The Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Onofiok Luke, has offered to lend political support to President Muhammadu Buhari on one condition – the president must fight for the recovery of the Nigeria’s economy with the same vigour he is fighting against corruption.
Mr. Luke belongs to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which is in control of the state, while Mr. Buhari is of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
The speaker, in a recent radio interview in Uyo, gave Mr. Buhari thumbs up for his anti-corruption war but said the president needed to do more on the economic front.
“I thank God that he has been able to put that fear in public officials when they handle public finances,” Mr. Luke said in the interview. “For that, I give kudos to President Buhari.
“If he continues this way and do(es) a few other things, I think he will be assured of my vote for a second term.
“Mr. President should put it (the anti-corruption war) side by side with economic recovery.”
The speaker said he could not support Mr. Buhari in the 2015 presidential election because he was not the candidate of the PDP. But he would do so now “because patriotism to the country is greater than patriotism to the party”.
“He is the president of my country, and he is anointed by God to run this country, so I give him my support.”
Mr. Luke however stressed that it was difficult for the hungry Nigerians to continue to support the president’s war against corruption, adding that Mr. Buhari should look beyond party lines to pick capable hands for his economic team.
The speaker’s declaration of support for President Buhari’s anti-corruption war is in contrast with the action of the Akwa Ibom state government which obtained an order from a state high court last year, barring the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, and the Inspector General of Police from investigating the finances of the state government.
The state Attorney-General, Uwemedimo Nwoko, who obtained the injunction which was later vacated by the court, had told PREMIUM TIMES that the federal government did not have the constitutional backing to investigate a federating unit.
The EFCC in 2015 had arrested the immediate past governor of the state, Godswill Akpabio, over the alleged theft of N108.1billion belonging to the state. He was released without charges.
Mr. Akpabio, who is now the Senate Minority Leader, is considered the most influential PDP leader in the oil-rich state.
The speaker, Mr. Luke, has publicly admitted on several occasions that he is Mr. Akpabio’s “political son”.