October 1, 2023

TNN Newspaper

a commitment to responsible journalism

OBA Saga: Show How A’Ibom LG Chairmen Bought 31 Buses For Umo Eno’s Guber Campaigns And They Will Go In For It -Commissioner

7 min read
Spread the love



Ini Ememobong is commissioner for Information, Akwa Ibom State. His friend and brother, Senator Albert Akpan is in jail over a crime committed when he was finance commissioner in the state. Now, there are accusing fingers pointed at the direction of the state governor, Udom Emmanuel, that he has a hand in the senator’s travails. Some Akwa Ibom people have also alleged that the governor’s aides had announced the verdict of the court against OBA, even before the court did so.


But Ememobong who has been defending the governor, told TNN that those who think along that line were ignorant. He also said those accusing the PDP candidate, Pastor Umo Eno of receiving gift of campaign buses from local government chairmen in the state should show proof, that the funds came from the coffers of the local government, before the chairmen can be tried in court for misappropriation of funds.




Ogonis Kick Over Decaying Public Schools

You issued a statement recently after Senator Albert Akpan was jailed and you tried to exonerate the state governor of blames over the senator’s plight. There have been concerns that some of the governor’s aides already knew the outcome of the trial even before the judgment day, hence their prediction on facebook, that the senator was going to be jailed and would be sent to Ikot Ekpene prison. Are you still maintaining that position in the midst of these allegations?
You see, my statement wasn’t absolving. Absolving will mean that there was even something that could be held on to. My statement was simply explaining how impracticable it was to accuse the state governor. So, as to the issue of poor knowledge, if you also check the Facebook page of supporters of Senator Albert, they have said he will come out. So, (laughs) did you also know? You see, when people go to court, and incidentally none of the people involved are a party to the case, to be quoted. None of them is a lawyer to the state government or to Albert.


The lawyers know what to do. As lawyers, you don’t pre-empt the court, but there are two courts- the court of law and the court of public opinion. In the court of public opinion, the rule of evidence does not apply. So, people carelessly say things without knowing the implication of those things. That the person who says oh my person will win, the consequence of that, when you look at conviction, it is common knowledge. Immediately you are convicted in Akwa Ibom, it’s Ikot Ekpene prison you are going to, because Ikot Ekpene prison will have to protect you for the 14 days because of the COVID protocol. The court now determine whether to transfer you to Uyo or they will transfer you to Port Harcourt.



So, it is common knowledge that if someone is convicted in Uyo, of an imprisonable offense, the prison of first entry is Ikot Ekpene prison.


I’m Not A Thief


Yeah, but I think the concern here is that that statement came from somebody who is working with the governor.
(Cuts in) But I have also put it to you that supporters of Albert had also written on their Facebook pages that he will be set free. So, assuming the judgment had set him free, would it now be fair to say that they had foreknowledge? Now, apart from that, if you had followed the case, what are the ingredients of the offence? So if you admit the ingredient of an offence, while it is not right for lawyers and party to predict the the judgement but the person you are referring to is not a lawyer in the matter, he’s not a party in the matter, that he is working for Governor Udom Emmanuel, has this same person not been denied before by the chief press secretary when he spoke about the governor? So, doesn’t he have an individual opinion? Must every opinion be credited to, so when he speaks, assuming he is a minister in church and he preaches in his church, is that Governor Udom Emmanuel preaching? And the state government of Udom Emmanuel, he is only an aide to the governor on matters relating to the governor and the state, he is from Eket Local Government and assuming he has a boundary issue with his village and another village and he takes a position on it and publishes his position, would that be fair to say that it’s the governor’s decision on that matter?



There is another concern that on that judgement day, a state government vehicle was used to convey officials of the EFCC and DSS to and from the court. Was that also a coincidence?
Did you see that? What do you mean by government vehicle? So, if a white bus, because I have heard a few persons say. Is Akwa Ibom State Government the only owners of white buses? So, any white bus now belongs to the government? Does EFCC, the prison, don’t they have their vehicles? Who doesn’t know that EFCC has white buses and they operate unmarked number plate white buses?


Those are presumptions. Well, like I wrote, the conviction of my friend and brother Senator Bassey Albert is an operation of the law, the judgment is out, and intelligent people, journalists, everybody should go and get the judgment and read. The judgment even carries that EFCC deposed to the affidavit in court and made testimonies to show that they wrote to Akwa Ibom State Government and government refused to offer any document for or against the matter.


Why Nigerians Want Obi As Next President -LP

Okay. You know one of the issues that have been talked about, is that OBA received gift of a vehicle from a friend and now, 31 local government chairmen in Akwa Ibom donated 31 buses to the governorship candidate of the PDP in the state. Where will you say this money came from and the concern is, was it budgeted for and why did the candidate receive these buses knowing that…
(Cuts in) I don’t speak for the candidate. But now, let me even lead you to where you should look at. He is not convicted for receiving something from a friend, he’s convicted for receiving something linked to a company that at that material time when he was in government was a contractor with the government he was serving, are we together?


That is the conviction. Now, I am Ini Ememobong, I am commissioner, I can donate to the governor provided it is from my personal resources, it only becomes an offence….as a serving commissioner, I can give gifts to the governor, provided I can prove I’m not doing contract with the governor, provided I can prove that I am not taking from ministry, do you understand?


Go ahead Sir.
So, assuming local government chairmen have decided to give, don’t they have their personal resources? So, but if it is proven that those resources came from the purse of their local government, because you can’t use government money to fund politics, to fund partisan politics, you understand?


Wike: Let’s Not Provoke Rift Between Rivers, Bayelsa

And so, if it is proven, they will go in for it.


I like it when you said they will go in for it. Now, the curious thing is, was it a coincidence that these 31 local government chairmen, at the same time, decided, planned with their salaries, that they were going to buy a bus for the campaign organization of the PDP, 31 of them?
(Cuts in) That is presumption, away from being local government chairmen, they have a forum where they call themselves ALGON and they can meet at that forum and take decisions long ahead, as at when they became local government chairmen two years ago, they could have taken a decision to say look, whoever becomes candidate of the party, we will do this, and they proceed. That’s why I am saying, the only thing is for you to prove that the resources used, you track it back to the local government and they go in for it.


Okay. You have said that Oba was your friend and…
(Cuts in) it’s not was.

OBA: One Week, Many Troubles

Yeah! He is your friend.
Bassey Albert is my friend, we are…


(Cuts in) Yeah! He is your friend and brother. Have you made efforts to see him in the prison since after he was jailed?
So, all his friends have to go to prison?


No, I’m just asking. Have you made that effort, as a friend and a brother?
Have you? The efforts I made in our relationship in the past and how we run our relationships have not been a subject of the press, so this one too will not be a subject of the press.


No, I am just asking, have you made any effort, I’m not saying….
(Cuts in) I’m laying a precedence, that since you in the past did not enquire to know about our relationships and how we ran it, we ran our relationships out of the press. Currently, you lack the capacity to enquire into what the precedence does not tell you to do so.


After Cult Clash In C’River Varsity, Police Rescues Undergraduate

But are you planning to go and visit him?
It is still within the realms of that which I’ve said before, that our relationship is not a matter of the press. There are lines, there are thin lines that, it’s just like my relationship with my father, my relationship with my wife. My relationship with Onofiok(Luke), it’s not a matter of the press.


Okay, but how did you feel the very minute that you heard that he was jailed?
The feelings are subjective. And because it’s also a personal relationship I would rather leave it to remain subjective. My feelings do not change the situation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *