PDP defends Akpabio over election rigging video

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

Opposition, civil society and others are denouncing the governor.

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has come out in strong defence of one its governor’s, Godswill Akpabio, who confessed to rigging the party’s primary election in the northwestern senatorial district of the state in 2007.

However, opposition parties and civil society organizations expressed outrage over the governor’s action and confession, saying in sane societies and democracies, Mr. Akpabio should have been kicked out of office.

Mr. Akpabio had confessed that he manipulated PDP primary election in the district in favour of Aloysius Etuk in 2007.

The governor, who made the open confession during the “Good Governance Tour” led by the Information Minister, Labaran Maku, to the state, said, “The people of Ikono and Ini (LGA) from 1960 have never produced a senator. I used my own hand to strike out the name of the person who has won before, and I said it is important for me to give that region a senator in 2007, and I produced Senator Aloysius Etok for you; that is where he comes from.”

Mr. Etuk, who subsequently won the main election that year, is currently in his second term in the Senate. During his first term, the senator served as the Chairman of the Committee on Appropriation of the upper legislative chamber.

PDP defends its own

The PDP spokesman, Olisa Metuh, told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview that the video clip in which the governor said he manipulated the primary election was doctored; adding that it was an attempt to ridicule the governor who he said is a great and loyal member of the party.

“We have already raised the alarm that some people are targeting Gov Akpabio and put him to public ridicule. This video, which from all intent and purpose is doctored evidence, is proof of what we have said before,” Mr. Metuh said.

” The video, I must say, however, is a poor attempt at ridiculing one of the giants of the party. We are happy with his performance in Akwa Ibom State and he is a great and loyal member of the PDP.”

Opposition parties condemn

In its reaction, the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, said it was not surprised by Mr. Akpabio’s confession of manipulating the electoral process, which it described as “the order of the day” in the governor’s party, PDP.

“That is the characteristic of PDP. It is the order of the day in the party. The governor made that confession because he doesn’t feel he has done anything wrong. PDP thrives on imposition; it is not practicing democracy; there is no internal democracy in PDP,” spokesman for the party, Emma Eneukwu, told PREMIUM TIMES.

Mr. Eneukwu urged the PDP leadership to allow internal democracy prevail in the party, warning that its undemocratic posture could derail the country’s democracy.

Rotimi Fashakin, who speaks for the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, observed that the Akwa Ibom governor merely lived up to the expectation of the ruling PDP whose members cannot come to power except by rigging.

“If PDP chieftains don’t do that, how will they come to office?” Mr. Fashakin asked. “They only come to office by rigging. PDP has a rigging culture. And that is what they are trying to do with APC. They see it as a conglomerate of parties that will give them a run for their money.”

On what should be done to check rigging of elections by party leaders, the CPC spokesman said, “The only way we can curb this is that everybody within the polity should be serious. This is about our nation; it affects the fundamentals of our land. It is the plank on which democracy rest. We must ensure that the sanctity of our electoral process so that we have a better lease of life. There should be one man one vote; there should be transparency in the electoral process because that is where the future of our nation lies.”

Mr. Fashakin’s equal in the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Lai Mohammed, said anyone who is familiar with the ruling party would not be surprised by what the Akwa Ibom Governor confessed he did.

“I’m not surprised. I don’t know why people are surprised. Anyone who is familiar with the PDP should not be surprised,” the ACN spokesman stated. “Was it not the same PDP in the case of Amaechi that he had to go to Supreme Court to be declared governor?

“They are serving their pay masters. Akpabio is defending the indefensible. Is he saying the video was staged? I know that PDP will implode, it is a matter of time,” he said.

The interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Maxi Okwu, who was equally vexed by Mr. Akpabio’s action, called for the governor’s removal from office.

According to him, in saner societies and democracies, the governor would be impeached for interfering in an electoral process to deny the people of the senatorial district the choice they made.

“There is something wrong with us. In a more developed democracy, for somebody occupying such an office should leave office, he should be impeached for displaying such impunity,” Mr. Okwu told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview.

The APGA chairman said that Nigerian politicians are not adhering to the rules of the game, stressing, “In civil rule, you should play to the rules. In football, you play to the rules, you don’t score goals offside, and in boxing, you don’t hit below the belt. But in politics in Nigeria, we don’t play to the rules and that is the tragedy of our democracy. That is why I say we are in civil rule and not democracy.”

Civil society reacts

The Alliance for Credible Election in its reaction, said Mr. Akpabio’s action and confession is a reflection of the loss of value in the Nigerian society.

According to Emma Ezeazu, its General Secretary, “They are being audacious and shameless. They feel election rigging is a thing of glory, they think it is something to celebrate. That is the kind of orientation our leaders have. It shows the level of the loss of value in our society. They don’t care that they have being trampled on those values. They celebrate negative values.”

He said the Akwa Ibom governor cannot be punished by INEC because it was an internal affair of the PDP.

Mr. Ezeazu, however, said the electoral process could be more democratic if parties avoid the imposition of candidates, adding that his organisation would continue to urge them to do so.

Also expressing anger over Mr. Akpabio’s confession, Ezenwa Nwagwu of the Civil Society Groups of Anti-Corruption and Good Governance said, “The governor and his mannerism have come to symbolize the current challenges of Nigeria’s ruling elite and why they have been so incapable of bringing a modern state. The corner stone of a modern state is rule of law and respect for one another.

“They believe in might is right. They use force of personal example that their offices provide for the service of evil. So, basically, that it not the first time the ruling elite is behaving in that manner. Others have said before that they have been responsible for others coming to power. The current reign of impunity is because there are no sanctions. You have a leadership that tolerates impunity.”

In his view, an Abuja-based lawyer, Kabiru Dodo, noted, “The comment by the governor is unbecoming of a person of his standing. The essence of conducting party primaries is to select leaders that can provide leadership and promote good governance, so where one comes from matters not.

“The goal should be to ensure the person is competent. So for him to say he replaced a genuine winner with another person simply to appease a certain community is totally wrong.”

Asked if the aspirant whose name was struck out by the governor could reclaim his mandate six years after, Mr. Dodo said “If the person whose name was struck out decides to challenge that action in court I believe he will be successful because the issue of time lapse does not arise. The Electoral Act has not made provision for a time frame within which litigation can commence on a pre-election matter.”


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  • blogNaija

    WHAO! there were expert doctors (quoting PDP) and whenever their elected/selected officials are ill, they are flown to Germany, UK and US?

    any man can fall. that you did well is not bad but allowing it to get into the head is the error. the governor seems to have lost the grip of controlling the pride in accomplishment. pple admires the gov not b’cos they get anything (monetary or otherwise) from him but seeing that he was able to take care of his state/pple more than most leaders in other state.

    mr. gov watch you step. you seems to be the pilot of your predicament. life & death is in the power of the tongue!

    don’t fall; it will be a show of hopelessness in leadership in Nigeria.

  • Tobibs

    See the animal saying the “video” was doctored! Crazy Country

  • Anonymous

    If Metuh says the video was doctored, what happened to millions of NIgerians and foreigners who watched the good governance tour and heard him make the comments LIVE. Or is the PDP going to doctor the tape in NTA’s archives? Nigerians have enough proof to know that the PDP will never ever win any credible election in Nigeria. The NBA should have started trials to suspend this cheating lawyer already! Obviously, he’s an emperor in his state and has speaker and chief judge in his pockets! shame on those house of assemblies that exist to only pick up food that drops off the plate of their governor, after swearing oaths to investigate and supervise the people’s commonwealth. NIGERIA MUST CHANGE THIS CORRUPT SYSTEM THAT ALLOWS GOVERNORS PRODUCE SPEAKERS AND SENATORS AND HIJACK IT’S TIERS OF GOVERNMENT! That’s where change should start.

    • Enemona

      The live video was doctored too. PDP gangsters don’t reason like you do, you need to understand that.

  • Metuh is correct-Dont mind them ojare! Nigerians from every walk of life knows ACN aka-APC can do anything to pull Akpabio down-A zone which has never produced a law maker since independence was given a chance and some are saying Akpabio was wrong to have produced an Obama in the Zone? It was PDP primaries-and not national elections! I think some need to see a doctor-was Tinubu not accused of similar offence when he imposed his wife, daughter and in-laws on the electorate? Akpabio should be commended-just as the president must be honored and appreciated by all lovers of justice-for pardoning Alams-How many governors did obj jail for corruption in 9ja apart from alams-None!

    • Ide4u

      Just say Ijaw or South-South people like you from every walk of life who buys into Akpabio or Olisa Metuh’s mischievous deception. If you don’t believe what came out of Akpabio’s mouth, will you believe whatever anybody says about him?

    • Enemona

      “…an Obama in the Zone”? “….the president must be honored and appreciated by all lovers of justice-for pardoning Alams” Are you serious???? How do you come up with these words? You reason like martians, congrats!

  • deri

    only a pig headed fool will listen to this nonsense-was tinubu not the person who installed his wife and son in law-in an election in lagos state- Again-which law in nigeria says the governor has no right to nominate a candidate for elections–this was party primaries–not INEC ELECTIONS OOH NAIJAS