PDP Governors denounce Akpabio over N230million Otuoke gift

Godswill Akpabio
Godswill Akpabio confessed to rigging the 2007 senatorial primary elections in his state.

There are indications that profligate Akwa Ibom governor did not consult his colleagues before he made the donation.

The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, acted alone when he donated N230 million at the launching of St. Stephens Anglican Deanery and Youth Development Centre, Otuoke, President Goodluck Jonathan’s home town in Bayelsa State, some of his colleagues have said.

Although, Mr. Akpabio, who has recently become famous for his donations and gifts to various causes and individuals, announced the Otuoke donation on behalf of the PDP Governors Forum, PDPGF, an investigation by PREMIUM TIMES revealed that he did not contact many of the governors before making the donation on their behalf.

The governor was last month named chairman of the newly formed PDPGF, the creation of which was widely interpreted as a move to neutralize the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, which the Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, chairs.

Mr. Jonathan and some PDP chieftains were said to be uncomfortable with Mr. Amaechi’s leadership of the group.

Mr. Akpabio announced the donation on behalf of the 23 PDP governors while the Cross River State Governor, Liyel Imoke donated N100 million on behalf of the six South-South governors, at the event held at Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, Victoria Island.

Since there are 23 PDP governors, and Mr. Akpabio pledged N230 million, he probably pledged N10 million of behalf of each of his colleagues

About N6 billion was reportedly realized at the occasion.

Akpabio acted alone

However, some PDP governors who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES through their aides, said they were not contacted by their chairman before the donation was made; and neither did they discuss it at their last meeting in Abuja on Monday March 12.

The governors would not speak on record as they did not want to be seen as opposing the president.

A PDP governor in one of the states in the North Central geographical zone was said to be have been shocked when he read the news of the donation while going through the morning newspapers on Saturday.

“They (PDP governors) were not contacted about the donation,” the governor’s aide told PREMIUM TIMES on the condition of anonymity. “My boss got to know about it when he was going through the morning newspapers the following day and we discussed it together.”

Similarly, an aide of a governor in the South-South geo-political zone said that his principal was not informed about the donation.

A governor in the North East zone, whose media aide also spoke to PREMIUM TIMES, denied ever being informed about the donation before it was made.

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The governor however, said he believes that Mr. Akpabio would report back to them (PDP governors) at their next meeting.

Akpabio, the spendthrift

Mr. Akpabio has come under heavy bashing in the recent past over his incessant donations and arrogance.

The governor of the oil-rich Akwa Ibom State drew flak from concerned Nigerians two weeks ago when he gave a SUV to music star, Tuface Idibia, and his wife during their traditional wedding in Eket. He also promised to bankroll the trip of 20 of the bride’s relatives to the couple’s white wedding in Dubai.

Mr. Akpabio made the donation because the bride hails from his state.

Two days after he made the recent donation on behalf of the PDPGF, the governor caused a stir at the Port Harcourt reconciliation meeting of the PDP in the South-South zone when he donated N1 million each to the six chapters of the party in the zone.

He announced the donation without any prompting after his Delta State counterpart, Emmanuel Uduaghan, spoke at the occasion. Mr. Uduaghan had called for a plan of action by the leadership of the PDP to address the problem of hunger among Nigerians, mostly party members.

“My brother Uduaghan said you are hungry […] to take care of your hunger, I am donating the sum each to the South-South secretariat of PDP and I would want each of the chairmen to come and collect the sum at the end of my speech so that members could use that to buy Mr. Biggs,” the Akwa Ibom State Governor said at the meeting.

Eze Nwagwu, a member of the Civil Society Groups Working on Anti-Corruption and Good Governance said Mr. Akpabio is behaving like Nigerian leaders in the 70s.

He lambasted the governor for being extravagant without thinking of the future of the people of Akwa Ibom State.

“Some say the governor is performing but the question you ask yourself is at what cost? I have been to Uyo. The governor has not built any industry. He is not thinking of the future of his people. He is behaving like the leaders we had in the 70s,” Mr. Nwagwu told PREMIUM TIMES.

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