Ahead of the final pronouncement by the Supreme Court in a three-year old political dispute involving Bassey Albert Akpan and Bassey Etim regarding who should lawfully represent Akwa Ibom North East senatorial seat in the National Assembly, the former (Akpan) has formally admitted that he was an aspirant for 2014 Akwa Ibom State governorship election and had collected various gifts from people including a controversial car gift worth N303 million from one Jide Omokore.
His latest position contradicted his evidence before different courts in the country including the Supreme Court in the last three years, on how his name was allegedly smuggled into the list of candidates who contested the PDP primary election for the Akwa Ibom North East senatorial seat in the state.
Akpan who is representing the Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District at the Senate made the admission while trying to wriggle out of his alleged involvement in a N1.28 billion fraud against the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2014.
He had, hitherto, denied any gubernatorial ambition when the suit on his emergence as the candidate of PDP for the 2015 Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial election raged between 2015 and April 2018 but backpedalled when he was fingered as part beneficiary of a slush fund exceeding one billion naira.
It would be recalled that Etim who was declared by the federal high court as the rightful winner of the Akwa Ibom North East senatorial seat at the senate had maintained that Akpan was never an aspirant, let alone winner of Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial primary election which held on December 7, 2014 on the account that Akpan aspired for the 2014 Akwa Ibom governorship of the PDP.
Etim had produced the bank account record of Akpan indicating his payment for the gubernatorial nomination form to back up his claim.
He however added that few days before the primary election, after nomination had closed for the senatorial seat in the state, Akpan was foisted on the party as an aspirant.
He also claimed that notwithstanding the controversial nature of his entry into the Akwa Ibom North East senatorial race, Etim said he defeated Akpan and eight others in the primary poll of December 7, 2014 but that the PDP again bypassed the authentic election result and foisted Akpan as winner and candidate of the PDP in the 2015 Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial district election.
He said the trial federal high court had since established all the irregularities, voided Akpan's election and declared him the winner of the senatorial poll.
Although the Court of Appeal had voided the judgment of the federal high court, the bone of contention regarding Akpan's controversial emergence as candidate of the PDP in the 2015 Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial seat is alive before the Supreme Court.
Interestingly, ahead of the judgment of the Supreme Court on the matter, particularly on the nature of his emergence as PDP candidate for the senatorial seat, Akpan is currently contending that he not only indicated interest in the gubernatorial election of his state in 2014 but that he also collected car gifts worth N303 million from an individual.
The senator who admitted collecting the cars from Mr. Jide Omokore in a statement said that the gifts were meant to aid his 2014 governorship campaign in Akwa Ibom State.
He said, “The vehicles are gifts from Jide Omokore on the need to ensure my personal safety. I have known him for 19 years since 1997.
They are also contributions to my governorship campaigns in 2014.”
Already, the federal government had traced a number of assets to Senator Bassey Akpan and is currently before the federal high court to obtain an exparte order to temporarily forfeit them.
For instance, the senator had indicated in his Asset Declaration Form that he had no Foreign Account while at the same time he claimed to acquire his London properties with mortgage from Barclays Bank of London, without explanation on how he is repaying the alleged mortgage.
Akpan was also alleged to have palatial mansions in the United States and other countries which he allegedly concealed from the relevant authorities.
Some of the properties he allegedly acquired with funds suspected to be proceeds of crime either in person or through cronies which he failed to declare and concealing till date include properties located at 18 Jibril Aminu Crescent, Diplomatic Zone, Katampe Extension,
Abuja.5 Chu OkongwuLink, Diplomatic Zone, Katampe Extension, Abuja. Others are 11 Bola Ajibola Crescent, Diplomatic zone, Katampe Extension, Abuja. 22 Road, D-Close Gwarimpa Estate by Charlie Boy,
Gwarimpa District, Abuja, No. 8 Unit B, D Line Ewet Housing Estate, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, a 3 storey building (Hostel) of about 28 rooms located at UdoEtte Street, off Ikpa Road, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, a twin Storey Building. No 4, Nsikak Eduok Avenue. Uyo, Akwa Ibom and Tantalizers PLC. No 151 Olusegun Obasanjo Way, Opposite Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat, Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State.