By Yemi Adebowale
Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has been fingered in recent attempts to ensure the EFCC’s prosecution of Senate Minority Leader and immediate past Governor of Akwa-Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
Although the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has commenced investigations based on a petition by one Abuja based lawyer, Leo Ekpenyong accusing the former Akwa-Ibom State Governor, an informed source who spoke to BREAKING TIMES on Friday on condition of anonymity dismissed the petition as an orchestrated propaganda and smear campaign against Akpabio who by his position as Senate Minority Leader representing Nigeria’s opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is considered a major threat by the ruling APC.
“The petition is baseless. The understanding is that if the APC can knock out Akpabio with this frivolous EFCC case, then they would have further neutralized the strength of the opposition PDP. Akpabio right now by virtue of his position is the second most senior official of the opposition PDP serving in government after Deputy Senate President Ekweremadu. He is a major threat to the APC so they are doing everything to cancel him out”, the source said.
Meanwhile, Akpabio himself has described the petition filed against him by the EFFC, as false and baseless. He stated that rather than condemning Ekpenyong for taking this course of action, he is grateful to God that the petition is an opportunity to clear a lot of misconceptions and horrendous lies said about him.
On amounts bandied by the petitioner as the gross earnings of Akwa-Ibom under Akpabio, the former governor disputed the claims arguing that, the idea that the state government received over N2.5 trillion in the eight years of his administration is an outrageous lie.
He claimed the state received an average of N26 billion monthly, adding that the published accounts of disbursement from the federation’s account corroborate the evidence that the state never received up to N26 billion in any month throughout his tenure.
This fresh petition against the former governor titled ‘Petition against former Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom state for gross and uncommon abuse of public trust,’ according to The Punch had the presidency and Director-General of the Department of State Service (DSS), Lawal Daura copied.
According to reports, this latest petition is the third petition so far written against Akpabio to account for his stewardship as Akwa Ibom state governor. This new petition, dated August 3, 2015 was received by EFCC on August 5, 2015.
Efforts on Friday by this newspaper to reach APC spokesperson Alhaji Lai Mohammed to comment on the issue proved abortive as his phone rang out without answering.