dubai, a minimum of N100million, including the cost of the two SUVs, would have gone from the state treasury for the project.

For Mr. Effanga, a donation of N100million to the University of Uyo would have gone a long way in relieving the university l of its funding constraint, which Vice Chancellor Comfort Ekpo, told the visiting Senate Committee on Education last week is affecting the development of the institution.

“If the amount to be spent on the ego trip to Dubai were to be invested in the provision of books to school libraries, medical facilities in hospitals or boreholes to communities in the state, including the musician’s new wife’s village, many citizens would derive more utilitarian value from the expenditure,” the activist noted.






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  • lagos man

    It is very unfortunate that a state that has her citizens all over the country as house helps and maiguards is burning cash as if there’s no tomorrow.Well,that emperor of a governor to me looks like a candidate for EFCC.

    • KickBack

      Shut up my friend, find something decent to say. Be true to yourself, the best knowledge yo have of the Akwa Ibom people in 21st century is that many are servants? Idiot. Sick brains like you would jump at the opportunity of cashing your own, if ever chanced to meet the goat called Akpabio…

    • Osagix aibuedefe

      True Talk my broda ? This is for Real.
      No Harm intended.

    • paul

      Akpabio was a 419ier AND he still think in that way.

      His state still produces the highest house girls and boys who are also very criminal minded as well, when you employed them they will duplicate your keys and wait for you to trust them b4 they hit you hard.

      They will also find away to sleep with the husband as to get their trust.

      In addition they uses charms to seduce the madam of the house and if care is not taking they will poison her.

      Above all they are all AIDS carries.

      • Hickey

        You sound floored already.Stick your nose down and show respect.Trust, Akwa Ibom is far ahead of your state and can’t beat that. Stop patronizing a few criminals and generalizing what you don’t know. Anyways, no Nigerian group compares in terms of fiendishness and criminality than the Yorubas and the Igbos respectively. So rest your case

      • 2face

        @paul To be factual all Governors are guilty of scamming the ordinary people…Its not only Akwa Ibom that his young girls are prostitute…Poverty is raging everywhere in the country and it driving people to find an alternative….Akpabio may decided to embezzle all the state treasury or even empty it no law would prosecute him …we have daft and corrupt senate and the useless house of rep…they are only there to share the country’s money instead of amending the Constitution and the land use act ….hmmm their act for years caused the insurgent of the Boko Haram ….we need revolution bloody revolution…developed countries went through it and their unborn children are enjoying now ,, Nigerians fear death and people die everyday cause of the corruption…..

        • MB

          Best analyst, wish many will reason like you

  • Doyin

    Thou shalt not judge.But if it were to be true that this guy is spending the public fund on all this ,his State Assemly should make him to give an account on every dime that was recklessly spent and be forced to refund all.
    .But in otherwords this is Nigeria,Hopeless and Reckless people like Gov.Akpabio always ended up mocking the rests of the poor peple.I have always had a second thought about this particular governor that he seems to me to be a FANTASMA.!!!

  • kicback02

    be sure u know what u’re doing. being house helps and maiguards as u said is better than stealing or frauding…leave us alone ad mind ur business..u should have better say some of them than saying all..after all corruption is everywhere in Nigeria so to say…so when writing to the public be very careful…and some of them are even better off than u and your entire family..

  • thepeopleofnigeria

    Madness! Just pure madness. Every day for the criminal Governor … one day for the people. And soon too ….

  • Naijaa

    You can be asured that this criminals in government houses will not go free at the end of the day the people are wiser

  • igbiki

    Akwa-Ibom, the most educationally and economically backward state in southern Nigeria is wasting its God-given derivation fund on frivolities.

    If it wasn’t for the 13% derivation on oil, Akwa-Ibom would be worse off than Kebbi state

    But inspite of its oil wealth, I don’t see any differences between Akwa-Ibom and Kebbi states in terms of developmental and infractstructural backwardness.

    • Sepsis

      Akwa Ibom educationally backward? Nothing speaks of the sick ignorance of your soul than that claim…Read up fool, if you can, and save your hate. Akwa Ibom, and its people, will forever forge far ahead of wherever you come from. On authority!

    • Picker

      You are obviously sharing a very warped personal impression.What do you know of Akwa Ibom?Tell where Igbiki is from, and lets compare the educational sophistry of both sides.Rest, hear me, rest for you good…

  • igbiki

    From Lagos to Ibadan, Owerri to Onitsha, Aba to Port Harcourt majority of the maiguards, house-helps, water-fetchers, dish-washers, hawkers, prostitutes etc, are from Akwa-Ibom state.

    Add the lack of basic education, overwhelming superstious beliefs and child witches problem and you’d know what @lagos man is talking about.

    • KickBack

      You know nothing about this subject friend. Nigerian prostitutes who line Italian suburbs are Akwa Ibom girls right? Where do you get your rants about education from? Check around all higher schools from Maiduguri to Kebbi, to Port Harcourt to Gboko-after Igbos&Yorubas, next group you’d see, are Akwa Ibom(and never forget they are just one state, competing well of with Yorubas or Igbos with average of six states each). So like I said earlier, Shut up! You know nothing!

      • igbiki

        Nobody is talking about Italy here bro, those over there are from Edo state. From your line of argument its clear the subject matter being discussed here is way beyond your league and comprehension.

  • Akpabio

    This is absolute trash! If Akpabio is not spending state funds judiciously then who is? Akpabio is fund of promoting and supporting his own. When Samuel Peter was boxing champ Akpabio paraded him everywhere as pride of Akwa Ibom. What he is doing to for Tuface’s wife is not any different. Just pray that your governors will support talent like Akpabio does instead of player hating Tuface

  • Mamman Bako

    What other evidence does EFCC need to put this man on notice of prosecution? This is a brute display of corruption and social insensibility. My respect for this man has just evaporated.

  • beeh

    May God help us in Nigeria, †ђع people that needs their help will not be helped, else they prefer to render eye service to comfortable people and for what? Rubbish

  • Ifeoma G

    I don’t think the English dictionary has a suitable word to describe Mr Akpabio’s action. This is the height of irresponsibility and insensitivity to the needs of the masses.

  • igbiki

    Picker & Sepsis. You fools and dunces, sentiments apart, where else in Nigeria are children labeled witches and killed and vesico vaginal fistula rampant. 1. Akwa-Ibom. 2. Akwa-Ibom and Sokoto.

    Abia or Delta state governor did not on behalf of himself his wife, children and the good peoples of its respective states give gifts from state funds to the daughter of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala when she married.

    This goes to show how backward you people still are!

    • Where is your evidence that children are labelled witches and killed in Sokoto, and the state is only second to Akwa-Ibom?

      • igbiki

        Please re-read first paragraph. I wasn’t talking about child witches when I mentioned Sokoto state. It’s copied, amended and pasted for your easy comprehension:- “where else in Nigeria are 1. children labeled witches and killed and
        2. vesico vaginal fistula rampant. 1. Akwa-Ibom. 2. Akwa-Ibom and Sokoto states”.

  • Mustapha

    Good. Look at the issue now, this is the Chairman of PDP Governors Forum!!!!!!! This tell us what PDP want to make Nigeria and Nigerians. It is really too unfortunate for Nigeria. May GodAlmighty save us from these rascals, Cabals, Thugs etc.

  • Double Honour

    This is a disgrace!

  • Double Honour

    I was just falling in love with this governor for his recent statement on the Nigeria’s fake policy on the RRR and wickedness against the eastern Nigeria. He made one of the greatest statements I have ever heard since I was born last weekend on why the demonic FG left the east that was totally destroyed and went to build flyovers, etc in Lagos and Abuja. Every Nigerian should listen to Akpabio’s speech last i Uyo. He also said that a malnourished child in a film was himself during the war against a people by Nigeria, USA and demonic Britain.The VCD should be produced and circulated all over the country.

  • malabresse

    Malabite………e! Action.

  • Made

    Tragic, calamity, catastrophic,disaster!!!!, This is emblematic of the low mentality of the average Nigerian Politician and a sad commentary of the socio-economic and ethical nadir, quicksand and mire to which this country has sunk! !! If you guyes are wondering why Akwa Ibom and even Nigeria has hit rockbottom, rudderless, effete and directionless, look no further that the replication of these kind of puerile actions nationwide!, No wonder we are and will continue to be the laughing stock in Africa and the entire world!, Ride on Godswill Jean Bokassa Akpabio