PDP defends Akpabio’s N1mn per state donation, says ‘politics is very expensive’

The party deems its reconciliation and consolidation tour a huge success.

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Monday defended the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, over his controversial donation to state party chairmen from the South South region of Nigeria.

Mr. Akpabio announced the donation of N1 million each to party leaders on Sunday at a meeting of the party’s national leadership with members from the region.

“My brother (Delta) Governor, Uduaghan, said our members are hungry and that we must put food in their stomach so that they don’t stray to other parties. I am giving all the state chairmen of the party N1 million each for lunch. Our members must not be hungry,” the lavish Akwa Ibom Governor announced.

Despite the condemnations that have trailed the donation, as previous controversial ones the governor has made, the ruling PDP said it sees nothing wrong in the donation.

In a statement on Monday, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said the donation is a sign of gratitude by the party leadership to its members for the sacrifices they made in working hard for the party.

“The cost of the venue and other logistics were handled by the host governor (Amaechi of Rivers) and Governor Akpabio showed his commitment to party faithfuls by assisting them with transport allowance as well as assisting them with some welfare.

“Politics all over the world is very expensive and any gesture towards accommodating the sacrifices of the ordinary PDP faithful is important,” he said.

No governor walked out

Mr. Metuh also described as false, reports that some governors walked out of the South South reconciliation meeting.

In dismissing reports that some governors walked out of the meeting in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, Mr. Metuh said the governors took permission from the National Chairman before they left the meeting.

“No governor walked out of the meeting. Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan had an appointment to keep and duly informed the National Chairman who gave him permission to leave. Governor Chibuike Amaechi just escorted him and he also took permission from the National Chairman.

“Nobody is above the party and it is totally untrue that they walked out. Our governors are cultured and decent and therefore cannot engage in unruly acts,” he said.

The party spokesperson also said the reconciliation and consolidation tour embarked upon by the party is a huge success especially for sensitization of party members.

He said the massive turnout of Nigerians to be part of the initiative shows the enormous support and trust they had in the party.

“The initiative by the National Chairman, Dr. Bamanga Tukur to go round the six geo-political zones in the country, witnessed Nigerians coming out in their numbers to be part of the reconciliation, reformation and rebuilding agenda of the Chairman. They came to appreciate the efforts of the Chairman and show support for the party,” he said.

The party leaders were at Ibadan to meet with stakeholders in the South West. Enugu was the venue for the South East; while Rivers State hosted the South-South meeting in Port Harcourt. The party is meeting with stakeholders from the North East in Bauchi on Monday.

Mr. Metuh said the party chairman embarked on the reconciliation agenda to weld the party together to make it stronger than ever before.

“The party leadership is determined to weld the party together and is addressing the challenges facing the party. Our sensitization for reconciliation tour is recording huge success; areas of potential conflicts and challenges are being identified to facilitate full reconciliation,” he said.

He said the PDP is grateful to the media for its assistance in highlighting areas of challenges which will assist the party in providing good governance; and thanked Nigerians for their overwhelming support for the party.

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