From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
A group, The Senator Akpabio for Common Good, has cautioned the political rivals of the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State and Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to henceforth desist from “campaigns of calumny against him in the media”.
The group said it has gone very far already in its mobilization of like-minded groups and individuals genuinely interested in supporting the Niger Delta Minister to join the 2023 race.
The National Coordinator of the group, Malam Jibril Tafida in a statement on Monday in Kaduna said that the mission of the group was to convince Mr. Akpabio to contest elections in 2023.
The group’s reaction was coming on the heels of a publication in a national daily ( Not Daily Sun) of August 22, 2021, in which it was insinuated that the Niger Delta Minister was intimidated by the EFCC to decamp to the APC.
The said national daily was also quoted to have said that the same instrument was being used by EFCC against Senator Seriaki Dickson of Bayelsa State.
The group explained that it was wrong “to drag and tie Dickson’s recent invitation by the EFCC to the “false allegations against Akpabio” while condemning in strong terms the newspaper publication.
It described the decamping of Akpabio to the APC as “purely voluntary action and never forced to do so, like the said national daily insinuated”.
The statement also cautioned against “the use of unfounded allegations deliberately meant to tarnish the reputation of Mr. Akpabio – who has been making the sacrifices for the good of this country”.
“We take exception to the new wave of campaign of calumny in the media, that the EFCC had in 2015 commenced probe of Akpabio over alleged theft of N108.1billion, in a petition forwarded to the agency by an Abuja-based activist, Leo Ekpenyong.
“We make bold to say that this matter remains at the level of a petition and has never been tabled before any court of competent jurisdiction in this country”, the group emphasized.
It called on “people with vested political interests, using mere allegations to tarnish the reputation of this patriot to stop wasting time and resources in this futile attempt to score cheap political points.
“We take serious exception to the syndicated insinuations by elements who would want to use “legally and constitutionally untenable allegations, unproved by any authority in the country to bear in mind that their agenda is dead on arrival”.
The statement also noted that the Niger Delta Minister has “almost unbeatable records in infrastructure, health, education and sports among other legacies while serving as Governor.
Akpabio, the group argued, has initiated bills through his legislative activism, that “could accelerate Nigeria’s move towards greatness”, the group pointed out.