Extravagant Gov. Akpabio defends controversial wedding gifts to Tuface, wife

Left: Tuface Idibia; Right: Governor Godswill Akpabio...Photo: via google

Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State on Thursday rose in stout defence of his controversial wedding gifts to hip pop musician, Tuface Idibia, saying the gesture was to reward the musician’s wife for standing by her husband in the face of difficulties.

The governor had come under heavy criticism after he, on Friday, announced a gift of two brand new Toyota Prado SUVs to Tuface and his wife. He also reportedly promised to bankroll an all-expense paid trip for 29 delegates from the state to attend the white wedding of the couple fixed for Dubai, the United Arab Emirate on March 23.

Besides, he also hosted a lavish state dinner in honour of the couples and promised to rehabilitate the Eket-Ibeno Road ahead of the child dedication of Tuface and Annie.

But in a statement by his commissioner for information, Aniekan Umana, on Wednesday, Mr. Akpabio said he only approved a car, and not two, for the couple. He also said he only promised to sponsor 20, and not 29, wedding guests to Dubai for the couple’s white wedding.

The statement reads, “Following spurious and false speculations in the social media concerning the wedding gift by Governor Godswill Akpabio to Mrs. Annie Innocent Idibia, née Macaulay, I wish to state as follows:

“That the Governor of Akwa Ibom State Chief Godswill Akpabio, donated ONE Prado jeep to Mrs. Annie Innocent Idibia, nee Macaulay a daughter of Akwa Ibom State and renowned artist during her traditional marriage at Eket.

“That the State Governor as a token of support for the couple promised to fund the travelin expenses (economy return tickets) for ONLY TWENTY relatives of Mrs. Annie Idibia Macaulay to Dubai, where the couple have chosen to wed.

“That looking carefully at the surrounding events in perspective, Mrs. Annie Idibia, nee Macaulay is a daughter of Akwa Ibom State and the gift of a Prado SUV from her governor is only a gesture of love and goodwill. Her resolve to stand by her husband on his journey right from his days of youthful beginnings to stardom even in the face of challenges was commendable and a true attribute of the Akwa Ibom women.

“That It is however unbecoming that mischief makers and enemies of progress have decided to inflame the social media with incongruous reports that the State Government is sponsoring an

entourage of party supporters to the wedding in Dubai, when in fact the Government is only sponsoring the travel expenses of twenty of her family members at an estimated cost of roughly Three Million Naira (N3,000,000.00) only.

“I wish to therefore urge members of the public to discountenance the misrepresentations made out of a well intentioned act of the governor.”

 A self-serving ego trip

The governor had come under a hailstone of condemnation after the donations, and it is unclear whether anyone is impressed by  his explanation.

In our earlier story on this matter, many Nigerians believe the gifts were ridiculous.

“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.

“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.”

For Mr. Effanga, a donation of the funds 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.

A profligate governor

Mr. Akpabio is one of Nigeria’s most profligate governors, spending his state funds as if they were his personal wealth.

He is known to move around with huge cash taken from the state coffers, recklessly distributing them to whoever captures his fancy.


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  • Lanre

    Madness and Insanity stalks the land. From Boko Haram to Akpabio.

    • Omo Odua

      Please let Boko Hara to the Northerners. And we thank God, this governor is not a MALAM he would have been branded a BH agentOmo Odua

    • Enemona

      To pardoning of jailed treasury looters!

  • ogaokpia

    I know from hindsight that in Nigeria, when a governor, like Godswill Akpabio who earns the same budget above N470billions per year as Gov Raji Fashola of Lagos State, goes about brandishing popularity, definitely there is mischief to cover up.

    For the Holy Bible says he who must get rich quick cannot be without sin.

    Akwa Ibom State will not know the truth until Godswill Akpabio leaves office in 2015. His profilgacy has no limits. Akwa Ibom State has 1/20th people than Lagos State, has better land terrain, rural population. Yet, Akwa Ibom State gets more money than Lagos State.

    If we compare their achievements, of course the difference is clear that this man Godswill Akpabio does not tolerate any opposition, and he is misusing the state funds.

    In order to save himself from EFCC, he bambozles all of us with his rhetorics of uncommon transformation and support for misgovernance.

    Lagos State: Population 17,5million (2006 Census) Area 356,861 hectares of which 75,755 hectares are wetlands, Population Density 49,038/km2

    The population of Lagos State is estimated now to be above 21million.

    Akwa Ibom State: Population:3,9million, Area 708,100 hectares, Population Density 551/km2

  • Udo Ibuot

    Pure after-thought! Let Umana tell it to the marines. Is the girl the only one that has stood by her husband? In any case, why would the state support the decision to take the marriage outside the state and country?

    Agreed, it is a private decision and choice that no one can question. But, considering the huge public relations capital the state would have reaped from the visit to the state of millions of guests all over the world that would attend the marriage, would it not have been better if the governor had tried to persuade them to do it in Akwa Ibom, and may be take their honey moon to wherever they choose?

    If every Akwa Ibom daughter that wants to marry takes it to Dubai, who would use the so-called entertainment centres Akpabio claims to be developing in the state as part of his ‘uncommon transformation?’ Imagine a situation where only 100,000 guests are visiting Akwa Ibom for TuFace’s wedding, the collateral benefits, in terms of tourism and boost to the economy, are huge. Hotels would profit in terms of accommodation. Transporters would also benefit. The state would have scooped a major tourism boost, because those that have been hearing of the the ‘uncommon transformation’ by the governor would have the opportunity to witness it.

    • Friday

      Thank you Udo. I don’t know what is actually wrong with these people in power.

      • Omo Odua

        There is nothing wrong with them, but, the people that put them there. Because at level of governance we vote on ethnic, sectional, tribal and religious lines, that is the main problem, and for that, they continue to take us for granted or as animals. Period

  • Adoki

    If they are doing the wedding in Dubai, then it means they can afford to transport family members to the place. So why is the government picking the bills?

  • Friday

    If the controversial gift of about N10,000,000 is used to establish Annie’s Youth Empowerment Loan Scheme of N50,000 per recipient, the lives of 200 Akwa Ibom citizens who are currently working as househelps in different parts of the country will change positively for ever……………….God is on the throne.

  • Naijaa

    Another baboon in government house, if you want to share money call on me I will show you Akwa Ibomites who really need help and gifts not Tuface and wife, in a normal society Tuface and wife will question the gift but what is normal in Nigeria

  • abi

    every move made by Akpabio would be-twisted to mean-if he had used the money to create wealth within–nigeria is over 53 yrs old–we have wasted more than 55 trillion from the SS-the issue is how can such a gesture create crisis for the financial sector-oooh yee APC agents–did tinubu not ask every governor from the SW to give him 1 billion Naira to enable him celebrate his birth day bash!? That was not a waste abi

  • Ndidi

    Akpabio is a typical PDP man. He is doing all this so as to hide large money transfers to Dubai. He is doing this as a cover to loot Nigeria’s money.

  • TATA

    What is Akpabio’s romantic relationship with Annie…? just asking……

  • Beanz

    I think that Anney of a girl must be Akpabio’s Secret Lover.