A former president of the Ijaw National Congress, Prof Kimse Okoko has attacked the immediate past
Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio over his decision to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party for the APC.
Okoko, a former pro chancellor of the University of Uyo told TNN in an interview in Port Harcourt that Akpabio's defection decision was a disgrace to humanity. He said the former governor had lost the respect he used to have for him.
Hear him: “I have said it before now, we have no parties in Nigeria. The only three parties I can recognise in Nigeria, the SDP because they are ideologically based, then Labour and the PRP. The rest are pocket parties.
“So, my comments on Akpabio should not be seen as if I am for PDP or for the APC. But what Akpabio has done is the biggest disappointment for me. I know a bit about Akwa Ibom because when I served as pro chancellor of the University of Uyo and I had the opportunity of paying a courtesy call on Akpabio, I told him in my speech, that I was not a sycophant, but that I had seen what Akpabio had done and I was proud.
“I made those comments because of what he had done. But today, look at what he has done, a complete disgrace to humanity. I never expected that that man will do a thing like that. I won't be surprised if tomorrow, he returns to the PDP. Good luck to him with the EFCC. I am saddened and my respect for Akpabio has completely vanished. He has disappointed me and has let us down.”
He also condemned the EFCC for freezing the accounts of the state government on the same day that Akpabio defected from the PDP. He said “we have a government that is so vindictive, so dictatorial.
“I couldn't believe it that they had to do that. They just get up and can punish a state government like that? They froze of the Benue state government because Ortom did not go their way? And they are doing the same in Akwa Ibom to create discord? It is unjust.
“What they have done is terribly wrong because you are not punishing the party alone, you are punishing the entire Akwa Ibom State. If their governors have committed any crime, take them up, instead of punishing the whole state. I won't be surprised if they declare a state of emergency. What kind of government is that? Very sad indeed.”
This is coming just as the state government has pilloried Akpabio over his decision to quit the PDP. The governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel called his bluff, saying he was unperturbed by his Akpabio's defection to the APC.
Speaking after solidarity visit by local government chairmen, vice chairmen and councillors from the 31 local government areas of the state, Emmanuel noted that every person was entitled to exercise his fundamental human rights and free association.
“The political atmosphere is helping to deepen democratic governance and reinvent the consciousness of the PDP that every member would be proud of.
Information and Strategy Commissioner, Charles Udoh said at the event that “Akpabio's leaving the party is all about choices. If you talk about respect, Governor Udom Emmanuel is somebody who would not use a foul language on anybody. In public, he calls him sir, my mentor.
“Whosoever God ordained to bring Udom to power was a vessel. So, if you don't recognise that God has placed you in that position, you are playing God. You cannot play God. If he had a cogent reason, more people would have followed him. After all, he nominated 70 per cent of the members of the executive council.”
Meanwhile, Mr Ini Ememobong, the state Publicity Secretary of PDP, to the ward leadership, he said that “with the speech by Akpabio announcing his resignation from our great party, the PDP and indicating his immediate membership of the ruling party in the country, the State Executive Committee has directed the ward chairman of our party in Ukana West 2 in Essien Udim LGA of the state to delete his name from the membership register of our party.
“For the few persons (all of whom were his personal staff, relatives or former employees) whom he showcased as co-defectors, their respective ward chairmen are charged to immediately delist them from our register.
“We thank the senator for showing gratitude to us for making him who he was until his defection, but strongly reject the assertion that the entire members of the National and state assemblies were joining him- that was either a very expensive joke or an outright lie both of which we take serious exceptions to.
“The speaker and other 25 members of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly are intact, leaving him with the two members whom he introduced on that stage, while the members of the National Assembly are intact except, the Senator's representative and one other member of the House of Representatives, both of whom are having very heavy return challenges in their constituencies.
“Nigerians are watching keenly to see how the actions of the defectors will match their defection sermon. But did we hear Senator Akpabio well? When he mentioned Tropicana? We hereby demand that Senator Ben Bruce accept the challenge thrown by the former Senate Minority leader to either complete the Ibom Tropicana or give reasons why it cannot be completed, in addition to why it took so long.
“'We live in very interesting times and our political scene has become a huge theatre. We are watching the dramatis personae and will be glad to play back today, many years into the future.”